Work on the film is humming along, especially now that the most complex photoanimation is in the can so to speak - thanks again to our volunteer render machines that made 5.5 years of machine render time happen in 3 months.We are still on schedule from the release date (Q2/3 2018) we announced last September. Footage for the first third of the film is coming out in batches - pictured here are two galaxy flyby's - Arp 273 (the complex one) and NGC 3370. Footage is final although a final color correction will take place with finished renders when the entire film is complete.Also, we have reprocessed Colin Legg's 5 camera, 11-days and nights time-lapse footage to extract 25% more resolution for 8K renders and much improved day to night and night to day transitions. Thanks to Colin for all his hard work making that happen. A frame from in the the historical imagery (Zeitgeist) sequence that illustrates the loss of the night sky through human history is included to tweak your interest in the film and no, this is not a secret sequel to "Skull Island" - :)More and more footage will be piling up this year culminating in a our first official trailer (no more teasers!) in mid September in honor of Cassini's Grand Finale....
Read Part 9 here
The home stretch
And so, like any pioneering journey of firsts, we know we are getting close to our goal, but are just not sure exactly how long it will take. Sure, the next time we will know exactly. I would love to think someone else will attempt to make another multi-plane photo-animation like our film.The home stretch is a much simpler, more enjoyable process as the film finally comes together, as the opening section planes are all arranged and ready to render.Well, maybe not “simpler,” as filmmaking is always a complex, difficult process, but compared to the daunting challenges of getting multi-plane photo-animation to work at giant-screen resolution, or figuring how to build a photographic universe for the opening section, it will be simpler.Photographs from space are the true incredible journey of the human experience, allowing us to go from the beginning of time to the surface of alien moons. In Saturn’s Rings was started with the guiding principle that audiences respond completely differently to real photographs than they do to computer-generated images. The online clips and test footage screenings over the past few years have proven this time and time again.It is the reason supporters and volunteers have dedicated themselves and committed to working on the film over such a long time, with little to show. We shared a passion that these photographs need to be seen and only the giant screen can present them with their true sense of scale, with galaxies, planets, and moons completely filling your field of view.
Would I do it again?
This is a question I get nearly every time I make a public presentation on the film. The answer is both simple and not so simple.Yes and no.If I knew at back in 2004, or even in 2007, what I know today of what effort and resources the film would require, I would have passed on the project, as so many others have. Quite frankly, it’s a lifetime's worth of work, without the prospect of making money, while taking almost every penny you own and more than a decade out of your life for a 40 minute movie.But if I knew then what I know now about the impact the film has already had on everyone it has touched and what it will look like -- absolutely yes.I can’t speak to how good or important In Saturn’s Rings will be. But I do know it is the most impactful, life-changing and profound project of my life. I spent 9 months looking all day, every day, at over five million galaxies as just one part of this journey. Two key volunteers on the film have been in part inspired to change their lives and careers by working on the content of the film: one went from being a Web designer to acclaimed painter, the other from pharma lab geek to JPL Titan scientist.And volunteers, backers, and fans constantly report on how spending time with photographs from space has changed them forever as people. So I have no doubt that this film has been more than worth it before it’s ever done. It truly is a journey, and not a destination.Barring a UFO invasion, giant asteroid strike, or other calamity that kills me, my computers, and the key volunteers, the premiere of In Saturn’s Rings will happen. But that is just another step on the journey that is In Saturn’s Rings.
Okay - 10 parts but WHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!!!???
In the course of this 10 part blog post, the major event has happened. We have started the final assembly of the film and know pretty much with a 60 day window how long it will take to make the film.We will be making a major public announcement with a video clip of the SDSS assembly we've talked so much here - but for those faithful who've been reading these posts, you will hear it here first. The film will now incorporate Cassini's Grande Finale - I wish we could say we planned it that way - but in fact it's a coincidence as it happens to line up perfectly with final rendering assembly of the film.Most of the film will be rendered with rough sound mix by the time of the Grande Finale (end of September next year). The final version of the film will be tested and final feedback in early 2018 and rolled out to theaters thereafter.
The full-dome version will come 6 months after - unless we raise some corporate money or get a major donation to hire someone to start work next year in parallel.So - yes, it took 12,000+ words and like the film a long way to get a short result - but now you know when.Stayed tuned for more posts!StephenTechnical summary (for the geeks)The film will has about 7.5 million photographs from telescopes, time-lapse sources, spacecraft, and historical sources that have been manually touched by image processors on the film.
Roughly 50 million possible photographs have been considered over the course of the film as potential sources but rejected due to content, resolution, or suitability for a cohesive journey.
To date, over 30 computers have been used for the film, up to 21 at one time, with 19 currently in my basement and two at image processors.
Approximately 1 terabyte of RAM, 150 processing cores, and almost two-thirds of a petabyte of computing resources have been used.
The film will contain imagery from Cassini-Huygens, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, European Southern Observatory, Voyagers 1 and 2, Vikings 1 and 2, Dawn, New Horizons, Rosetta, Venus Express, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer, HiRES, Apollos 8, 10, 11, 12, and 17, International Space Station, and several Space Shuttle missions, plus more than 25 Earth-based astro-photographers. Additionally, over 100 historical and public domain image archives and Google image searches have been sourced for additional photographs.
