Space Off is a science fiction short film produced by 21st Century Design
in collaboration with Frame by Frame. Completely conceived by director
Tino Franco and designers Tommaso Ragnisco and Marco Flore of the Mad
Pot Film Design Studio Space Off features highly complex special effects
and post-production efforts.
The film was shot in Rome at the Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu studio where
spacelab and the cockpit sets were built, together with the miniature
model of the spaceship Centauro. A 7 by 4 meter blue-screen was constructed
and used as virtual set for the anchor woman scenes and illuminated
with neon lamps for uniform light diffusion.
The minature of the Centaurus is 2.7 meters long, on a scale of 1:200.
Drawings, elevations, blueprints, cross sections and models were made
before final construction in wood, plastic, resin multiples and pieces
from modelling kits.
The light filtering through the windows of the Centaurus was created
using a special, battery run, luminescent foil.
Two 12-volt motors with a power dimmer were placed inside the model
in order to rotate the living quarters of the Centaurus, to stimulate
the force of gravity.
Photographs were taken in order to study the visual effect of the model
The spectacular shots of the Centaurus in space were achieved using
green-screen and the Interactive Motion Control of SBP, which allowed
us to repeat the same exact camera movements on the minature.
Multiple exposures for every shot were needed, each with a different
shutter setting in order to achieve the different gradients of light,
and finally the desired effect.
Matte-paintings for additional effect of the spacecraft movements, for
planet earth views and close-ups of the spaceship details were final
touches to the space sequences that were composited in post-production.
The RT Probes were inspired by the dynamics of an acer tree seed dropping
to the ground. The 3D animation of the RT Probe penetrating Mars
crust was a mixture of techniques:
- Rinoceros for the three-dimensional probe;
- 3D Studio-Max for animation and rendering;
- shots of landscape models of the planet
(live special effect of Mars dust).
Post-production was carried out by Frame by Frame, that provided Flame
digital compositing system Discreet. Frame by Frame also did the video
graphics of the news-cast underscore using Adobe After Effects and Softimage.
Those who had the chance to see Space Off at the last Venice Film Festival
felt that this 21-minute independent short was equal to the greater
presented at the festival.
The films success can only be attributed to the great care that
went into every aspect of its making: the American and English actors
who gave of themselves and clearly enjoyed the experience, the detailed
interior shots of the spaceship; the special effects described above
and the innovative narrative form.
selezionato per la sezione
"NUOVI TERRITORI" al Festival di Venezia
selected for the section NEW TERRITORIES
at the International Film Festival in Venezia
Italian Short Film 2002
come miglior corto italiano 2002:
Un corto che rende omaggio,
con il taglio del vero cinema,
al piú spettacolare tra i generi hollywoodiani
raccontato con il gusto ironico
di un appassionato cinéphile
A celebration of the most spectacular
of hollywood genres,
a short film with authentic cinema cut
combined with ironic taste and
a passion for cinema -