domenica 22 luglio 2012

Creating the end credit zoom-in

This article has been updated. Latest update: 2012/08/11

Moonscape's end credit sequence features a zoom-in from a full picture of the Moon all the way to a close-up of the Apollo 11 landing site, showing the LM descent stage and the astronauts' footprints, using actual images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe that is currently orbiting the Moon.

For the first release of this sequence, the images of the sequence were captured as follows. I visited the ACT-REACT QuickMap service of the LRO website and disabled all layers except LROC WAC + NAC Mosaic in the top left corner. I then centered the view on the coordinates of the Apollo 11 landing site, which are Lat 0.67203 Lon 23.48363 (which can be permalinked with the handy Permalink link in the bottom left corner), and zoomed in fully on an iMac 27" screen running at 2560x1440 resolution. The browser was set to fullscreen and this allowed me to capture 2260x1180 screenshots, gradually stepping back with the scale slider of the Quickmap controls.

To obtain the last image of the series, which is currently the highest-resolution image of the Apollo 11 landing site ever taken, I downloaded the full-resolution TIFF image strip (1.3 GB) from the LRO site. The image name is M175124932LR and its acquisition date is May 11, 2011; more details on this image are at the LRO Camera site. With some help, I then located the region of this huge, elongated image that included the Apollo 11 landing site, as shown below.

The original image is too large to handle with Final Cut, so I cropped it and saved it as a more manageable 3000x3000 PNG file, which I then imported into Final Cut.

Having assembled the full series, I scaled each image to match up with the preceding one and then zoomed in each image to 100%, so as to always have the optimum resolution when rendering at full HD size. The images were cropped in Final Cut to leave room for the credits and to align the edges.

Here's the final result, with music kindly donated by Giancarlo Dalla Chiara:


After the first version shown above, I received a wonderful digital animation based on the same LRO images from Roberto Baldassari. It's a single continuous zoom-in instead of the stepped version I had created, and it's far better than my crude attempt. Here's the updated result:

Main title sequence is now ready
Pronti i titoli di testa


This is a low-resolution release of the main title sequence of Moonscape. A higher-resolution version will be released as soon as I receive the HD versions of the footage. Later versions will improve the stabilization and remove dirt and scratches frame by frame.


Ho pubblicato a bassa risoluzione i titoli di testa di Moonscape. La versione ad alta risoluzione verrà pubblicata non appena ricevo le versioni in HD dei filmati. Nelle versioni successive verrà migliorata la stabilizzazione e verranno eliminati graffi e sporco dai singoli fotogrammi.