Over 1,000 individual donors have contributed nearly $265,000 over ten years to support the film. No corporation or organization has donated cash to the film, except for a $750 grant from the Arts Council of Greensboro, NC.
Over 100 volunteers from more than 25 countries have worked on the film. ...
At long last, as long promised, we have the new and official website for In Saturn's Rings. Complete with the new official look for the film with a logo built off an actual frame from the film. A huge thank you is due to two amazing volunteers who've donated this entire site to the film, Tia Hidayat and Jamie Lawson. Be sure to check out Tia's company http://www.twelve31media.com/ if you want a site as beautiful and functional as this one.What's here?A great new home page with the question everybody asks - When? - that is easy for us to update as news happens. One place, one answer to the question I get about 12 times a day :)
Want more info? While this site has been developed, I've written down over 12.000! words on mostly complete history of the film that is up-t0-date and explains where the film is, why the long process and exactly how we are doing the work. Be sure to subscribe and follow as we roll this out with a new post each week in shorter, digestible chunks.
Lots of new content for the eyes - sexy new gallery, video clips, behind-the-scenes and more - explore!
Up-to-date list of backers and donors - including our long missing Kickstarter backers who made Adagio for Strings possible.
Some wonderful holiday news for In Saturn's Rings and all of the wonderful supporters who have believed in this project over the years. I'm excited and grateful to announce that the film has signed a global distribution agreement with BIG and Digital Distribution for distribution in IMAX® Theaters, IMAX® Dome theaters, giant screen, fulldome planetarium and digital cinema venues world-wide.Simply, this means the film now has the opportunity to be seen on the truly big screen by people in all parts of the world. It's no longer just a dream, it's a reality. Everyone who has believed in this can pat themselves on the back for helping make this happen.You can read the full press release here: ISR_DistributionRelease12-17-12 or in the text from below, but here are the key bullet points:BIG and Digital is a distributor that specializes in films for IMAX® theaters, giant screen and fulldome theaters, run by Tina Ratterman, a veteran of the industry.
The release plan is for a completion of a preview cut in December 2013 and industry premiere in spring 2014
I retain final cut of the content of the film AND the film's production stays as a non-profit undertaking supported by you
The raw materials and methods developed by the film will be open sourced and released in the educational outreach with the release of the film to benefit the entire space and educational communities worldwide.Be sure to follow the film on the new Facebook page (be sure to turn notifications on!) and Twitter feed.FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEBIG & DIGITAL SECURES DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO THE SATURN FILM BY STEPHEN VAN VUURENHENDERSON, NEVADA (December 17, 2012) – BIG & Digital, LLC and SV2 Studios, LLC announced today that In Saturn's Rings will be distributed worldwide by BIG & Digital to the network of IMAX®, Giant Screen, and Full-Dome Theaters. The film will be released in early 2014. In Saturn’s Rings is a non-profit giant-screen space art film, produced by SV2 Studios, that takes audiences on the ultimate journey of the mind and spirit from the big bang to the wonders of the Solar System climaxing with the Cassini-Huygens Mission at Saturn.Over One Million photographs, manipulated to create full motion, make up the film's visuals for a photographic fly-through of deep space. Using innovative visual techniques developed by the filmmaker, In Saturn’s Rings lets audiences fly through space and time using real photographs, not CGI. The film will feature powerful music by Ferry Corsten, William Orbit, Samuel Barber and melds narrative visual poetry and science into a rich and emotional experience. The imagery, synchronized to powerful and moving music, provides a direct and powerful opportunity of exploring space.“We're very excited to work with BIG & Digital to bring the film to the network of Giant Screen Theaters,” said Stephen van Vuuren of SV2 Studios. “In Saturn’s Rings is literally a big and digital film, so this is a perfect match for presenting the film in the best light to the industry.”“I have been following Stephen's film several years and I appreciate his passion for a unique and scientific space film that reaches an emotional level with audiences. The film is different than the space films that have come before it and we are looking forward to be bringing this film to theaters worldwide,” said Tina Ratterman, founder of BIG & Digital.A one minute clip with millions of views on the internet was named one of NASA’s “Astronomy Pictures of the Day.” The online space and scientific communities support and endorse the project including resources and support from Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and The Planetary Society. Individual scientists from NASA, JPL, ESA and numerous other scientific institutions are active advisors and volunteers.More than a dozen volunteer scientists, photographers and image processors are working directly on the production creating custom programs, processing lunar imagery, and creating stunning time-lapse of the dark sky at giant screen resolutions. More information on the film can be found at www.in_saturnsrings.com and updates and announcements can be received through social media:Twitter - @in_saturnsringsFacebook at www.facebook.com/insaturnsringsmovieDistribution and leasing information is available from BIG & Digital. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-932-4045.About SV2 StudiosSV2 Studios was founded by filmmaker Stephen van Vuuren in 2000 to focus on digital cinema production. SV2 Studios has produced a range of multimedia projects, including award-winning short and feature length films. The company also provides digital cinema mastering to independent filmmakers. Van Vuuren has become a leading photographic animation artist while creating the stunning visuals for In Saturn's Rings.About BIG & Digital, LLCBIG & Digital specializes in distribution of 15/70mm and digital giant screen content to museums, attractions and planetariums. BIG & Digital was founded in March 2009 by Tina Ratterman. Ratterman is a veteran in the giant screen industry with more than 15 years of successful marketing and distribution experience. More information can be found at www.biganddigital.com.# # #...
