Could the next great space film, actually be shot in space?
We're probably a little ways away from that actually happening, but NASA is getting one step closer with their new partnership with RED and their 4K+ cameras. Digital photography cameras up in space have been getting better and better (they've mostly been using Nikon DSLRs as of late), but it has only been very recently that digital cinema cameras are finally small enough and powerful enough to send into space.
Of the newer generation of cinema cameras, Canon with their C500 was the first to get into space, to shoot the comet ISON and footage for an IMAX documentary. Here is a look at the C500 shooting in space (with what looks like some sort of external recorder below it to get 4K out of that camera):
Now it looks like we're going to see RED EPIC DRAGON 6K cameras heading to the International Space Station sometime late this year or early next.
More about this development from RED, who has been working with NASA for some time shooting launches in 4K:
After months of being subjected to some of the world’s strictest testing and qualification standards, the RED EPIC® with the RED DRAGON® 6K sensor will be loaded onto a space cargo vehicle and travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2014 or early 2015. While at the ISS, astronauts will be using the EPIC DRAGON to capture critical footage.
“Since day one, RED has always pushed the boundaries at every level of our company. Our cameras have been to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, to the top of frigid Mount Everest all the way to the Marum volcano. But going to outer space takes things to a whole new level,” says Jarred Land, President of RED Digital Cinema. “We are incredibly honored that NASA has chosen RED to be part of its mission on the International Space Station.”
Jarred Land hasn't really shared any specifics about how the cameras have been modified for space (and it's possible he's not allowed), but it's exciting nonetheless that over the next few years we're going to see more and more truly high-quality cinematic images coming from outside of our atmosphere.
And as far as movies in space, let's not forget that ISS Commander Chris Hadfield shot a music video in space back in 2013, so anything is possible:
The technological issues are massive, but it will really be exciting to someday see high resolution video from other planets. If there was ever a reason to really need 4K and above, I'd say that's it.