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astroThere is a lesson in the urban legend about the Space Pen. The story goes that NASA spent a veritable ton of money developing a pen that could write in zero gravity while the Russian Space Program used… a pencil. In fact the Fisher Pen Co. developed the Space Pen independantly and both Space programs adopted the pen*.

But let’s go back to that urban legend for a moment…

Spending lots of money to develop a high-tech solution when an wildly affordable low-tech solution is already available. Are you doing that with your film?

Yes, we love our digital effects and animation, greenscreens and motion capture… but don’t rule out low-tech just because “everyone” is doing high-tech. Challenge the crew to think up creative, low-tech solutions for shots in order to focus production’s  money to the most important shots and scenes for the story. In a world of high technology, you may even find a publicity story in your low-tech solution(s) to help garner visibility for the finished film.

So here’s to creative low-tech!

Cheers & good shoot to you,
Deb

*Among other things, the graphite dust of pencils is a problem in space. For more info on the urban legend of the Space Pen, look at the summary on Snopes urban legend reference site: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

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Deb visits MIR

How cool to be filming on the MIR Space Station in space! That was my first thought when I worked on the “Mission to MIR” IMAX film. Yet as a non-astronaut, what are the chances of going on a set visit to MIR? Not very likely. As a matter of fact: impossible.

Yes, here on Earth we tackled logistical challenges issues like: the camera goes into the Space Shuttle which is launched into space; the shuttle docks onto MIR and the camera taken into MIR for filming. The Space Shuttle then goes about its business… how do you get the camera and film back to Earth for processing and printing? In what country can you land the camera and how many time zones will it be from the lab? What about the customs documentation? Unique challenges indeed!

And yes, it was very clear I’d never visit MIR except how everyone else here on Earth has been able to see it: on the IMAX screen. The dream of visiting the MIR Space Station would have to remain a dream for the rest of my life, especially since it’s now been replaced by the International Space Station.

Or  maybe that dream COULD come true after all…?

I just visited Toulouse, France where the Cité de l’Espace has a MIR Space Station! The one used for tests on here on Earth! An exact duplicate! Awesome. I was able to walk around it, climb inside it and just plain explore it… the MIR Space Station itself! A set visit after the fact and conveniently here on Earth!

Sure, I could scoff and say the replica of MIR wasn’t the real experience because it wasn’t floating in space at the time. Gosh, I could have decided not to go see it. But sometimes dreams come true in a slightly different form than you originally thought possible. You just need to be open to recognize them in whatever form they present themselves to you as. And because I’m open to them, another of my life dreams just came true today. Now that’s very cool.

What dream are you going to make happen?

Cheers!
Deb

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