An inspiring shoot for the MacGillivray Freeman film crew took place in a patch of desert in North Las Vegas, seemingly the middle of no place. But it is here that forward-looking entrepreneur Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla is working on a revolutionary supersonic train dubbed the Hyperloop–which could one day zoom from LA to San Francisco in a mind-blowing 30 minutes. This potential engineering marvel hopes to work similarly to a massive vacuum tube system, propelling pod-like cars with powerful magnets through tunnels at 700 MPH. Though still in the earliest testing stages, the MFF team couldn’t resist the chance to capture a potentially world-changing engineering concept in the throes of development.
Right now, the Hyperloop test center is working with sleds on small portions of electromagnetic track. Director of Photography Brad Ohlund immediately sensed the best way to show off what the Hyperloop is all about: “The only way to do the concept justice was to mount an IMAX® camera directly upon the sled,” he says. “Right now, the sled only goes up to 120 MPH but when you put an IMAX® camera on top of it, the images get really interesting. One of the big challenges is that the sled has no brakes at this point–they just use a bunch of sand to slow it down. IMAX® cameras don’t like sand so we put the camera in an underwater housing. We also couldn’t be on the track during the test runs, so we had to remotely start the cameras.”
It was all worth it to get a taste of what the Hyperloop might become, says Ohlund. “The Hyperloop gives you a sense of where engineering is going–and what our world might soon look like.”