LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The sun is getting
ready for its closeup. Producers of feature films and TV
commercials will set up at key locations to capture what they
hope will be unique scenes using the natural spectacle of
Monday's total solar eclipse.
For filmmakers, the most-coveted backdrops sit within the "zone
of totality," where the moon will cover the sun and expose a
glowing corona around its perimeter for up to two minutes and 40
Camera crews, directors and actors are staging rehearsals and
preparing to act quickly, as the brief period of totality will
give filmmakers little time to record the perfect shot.
"One take only," said director Alvin Case, who aims to shoot a
roughly six-minute scene in western Nebraska for his independent
feature film "In the Moon's Shadow." "That's all you get with
Case's project, about a pair of estranged sisters who travel
together to watch an eclipse, is one of at least three
productions scheduled to shoot in Nebraska on Monday, said
Laurie Richards, the state's film officer. Another feature film
and an automobile commercial also are set to record footage
there during the eclipse.
Richards said she has been busy fielding last-minute inquiries
from people wanting to shoot scenes for movies, TV commercials
and documentaries during the rare event.
Eclipses have figured into previous Hollywood plots, including
that of "2001: A Space Odyssey." In most cases, visual effects
experts recreated the phenomenon for the screen. An exception
was the 1961 religious movie "Barabbas," which used actual
footage from a solar eclipse in a climactic scene depicting
Jesus Christ's crucifixion.
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Case plans to aim one camera skyward to film the eclipse and keep
another focused on the reaction of three actors watching it unfold,
"You want the viewer to experience what they are experiencing, the
moment of awe," he said.
Several producers of TV commercials have requested permission to
shoot in Oregon and Wyoming during the eclipse, local officials
In Oregon, authorities granted permits weeks ago for a handful of
projects to film on Monday, the executive director of Oregon Film,
Tim Williams, said. Recent requests were denied because officials
are focusing on the expected influx of tourists, he added.
Another filmmaker who will be shooting in Nebraska, Maria Dyer, said
she plans to employ four cameras and a drone to capture eclipse
footage, particularly the changing light over the state's Sand
Hills, for a forthcoming movie. One challenge will be adjusting
camera settings to account for the change in exposure. Another is
the chance of clouds or rain.
"It feels like a worthwhile risk to take," she said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sue Horton and Leslie Adler)
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