January 16, 2015

NASA and IMAX Are a Match Made in Heaven: This Unique BTS Footage Shows You Why

Of the possible combinations of four-letter acronyms in the world, none are more perfectly matched than IMAX and NASA.

The storied collaboration between the two organizations, which has produced some truly inspiring and out of this world (get it?) documentary content, began in the mid 80s and continues through the present day. In order to capture all of that awe-inspiring footage at the highest possible image quality, however, NASA's astronauts had to be trained to load and operate the enormous IMAX cameras, which is no easy task for a seasoned filmmaker, let alone a group of astronauts suspended miles above the earth. The following video provides a unique behind the scenes look at one of these IMAX training sessions. Special thanks to Kevin Hejna, one of our readers, for sending this to me.

Considering that this training session took place in the latter months of 1989, it's likely that these astronauts went up on the Space Shuttle Discovery, which is a noteworthy mission because it successfully launched the Hubble Telescope into orbit. The resulting IMAX footage from that mission was later compiled into a documentary called Blue Planet, which you can watch in its entirety below:


While these films had a tremendous impact on how the public perceived space and the work done at NASA, they also had a tremendous impact on filmmakers. Christopher Nolan, in particular, recently cited these IMAX films as one of the primary inspirations for why he chose the large 70mm format for his space epic Interstellar.

Has NASA's collaboration with IMAX inspired or influenced your filmmaking in any way? Let us know down in the comments!     

Your Comment


Interstellar in 70mm IMAX was one of the most impressive visual experiences I've ever had. It actually has sparked an obsession with space exploration for me.

January 16, 2015 at 7:59PM


I wonder if they taught them about composition too.

January 17, 2015 at 10:03AM