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Michael Laine has strived for years to build a space elevator, and we’re filming the troubled road to his make-or-break experiment.
Michael Laine has strived for years to build a space elevator, and we’re filming the troubled road to his make-or-break experiment.
Michael Laine has strived for years to build a space elevator, and we’re filming the troubled road to his make-or-break experiment.
515 backers pledged $37,337 to help bring this project to life.

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We filmed our model miniatures!

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Hey, everyone!

It's been far too long since we've sent an update. We're sorry. Full-time jobs and other circumstances tied us up, but we finally (re)planted our collective flag in the filmmaking soil and shot our model miniatures for the special effects footage!

In November, we arrived in Vancouver, Washington to extract our models from deep storage (i.e. a U-Haul Self Storage unit). A family member in the area was keeping the key to our unit safe, but in the midst of a move to a different state, they'd misplaced the key. It felt a little like a nerdy art heist -- we had to enlist the help of a locksmith to free our spacecraft models from their prison.

Picking the lock didn't work, so our locksmith had to drill it open.
Picking the lock didn't work, so our locksmith had to drill it open.

Inside the unit were a few unassuming cardboard boxes. We took a quick look inside, then loaded them up in our van -- we only had one day to shoot every model.

Director Ben always remembers to buckle his seatbelt, especially when transporting model miniatures.
Director Ben always remembers to buckle his seatbelt, especially when transporting model miniatures.

We zipped across the border into Oregon and piled into the Airbnb we'd booked. Luckily, the pictures we'd pored over were accurate: there was plenty of space to set up a green screen, lights, and film the models. With spaciousness confirmed, we flung open the back door of our Dodge Caravan and unloaded our gear and models.

Turns out minivans make solid gear transporters.
Turns out minivans make solid gear transporters.

Once inside, we took stock of the models. After admiring them for a while, we noticed that three trusses used in two components of the space elevator system were warped. The heat in the storage unit over the summer must have caused them to sag. Thinking quick on our feet, we whipped out a hair dryer and blasted the parts with hot air.

Warped model triage... in an Airbnb's bathroom.
Warped model triage... in an Airbnb's bathroom.

After no small amount of heat, elbow grease, and patience, we managed to coax the trusses back into shape.

Please don't be distracted by the army of Pez dispensers in the background. Oh no. We just drew attention to them, didn't we?
Please don't be distracted by the army of Pez dispensers in the background. Oh no. We just drew attention to them, didn't we?

 

We used a motion slider (with parallax) to shoot the miniatures!
We used a motion slider (with parallax) to shoot the miniatures!

 After a long day of shooting the models with a Blackmagic URSA Mini (thanks Adam!), we wrapped with all the miniature shots we needed.

In the next few weeks, we have several live action scenes to shoot! We're finalizing a deal with the set builders/art direction folks, and are pulling together the extra funds to make it happen. Stay tuned for behind the scenes pictures! For now, we hope you enjoy the photos from our model shoot (see more below)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shipped!

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One last call for surveys ...

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Surveys!

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Come For The Surveys, Stay For The T-Shirts!

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The surveys are sent! By now most of you have filled them out, and that's great news because it means our physical rewards will be shipped out very soon. Thanks again to everyone who backed. We think the posters and patches and globes are really beautiful.

And here's a little surprise: while we were working with the great folks at The Chopping Block on designing the poster and the patch, we decided to have them whip up a T-shirt as well. We think it came out great! If you'd like to wear your support for the film (and your support helps a lot), head over to the Chop Shop Store and claim yours now!

Elevator up! The top floor is the Moon, the bottom is the L1 Lagrange point!
Elevator up! The top floor is the Moon, the bottom is the L1 Lagrange point!

Thanks again for all your support. Watch this space for updates about the film coming soon!

-Benjamin and the Shoot the Moon team