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A New Sci-Fi Movie Had 2 Minutes to Capture a Solar Eclipse, Here's What Happened

This can’t be real, can it?
This can’t be real, can it?
Photo: Kevin Garrison (TXL Films)

It’s one thing to write some huge celestial event into your movie. It’s another to actually get it on film in the movie. A big Hollywood production might just create it in post-production, but the team behind new sci-fi movie Nomad went the other way. They set out to film a real solar eclipse, giving themselves only two minutes and 18 seconds in a very specific part of the world, to capture the shot.


“The eclipse scene is going to be intense,” director Taron Lexton said in a press release weeks before the shoot. “We’re filming an event that lasts two minutes. We’ve scouted locations for months to find the exact position. We’re sourcing special lenses and gear. The actors have to be perfectly rehearsed. It’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, with just one chance to get it right.”


So, what happened? You can see here in our exclusive video.

Yup. They nailed it.

Filming took place in Elqui Valley, Chile during the only solar eclipse of 2019. The reason for the incredible pressure and time crunch to nail this shot is the next eclipse isn’t until 2020—and even then, that might not offer as close or clear of a look as they’d get in the Elqui Valley. Basically, it was now or years from now.

This all happened yesterday, of course, and the above video was shot and edited overnight by Richard Brien. It not only shows Lexton and his crew capturing the shot, but it’s also the first time an eclipse has ever been captured in large format on the Arri Alexa LF camera. Lexton and his team worked with the team at Arri to make sure they knew exactly the best way to capture the event since it was a one-shot deal. Here’s another image.

It certainly looks like it was worth it.
It certainly looks like it was worth it.
Photo: Ted Hesser

So why go through all this trouble? Well, it’s in service to a story. The story of Nomad, which is now officially in production, is of a young woman who falls in love with a man. However, that man has a small problem. He spontaneously shifts to another spot on the globe every 12 hours, with no control or knowledge where he’s going to end up. We’re guessing, at some point, they end up near an eclipse.

If you’d like to follow the journey of Nomad—which, aside from that near-impossible piece of cinematography, also involves a 25-country, seven-continent shoot—the Instagram is NomadTheFilm and Facebook is FilmingNomad.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom.


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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> shifts to another spot on the globe every 12 hours

I hope he’s good at treading water. 2/3 of the globe is covered in ocean. I’m certain it’ll be addressed in the movie (which sounds cute).