Darren Aronofsky One Strange Rock

Darren Aronofsky is venturing into new territory in more ways than one.  For starters, his new 10-part documentary series ‘One Strange Rock’ is his first TV project.  But in making it, he pioneered new ways of filming both on Earth and in space.

In order to film astronaut Peggy Whitson, who recently set a record for spending 665 consecutive days in space, Aronofsky enlisted the European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli’s to serve as cinematographer.  Aronofsky equipped Nespoli with a RED HD camera.  “He knew how to shoot,” says Aronofsky, “I more gave him the visual language that we were looking for that would differentiate the footage you normally see from the inside space station.”

He added:

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘Hey, is there any way we can turn off those fluorescents and let the sun and the planet Earth and the moon light Peggy?’”

He also discussed being able to give feedback to Nespoli immediately, via email.

“I had no idea you could just email an astronaut.  For some reason, I thought it was like Apollo times where it would take a long time to reach them.”

Aronofsky and his crew also spent two years shooting on Earth in “145 locations in 45 countries on six continents, using cutting-edge equipment, including Phantom digital high-speed cameras and micro- and macro-photography technology to shoot everything from massive dust storms in Ethiopia to kids hunting for meteorites in Morocco.”

“We wanted our teams to capture all of these amazing locations in ways that have never been photographed before, so we came up with a visual handbook that laid out what type of equipment we used, what type of lenses, everything.  t was all about trying to create boundaries for these different teams so that when all the material came in, we would have similar types of shots that could connect all these different places on the planet and reinforce the idea that we’re all on one strange rock.”

With narration by Will Smith, ‘One Strange Rock’ premiers on the National Geographic Channel on March 26.

Check out the trailer below: