IMAX Cosmic Voyage

Produced for the National Air and Space Museum. The film opens with the quote, "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science." - Edwin Hubble

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Read here about a film that is relevant to the study of scale.


Cosmic Voyage, released in 1996, is a 36 min documentary short by IMAX. Byline: "IMAX Film Projects the Big Picture of our Vast Universe as Never Seen Before". Written and Directed by Bayley Silleck, Writers: Michael Miner, Bayley Silleck, Narrator: Morgan Freeman. Steven Soter was a script consultant. The computer generated imagery was from the national Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pixar Animation Studios, and Santa Barara Studios. The Scientific Cupercomputer Simulations were by Frank Summers, Lars Hernquist and Chris Mihos.

Presented as a public service for the advancement of science education by the Motorola Foundation and te National Air and Space Museum.

Opens on a plane flying, then the miniature models. The heart of the picture is aerial phtography of St. Mark's Square, Veince, Italy, combined with some children playing colored hula hoops.

When the entire universe is modeled, there is no reverse zoom. instead, the film fades back to Venice, where we follow bicycle riders past windmills to take us to the next scale survey, being microscopic steps into a water droplet on a leaf.

The circle theme returns as we view CERN from above, then travel down its tunnel, as if we are riding on the accelerated particle. Animations of galaxies moving through one another, requiring significant acceleration of time. We see the Big Bang, a huge asteroid impacting Earth followed by live lava flows. Accelerated time images include the passoing of clouds. Microscopic sea life. A quick slide show of living creatures from millipedes to tigers and finally, a group of actors lighting a fire follows, in 2001 style, by a space shuttle blastoff, a Hubble slide show, and more Cosmological animations, this time of a black hole eating a star. Aerial footage of some telescopes. Children at a campfire with flashlights.

The film saves the long zoom back, from universe to atom, for its close. In this zoom they bypass St. Mark's Square for a zoom straight into the blade of grass. But it ends in bookend fashoin on the tides we saw at the start.

And an ending quote from another astronaut: "Man must understand his universe in order to understand his destiny... Who knows what mysteries will be solved in our lifetime and what new riddles will become the challenge of the new generations?": Neil A. Armstrong.


Below, a derived work featuring the zoom only, without the original narration.

The film was based on Powers Of Ten Film By Eames.


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