Light Side Up: Filming the Aurora Borealis from the Stratosphere - Trust Me Shops

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Light Side Up: Filming the Aurora Borealis from the Stratosphere

Light Side Up: Filming the Aurora Borealis from the Stratosphere

B&H explora - All posts
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Lost Horizon Creative is proud to announce the release of its latest project: Light Side Up. More than a year in planning, the highly anticipated film documents the journey of three adventurous photographers as they attempt to become the first film crew ever to capture cinema-quality footage of the northern lights from the edge of space. The full film will premiere on December 8, at 7:00 am PST, on Nate Luebbe’s YouTube channel. The YouTube Premiere will feature live Q&A with the filmmakers, as well as interactive chat during the screening.

A few rare photos of the northern lights have been shared from the International Space Station, but options for high-altitude photography are very limited for civilians. Professional photographer Nate Luebbe has spent his career chasing new perspectives, but it wasn’t until late 2019, while watching a hot air balloon launch that he realized he could use a weather balloon to send a camera directly into the stratosphere—thereby utilizing a relatively unexplored avenue for nature photography.

High-altitude balloons are launched every day for scientific research, but Luebbe wanted to push the envelope by using a professional camera system. With a highly specialized, full-frame camera designed specifically for ultra-low-light imaging, Luebbe and the team were able to capture higher-quality footage than ever before. After a full year of research, engineering, and fabricating custom stabilization systems, the first successful flight happened on September 26, 2020.

Quick stats:

  • Balloon size: 10 feet on the ground, 38 feet diameter at bursting altitude
  • Flight duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Maximum altitude: 122,600 feet (37,369m)
  • Ascent velocity: 1,000 feet/min
  • Air temperature: approx -100ºF

The payload consisted of the brand-new Sony a7S III (a new camera designed specifically for ultra-low-light applications), redundant GPS tracking systems, additional batteries, and chemical heat packets. Once filled, the payload ascended for just shy of 2 hours and, at 122,600 feet, the balloon burst, sending the payload back to earth under a parachute, to be recovered by helicopter the next day.

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