Montréal Space for Life is proud to present a new double feature at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium that is sure to inspire and educate the entire family. Produced exclusively by Montréal Space for Life, it brings forth the immersive show EXO, a unique presentation which uses a live narrative to guide you through a truly unforgettable journey. By having an animator narrate the show, it provides an additional connection to the visual provided and engages audience members.
To help bring this show to life, a team of collaborators was brought together, including astronomers, philosophers, biologists, visual artists and musicians. Images of wildlife, nature, supersized bacteria and rare research come together for your viewing pleasure. EXO is a story about life, how it’s changing, where it’s going, and what potential opportunities lie ahead.
This short, fast, and fun journey will educate the best of us on the mysteries of the universe and allow us to gain an appreciation and better understanding on certain complexities, such as exoplanets, which are planets located outside our Solar System. Before you know it, you’ll be having discussions about life with the entire family.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Loïc Quesnel, animator and collaborative writer for EXO – here’s what he had to say.
Dominic de Meester (DdM): What were some of the biggest challenges in terms of production you were faced with while making EXO?
Loïc Quesnel (LQ): To create 360 degree pictures with CGI, we have to find artists that are able to evolve in such an immersive environment. Usually they have to concentrate all the relative information in a rectangle, so here we have to up our skills to put that into another environment. If we want to have real images, we have to invent cameras that are able to shoot more than 180 degrees. For example, when we want to shoot telescopes and people working in their offices – we have to shoot more than just the sky, more than what is above our heads.
DdM: I was pretty impressed that Montréal Space for Life are producing their own movies. Is this the first one you’ve done?
LQ: It was one of their first ones. But since we’ve re-upped the Planetarium in 2013, it’s our fifth or sixth movie. We’re gaining experience from one movie to another of course, but this one was our most challenging, technically-speaking.
DdM: I’m assuming Montréal Space for Life will be producing more movies moving forward?
LQ: Yes of course. We’re still not sure what the topic of the next movie will be, but we’re on working on it regularly.
DdM: Seeing as you have a collection, any plans of a film festival?
LQ: We do keep a collection of our movies, and are discussing the possibility of distribution to other planetariums. Already, we’re going into international festivals with our movies to promote them and give talks on how we create them.
DdM: So where did you find inspiration for EXO?
LQ: The main theme of the 375th anniversary of the city of Montréal was celebration. Here at Space for Life we have the Biôdome, Insectarium and Botanical Garden – so our main theme was Celebrate Life. We had to find a way to celebrate life in the universe. We wanted our show to be thrilling, to show that the quest for life elsewhere in the universe is thrilling, exciting, and very contemporary. Even if those questions are thousands of years old, we are that close to making interesting discoveries. Now, it’s the first time in history that we have specific instruments, specific detectors, specific algorithms to extract what we need from those observations with the quest of finding life. That’s inspiring.
The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is also proud to present its other feature Space Next.
For your viewing pleasure, Space Next is being presented in the Chaos Theater at Montréal Space for Life. With its distinctive setting, you just might be able to enjoy this show lying down on a nice comfortable been bag. Quite the experience if you’ve never tried it – and even if you have, these visual effects will have you star gazing.
The film explores the unknown, to discover what lies beyond the next planet or a distant moon. It informs us of grander possibilities the future holds, while providing us with a new perspective on space travel and its opportunities. You’ll gain a better understanding on potential plans for commercial voyages and how Space X is advancing at a greater rate than ever before.