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2,010: The Year We Make Contact - Europa Sequence
September 20, 2007
2,010: The Year We Make Contact is a visually rich but preachy cold-war revisiting of Kubrick's classic, with effects accomplished by Richard Edlund's Boss Films (the firm's first outing after Edlund left Industrial Light & Magic).
Modelmaker Jarek Alfer sculpted a fittingly freezing, rugged, and alien landscape of Europa on a 40 foot wide by 25 foot deep plywood tabletop, built with plaster, styrofoam, and wax.
The most effective shots of this sequence are displayed on video monitors, an effect achieved with a groundbreaking frame-accurate video animation system. The video footage was synchronized with film's 24 frames per second, fed into monitors on the Leonov set, and shot with practical lighting along with the actors. The low resolution is kind of a cheat: A sharper image would reveal more imperfections in the miniature. Yet in this context, the low-resolution video sells the shot. It looks awfully close to the faint, interlaced images of moons and planets that we're used to seeing from space probes.
Long shots of Europa's surface were accomplished with a large-scale model and shot on 65mm VistaVision.