One of my favourite sequences from the film world is the Orion III spaceplane in orbit and docking with the space station in Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ based on a book by Arthur C. Clarke. 2001 was filmed and edited almost entirely in England, where Kubrick lived, using the studio facilities of the MGM-British Studios and those of Shepperton Studios. It was nominated for four Academy Awards and Kubrick received one for his direction of visual effects.
The film was released in 1968 before Photoshop, After Effects and 3D modelling were ever conceived. The docking sequence was done entirely with large-scale models that were filmed in a studio. The whole aerial ballet was performed to Johann Strauss’s music, The Blue Danube and rates as one of the most aesthetically beautiful sequences ever filmed.
I wondered how Kubrick would have made the film with today’s technology. Software used was Photoshop, Cinema 4D and Hit Film Pro.
The opening scenes recreate the world as it was before the arrival of man leading to the scenes were where the apes are sheltering from predators at night and their later discovery of the Black Monolith. The opening sequence cuts to black for a couple of seconds; keep watching for the rest of the film to pick up a few thousand years later.
If you have never seen the film then I can thoroughly recommend it although the latter part of the film can leave you a little bewildered if you don’t understand what Kubrick and Clarke meant by it.