On July 1st, 2004, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft arrived at Saturn, after executing an amazing precision rocket braking maneuver in Saturn's rings. I watched this event live on NASA-TV's streaming channel. It was at that moment that the inspiration for the film began.On July 1st, 2012, in just a few days and in honor of that incredible achievement, there will be a major announcement about the film. Stayed tuned to the website, Facebook and/or Twitter to be the first to hear.Watch AND share the teaser video that went live today....
Back posting again after a holiday weekend here in the USA as well as an adventure to recover damaged data. On Saturday morning, I wanted to check up on a hard crash that had occurred on the main "Frankenserver" that stores a backup of all the Outside In and SV2 Studios files.Here's a pic of secondary Frankenserverbeing upgraded last year - I call them that as they are built from the parts of other machines to recycle parts and keep the film's costs as low as possible.One question I get a lot is how I store and backup data. I've made a simple diagram that gives an overview of the design and process. This diagram is simplified but all the key steps are there. I have two primary workstations - the primary is the fastest, most powerful and has a large, fast disk array for photographic storage and the secondary is used when the primary is tied up and also for freelance work as needed.I have 3 other workstations - an audio/recording workstation and secondary render box plus two low-end boxes: a Linux machine and a Hackintosh. Then there are two Frankenservers, the primary that has 27 TB of storage and is connected to a cloud backup and the secondary provides additional utility storage (workstation backup etc.).The primary Frankenserver is connected to cloud backup storage (CrashPlan). The overall design of this is to keep the costs of the film 1/10th of what it would normally but create a system that can recover, eventually, from even a catastrophic data loss - say an alien warship destroying my house (but not destroying earth, but then again, that will not be a big worry at that point).This design also allows me to work on the film on multiple stations although the primary workstation is fastest for the heavy lifting. It consists of low-cost, DIY, home-built computers overclocked to provide near professional workstation speeds at 1/4 of the cost. And the storage and backup costs are a tiny fraction since it relies on the very cheapest hard drives and cloud storage that costs only $5 a month combined with a $20 month upgrade on internet service for fast upload speeds.The bottom line is all critical files are backed up in at least two locations and 3 to 6 copies of each file. Storage costs on the film are currently 4 cents a gigabyte and offline backup costs are less than 1 cent a gigabyte. Currently I have about 6 Terabytes backed up offline but the number grows everyday.It's a good design especially given the cost - the only disadvantage is a slow restore process in the event of large data loss but this past weekend, it was tested.PART TWO TOMORROW - what happens when the main server motherboard dies and corrupts the main data storage array....
As the film moves closer and closer to completion - and has more and more venues around the world express interest in the film - the question comes up about money and Outside In.Although I have considered all sorts of models for Outside In in years past, since 2007 it has been a legal, fiscally sponsored non-profit undertaking financed 100% by individual donors and sponsors. At first it seemed this would not be enough, but the viral exposure last year really helped push the film forward. Now, the base of supporters is strong enough to raise the remaining funds to finish the film.Yes, there is more money to raise, but doing 3 to 4 small fundraisers a year will be enough to finish the film in digital form. At that time, the digital version can be screened to raise the final costs (music licensing, insurance, mastering costs) - that is not a huge obstacle.This all means the film will be finished debt-free and without anyone, other than myself, owning the content. This is the primary reason I have wanted to keep the film non-profit. So much of the content has been donated to the film, supported by the donors and sponsors, and I want to give that back, share it with scientist, teachers, schools and outreach efforts. It would be nearly impossible to do this if private investors were funding the film.So the film will remain a not-for-profit until complete - to protect the film itself, to protect use of the content and to honor the vision of myself and the long-time supporters of the project.And that makes me happy....
http://vimeo.com/33933151In March 2011, the first footage (vimeo.com/11386048) from Outside In went viral, resulting in 3.8 million hits and 1.3 million plays & media coverage in over 250 countries. Here is an improved, extended version of that footage with unlit side of rings, better color and other small tweaks added.Created from over 30,000 real photographs taken by the Cassini spacecraft. Master is 5.6k resolution (5600 x 4200 pixels) with all work done in 32-bit floating point color space to preserve
photographs from artifacts.No 3D models, CGI or texture maps used!Much thanks to everyone who has supported and contributed to this. This is the beginning, just a taste of incredible things to come.This is fly-through of this photograph - photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11141 - only a little brightness and contrast has been made to balance the moons with saturn's body.The saturation is off due to lack of Flash Player ICM support.This is still a work-in-progress and it's an art film, not a science film, but as new image data comes down I will tweak this shot for improved accuracy....