About this project
We've had an amazing run here on Kickstarter - thanks to all who've backed and shared. So here's what we are going for on the final push.
- #1 $52,500 - Additional mixes to approach major artists (MET!)
- #2 $60,000 - Onsite leading experts
- #3 $65,000 - Add storage, replace dying equipment
What is In Saturn’s Rings?
In Saturn’s Rings is a ground-breaking film for IMAX® and Giant Screen Theaters and Fulldome Planetariums created from over one million real photographs and assembled in one man’s basement studio. Using a unique photoanimation technique, the film will take audiences on a journey through the Solar System and beyond, employing images from dozens of space missions, including Cassini-Huygens, Hubble, Apollo, Voyager 1/2 and many more; and give audiences the feeling they’re flying through space without the use of computer generated models or imagery.
What's the current status of the film?
I've been working on this film for almost 7 years. This not-for-profit film is entirely supported by online donations and has already raised almost $65,000 to date.
Dozens of volunteers including image processors have contributed countless hours to help complete the film. About 6 months of work remain - including creating the soundtrack score. Due to viral success of the film, I signed a global distribution agreement with BIG & Digital this year - so this film will be seen around the world!
As this is a music and sound driven film, a great musical score is a hugely critical part of this film, as much as the images themselves. Your support here means the film will get a beautiful score to match these awe-inspiring images.
Why Barber’s Adagio for Strings?
On July 4th, 2004, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft arrived at Saturn and began sending us amazing photographs and stunning science but struggled for publicity. I spent the next 3 years trying to come up with a film project that would capture the spirit of space exploration. In the fall of 2007, I was driving in my car listening to Adagio for Strings and the vision of flying through real photographs in space came to me.
The Saturn fly-through sequence is the largest and climatic sequence of the film. Barber’s masterpiece is the perfect match for the ethereal beauty and majesty of Saturn, her rings and her moons. Although Adagio for Strings has been used in films before, it has never been used for space films or the giant screen.
Why do you need to record it?
This is 2013, and it’s entirely possible to build a passable musical score inside a computer. However, this is a film made of real images, and therefore it requires a real soundtrack with live musicians, each with their own individual instrument and voice, who can achieve a feeling of life and emotion computer sample playback cannot convey. Previous recordings of Adagio for Strings don’t have the quality suitable for sound systems in IMAX® Theaters and, believe it or not, it’s also less expensive to record our own version of Adagio for Strings than to license a previous recording.
Who will be performing this?
A specially assembled group of 51 musicians featuring a double string section from the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra conducted by its current Music Director Dmitry Sitkovetsky will record two versions of Barber’s Adagio for Strings on January 17th, 2014 at the Westover Church in Greensboro, NC.
Almost one million dollars of recording technology will be used to capture every nuance of the performances. Midas Consoles is donating their 96-channel recording system specially for this project that will greatly reduce the recording costs.
Tell me about Dmitry Sitkovetsky
Dmitry Sitkovetsky is a world-renowned violinist and conductor, whose career as a soloist has taken him to many of the foremost orchestras in North America. He was appointed Music Director for the Greensboro Symphony in 2003, and has achieved great success with the orchestra.
Mr. Sitkovetsky has a special connection to Barber’s Adagio. He had the honor of performing Barber’s most famous piece for the composer in 1979 near the end of Barber’s life.
How much do you need to raise?
We need to raise $37,500. Here’s the breakdown of the funds required:
- $11,000 - Symphony (union required payments)
- $1,000 - Arrangement fees
- $2,500 - Space fees
- $5,000 - Giant Screen Mastering costs
- $13,000 - Global rights for theatrical, Blu-Ray, and digital
- $3,500 - Contingency
- $1,500 - Kickstarter fees
So what’s in it for me?
Beyond the satisfaction of contributing to a truly groundbreaking film, we’re offering some great perks including backer-only editions of the recordings and the film, private live streaming video of the recording session and specially autographed items. Check them out in sidebar on the right hand side.
What people are saying about In Saturn’s Rings
“We all dream of having the ability to fly. Unlike most people in earlier generations, people living now have dreams of flying in space. In Saturn’s Rings plays your dreams right before your eyes. You’ll soar past our nearby worlds and see for yourself what these extraordinary places look like up close. It’s not imaginary; this film is created entirely from real images transmitted to Earth from our spacecraft. We built these machines to extend our knowledge beyond our own world. In Saturn’s Rings makes you part of our species’ extraordinary extraterrestrial journeys.” - Bill Nye “The Science Guy”
“This extraordinary excerpt is from an upcoming movie for IMAX® theaters that uses Cassini orbiter imagery (NO computer generated images) to create some stunning flybys and flythroughs of the Saturnian system. Cassini has taken so many high-res pictures that this stitched together footage is possible. All I can say is “wow.”- ScientificAmerican.com
“Stephen Van Vuuren animated thousands of still shots from Cassini spacecraft’s Saturn flyby, knitting them together to create a seamless journey toward the gas giant, past one of its moons and through its awe-inspiring rings. It’s one of the most mind-blowing, beautiful space movies I’ve ever seen.”
“Until someone actually puts a high-definition IMAX® camera on an interplanetary probe, Stephen van Vuuren’s fly-through of the Saturnian system may stand as one of the most ambitious non-profit efforts to create a virtual spaceflight using real images.”
Thank you for supporting In Saturn’s Rings and great music!
Risks and challenges
This entire film project has been a once-in-a-lifetime challenge from the beginning as it's the first full length film created entirely using photoanimation of real photographs ever attempted in film history.
But the success of bringing this film to life has taught me that hard work, perseverance, learning, testing, recovering quickly from mistakes and most importantly, reaching out to the incredible community of supportive people online is the secret to making dreams, reality.
For this recording, we have reached out to leading musicians and recording engineers to be sure that the space and equipment will give us a beautiful, high fidelity recording.
We have spent 3 months planning this project involving giant screen sound and music recording experts with Technicolor, IMAX® Corporation. and others as well as the leading recording engineers in our area. We have worked with the Symphony and Westover Church's technical staff to insure everyone is prepared.
We have built in contingencies for any challenges that arise before or during the recording, including having enough takes to deal with unexpected issues.
Once the recording is complete, we've allowed time and funds to cover any clean-up of the audio recordings required.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Levels $75 and $100 include a non-autographed copy of the soundtrack on CD. $150 level included autographed.
Yes! All media will work in all areas of the world.
The costs of giant screen distribution and IMAX theaters are such that this is unlikely e.g. creating the master film-out (most of these theaters are still film based) is over $750,000 and even a digital master for IMAX theaters costs many tens of thousands. The theaters and distribution companies keep most of the box office and have these large expense to recoup, so even if the film is very successful it would likely be years before that would occur. Most giant screen films lose money, so not-for-profit made more sense for this film.
If profit does happen at some point, we will share with all the volunteers who have worked so hard on the film. Contact me directly if you need more details.
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