Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 23 August 2018

Saturn’s Rings: ‘This is Real!’


 
In Saturn's Rings (title)

When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?
Psalms 8:3–4 (HCSB)

 
Tomorrow, my wife and I and two friends will be seated in the Raleigh IMAX Theater in the Marbles Children’s Museum to see the North Carolina premiere of In Saturn’s Rings. The 39-minute documentary is the 12-year project of Greensboro filmmaker Stephen van Vuuren, and the story of its making is every bit as gigantic as the vision of our Universe that he will be showing on the IMAX screen.

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
“Spellbinding!” “Breathtaking!”
“Stunningly Beautiful!”
“I was brought to tears as I marveled!”
“As LeVar Burton’s voiceover says, ‘This is REAL!’”

 
This film event promises to be an extremely high definition calculation of (beauty + creation) x (science + technology). Even its trailer, as posted on Youtube, is available to be seen in 8K/4320p! (I suspect that those of you who know what that means are sitting there rather impressed at this point.) Based on everything I’ve read about this film, I fully expect to be moved and wowed by it.

You should make a strong effort to see it during its short one-week run in Raleigh (or whenever it is shown wherever you live). To see the “Now Playings” and “Coming Soons” click here.

Rings of Saturn

In Saturn’s Rings is a groundbreaking giant-screen movie adventure that takes audiences on a space exploration journey of the mind, heart, and spirit, from the Big Bang to the awe-inspiring rings of Saturn.

In Saturn’s Rings comprises more than 7.5 million stunning photographs from space, including images from the Hubble telescope and the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. Both the film’s credits and creator van Vuuren are quick to point out that there is absolutely no use of CGI (computer-generated images), 3D modeling, or simulations. What the telescopes and cameras gave us is exactly and entirely what you see.

But what about the animation (that is to say, the perceived movement) that is so striking throughout? Van Vuuren credits the use of Multi-Plane Photo Animation, described as a cinematic art form created by Walt Disney Studios to seamlessly join and animate the photos to full motion. You’ll find below a short film clip narrated by Walt Disney himself, which explains the Multi-Plane Animation process.

The film’s producers were fortunate enough to get Levar Burton to voice the narration, and the soundtrack features music by composer Pieter Schlosser. In addition, there’s a performance of Barber’s exquisite and appropriately ethereal Adagio for Strings performed by the Greensboro (NC) Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dmitry Sitkovetsky.

See Below. At the bottom of this article, I have appended active links to four short videos, including the film’s official 2018 trailer.

The first two will give you a brief glimpse of the film itself, beginning with a mesmerizing Saturn “flyover” montage, with the Barber Adagio wafting hauntingly throughout. The second clip is the trailer, which excerpts not only visual highlights but also some of Levar Burton’s narration (“This is REAL!“) At the very least, you should take the time to see these two clips; combined they last only a few seconds over 5 minutes.

Strong Recommendation: When watching these two videos, click the bottom right button to go “full screen,” and use the gear-like button to set the resolution as high as your screen will allow. Headphones wouldn’t hurt, either. You’ll thank me later.

 
The third video is director van Vuuren’s 17-minute TEDx talk he gave in Greensboro on March 22, 2018, in which he describes the fascinating processes of photo-wrangling and making the film. The last of the videos is a film of Walt Disney explaining the Multi-Plane Photo Animation Process, used by van Vuuren in this film, that the Disney Studio developed to add realism to animation.

And finally, there are brief excerpts from what three reviewers have had to say about In Saturn’s Rings.


 
5.6K SATURN CASSINI PHOTOGRAPHIC ANIMATION (5600×4200 PIXELS)
(NO 3D MODELS, CGI, OR TEXTURE MAPS USED)   (3:07)

 

 


 
IN SATURN’S RINGS — 8K TRAILER (2018)
(7.5 MILLION IMAGES FROM HUBBLE, CASSINI, NASA SPACE TELESCOPES)   (2:14)

 

 


 
STEPHEN van VUUREN — TEDx TALK (22 MARCH 2018)
GREENSBORO, NC   (16:53)

 

 


 
WALT DISNEY’S MULTI-PLANE CAMERA
FILMED 13 FEBRUARY 1957   (7:20)

 

 



REVIEWS

The Movie Elite (Nathan Phillips) — In Saturn’s Rings is a spellbinding documentary with stunning visuals and music that will transport you away for its brisk runtime.
     It will genuinely transport you to another world; it is a journey into mind, heart, and spirit. I found it very calming to watch, truly breathtaking.
     Overall, In Saturn’s Rings is a stunning documentary giving us a rare look at one of the most beautiful planets in our galaxy. Even the most ADD-addled brains should find something to enjoy.

GeekXPop (Richard Cardenas) — van Vuuren makes his love and respect for the heavens above very apparent in this documentary as the film takes us on a journey from the very beginnings of our universe to what we know of our tiny spec of space in the modern day and how much and how little we know about it all.
     Stephen van Vuuren brings to the viewer a spectacle of cosmic proportions that explore and analyze what the Cassini-Huygens Mission was able to accomplish during its mission and perfectly encapsulates what he feels with his written words, wonderfully narrated by LeVar Burton, to a degree that I cannot remember experiencing before.
     One scene in particular in the documentary had me openly weep as a moving collage of images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission were shown in quick succession. I was brought to tears as I marveled at the wonders that the cosmos in our immediate celestial neighborhood provided for us and were brought to life on screen.

My Two Cents (Bill Hunt) — In Saturn’s Rings is a large-format look at NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, made using over 7.5 million real high-resolution images of the planet, its moons, and other astronomical objects, carefully assembled and presented using classical multi-plane animation techniques.
     The film is aptly named; some of these images are truly breathtaking, putting you right in the middle of the Saturn system. If you’re a space enthusiast or simply love a good IMAX documentary, the film is well worth a look.



PHOTO CREDITS:
(TITLE IMAGE) IN SATURN’S RINGS WEBSITE
(SATURN) STILL FROM IN SATURN’S RINGS

 


 
 

ARTICLE © 2018, DR. GROVER B. PROCTOR, JR. — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: