NASA - THE FINAL LAUNCH

Cinematographer: BILL BENNETT, ASC

This is the last Space Shuttle Launch, STS-135, July 8, 2011, shot at 120fps with an Arri Alexa digital cinema camera. Arri was invited by NASA to bring three digital cameras to Cape Kennedy to shoot the last Space Shuttle launch, ever. I was honored to be asked by Arri to be the Cinematographer on the project. This shot was made from a remote controlled camera position located 1,200 feet from launch Pad 39A, with a prototype Alexa that was modified to shoot at 120 fps

 

It was the first time an Alexa had ever shot a NASA launch, and the first time shooting a real project at 120 fps. Shooting at 120 fps, and playing back at 24 fps creates the illusion of slow-motion, by slowing things down by a factor of 5, meaning that one second of action while shooting will take five seconds to play back in the video. As you can see, the Alexa performed flawlessly, in spite of the excessive temperatures, rain and humidity, and nearby lightning strikes that occurred the day before the launch. 

 

I traveled from Los Angeles to Florida with Stephan Ukas-Bradley of ARRI, 11 days before the launch to begin setting up two of the remotely controlled cameras, placed 1,000 feet (300m) from launch Pad 39A. Besides launching many of the Space Shuttle missions over a 30 years period here, Pad 39A was where all 12 men who landed on the moon in the Apollo program were launched on the massive Saturn 5 rockets