Charting the next step in space exploration, Journey To Space is a new large-format 3D movie from Giant Screen Films and K2 Films that tells the story of the space community’s efforts to land astronauts on Mars within a generation. Presented by The Boeing Company and Toyota, the film began its domestic and international rollout in February of 2015, with the official “world premiere” to be held in Washington D.C. in the spring.

Prime Focus World (PFW) was delighted to provide additional 3D conversion services for the film, working with director and writer Mark Krenzien and co-producer Rick Gordon to deliver 47 shots or approximately 5 minutes of footage for the 45 minute feature.

Beautifully chronicling the space shuttle orbiter program, MIR, the International Space Station and the Hubble telescope with spectacular large format footage, much of which was shot by the astronauts themselves, the film recognizes these amazing achievements in the context of how this knowledge will be applied to future deep-space missions. Presenting a behind-the-scenes tour of the international effort to send astronauts to Mars within the next 20 years, the film culminates in an amazing virtual journey to the Red Planet.

“The lion’s share of the footage in this film was shot in native 3D, and the virtual journey to Mars was stereo rendered CG,” said PFW Senior Stereo Supervisor Justin Jones. “We were brought in to handle the footage that had been shot by the astronauts inside (and outside!) the ISS and the space shuttle.”

The key consideration in the stereo conversion of this footage was to ensure that the intricate detail of the interiors of these environments was correctly represented in 3D.

“Accuracy was key,” continued Justin. “We researched the ISS and space shuttle environments in detail to ensure that the scale was correctly captured in stereo, knowing exactly how large handles and switches and wiring should be, and where it should all sit in 3D space. Scale was also a consideration on the exterior shots of the shuttle on the launch pad, and for the EVA’s from the space station to the Hubble telescope. The footage had all been shot with very wide lenses, so the challenge for PFW was to ensure that nothing looked miniaturised.”

Another challenge was the sheer size of the large-format footage. Some of the original stereo 3D filmed by the production was shot at 6K – the first time this has been done for a 3D giant screen production - and all of the space shots from IMAX were scanned from the negative at 8K. PFW’s stereo conversion pipeline was required to handle shots at 4K resolution.

“When working in 4K our pipeline has to be adjusted to handle the extra resolution and increased file-sizes, and our paint team's work has to be incredibly accurate to maintain our expected levels of quality and accuracy, not only for the higher resolution but also for the giant screen projection,” commented Justin. 

PFW’s work on Journey To Space was a global effort, production managed from Vancouver with work completed in Mumbai and client reviews and creative supervision in LA. Journey to Space will continue to launch in more IMAX and other giant screen theaters in the U.S. and around the world throughout 2015 and beyond.

“Working on Journey To Space was an interesting and educational experience,” concluded Justin. “After our work on Gravity, it was great to have the opportunity to work with footage that was actually shot in space by the astronauts themselves, and I’m happy to say that the final film looks amazing.”

RELEASE: February 2015

Production Company / Distributor: Giant Screen Films, K2 Films
Writer / Director: Mark Krenzien
Producers: Rick Gordon, Don Kempf, Mark Kresser, Andy Wood
Executive Producer: Robert Kresser

Prime Focus World:
Senior Stereo Supervisor: Justin Jones

Head of View-D™: Rohan Desai
Associate Stereographer: Ritesh Aggarwal
Producer: Chad Cortvriendt
Production Manager: Cassius Vaz

Chief Creative Director: Merzin Tavaria
Executive Producer: Gaurav Jain
Senior Show Stereographer: Jimmy Philip
Producer: Bakshad Amrolia