About the Production
Supernova was shot entirely on five soundstages at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, containing the Nightingale 229's Hospital Module, Crew Module, Bridge, Galley, Engine Room and Observation Dome. The first seven days of production occurred at an enormous airplane hangar at LAX, which accommodated the set of a mining operation located 3.000 meters below the surface of an icy rogue moon.
Five months before filming began, construction started on five soundstages at
Raleigh Studios to build the interior sets of the22nd century medical spaceship, the
Nightingale 229. In designing the ship, production designer Marek Dobrowolski worked
closely with a group of designers from aerospace company Northrop Grumman
Corporation to visualize where space travel and medical technology may be headed a
hundred and fifty years from now. Dobrowolski was also influenced by modern designers such as Phillipe Starck and Frank Gehry and the idea of putting function ahead of form to create a very streamlined, realistic space vessel. As with a space station, the Nightingale is comprised of separate modules which, in theory, have been assembled in space.
For the moon mining operation, the producers had to find a space large enough for this enormous set. Rather than a soundstage, they chose a huge Delta Airlines maintenance hangar at LAX, which had also been utilized for scenes in Paul Verhoeven's
The filmmakers payed close attention to the scientific accuracy of the supernova depicted in the film. Dobrowoiski enlisted the scientific expertise of Dr. Jacklyn R. Green, who advised on surface materials, color schemes and atmospheric conditions that would be prevalent on a moon hovering near a supergiant star. "It's my job to help the filmmakers put together a consistent, logical view of the science that's depicted in the twenty-second century," Green explains. Dr. Green worked intensively with the art department and with the visual effects designers in creating the moon mining operation. the solar system that would embody a supernova, and to help road map where technology may be 150 years from now, in particular how it relates to interstellar propulsion.
Dobrowolski had to take into account such details as the moon s extremely low temperature, mineral composition, and gravitational fields in designing the massive set and the mining machinery.
In Supernova, the crew of the Nightingale is in dire peril of being vaporized by the explosion of a supergiant star, an explosion known as a supernova. As Dr. Green explains.
"A supernova is the most massive explosion in the universe after the Big Bang.
It's equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs going off every second. The super blue white giant star depicted in
Supernova has a mass 20 times the mass of our sun. The energy. or light, that would be emitted in this supernova is roughly equal to the energy of 200 billion stars combined."
In addition, two of the Nightingale modules contain zero gravity. To realize this effect. the entire cast underwent extensive training with a stunt coordinator to "learn how
to fly," using an elaborate system of cranes and harnesses created by the special effects crew.
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