a short film by Tino Franco, made in Italy, 2002 - 35mm (1:85) - colour - English language - 21 min.


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 the
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 before shooting.

The spectacular shots of the Centaurus in space were achieved using a
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 Hollywood productions
presented at the festival.

The film’s 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.


FOTO Premiazione

Film selezionato per la sezione
"NUOVI TERRITORI" al Festival di Venezia

Film selected for the section “NEW TERRITORIES”
at the International Film Festival in Venezia

Best Italian Short Film 2002

Nastro d'Argento
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 ” - SNGCI

“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” - SNGCI



©21stCenturyDesign & MekkanograficiAssociati