What would happen if you spent millions of dollars placing a special IMAX camera on board a space shuttle and all the footage turned out to be useless because of a simple condensation?
It's not science fiction. That was a gut-wrenching possibility for the filmmakers of "Hubble 3D," which hits theaters today. While everything turned out to be fine in the end, condensation cover over the IMAX camera in space almost put the kibosh on the visually stunning movie.
Director Toni Meyers tells PopcornBiz about the heart-stopping moment during the shuttle's third space walk when an astronaut floated past the specially placed camera and noticed harmful condensation on the outside window. "We just died," she says. "I felt sick to my stomach day and night after that. We were about halfway through the mission at that point."
While the IMAX crew at Houston mission control was able to see a video display of what the special camera could see, it wasn't hi-def enough to see the fine fog which was clear to the human eye. So they hadn't noticed the problem. Further investigation proved the depressing news.
"We could see this huge sausage-shape of fog right in front of the camera lens," says Meyers. "I had no way of knowing if anything shot up to that point was also fogged."
Even their fix wasn't guaranteed to clear the lens properly. "We were pretty sure we fixed it, but we were paranoid at that point," she says. "I thought we had lost at least 50 percent of the footage due to fog. And maybe it never got better."
It took six weeks to find out what impact the fog had. Meyers was so concerned she was in the lab watching the film being processed.
"I had 59 ulcers at that point," she says. "But as it turned out only one shot was affected. I was jumping for joy."
Hubble 3D opens in IMAX theaters across the country today.