The highest high def film in the world

Toshiba UK premieres its latest advertising campaign this week. It will be shown first on ITV from the 16th of November and promotes Toshiba’s TV product and is shot with Toshiba High def camera’s. The commercial titled ‘Space Chair’ is a pretty impressive piece of film that takes viewers on an “awe-inspiring journey to the edge of space.”

Created for Toshiba by Grey London, ‘Space Chair’ builds on the 2008  ‘Timesculpture’ ad campaign and has been filmed using Toshiba cameras. Shot in the wilderness of the Nevada Black Rock desert, the advertisement follows the journey of an ordinary living room chair to the extraordinary heights of the edge of space, lifted to an altitude of 98,268 feet by a simple helium balloon.  


The ad was shot by Haris Zambarloukos, the acclaimed cinematographer behind films including ‘Enduring Love’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ and was directed by Andy Amadeo, Creative Director at Grey London. The shoot was made possible via the construction of a unique custom-built camera rig engineered by John Powell of JP Aerospace – experts in this field who have successfully sent over 100 balloons into the upper atmosphere. A specially created full-sized model chair made of biodegradable balsa wood; light enough to make the 83 minute journey up towards space was tied to the rig and launched by the team.  

Four independent GPS systems were placed on the rig to accurately record its height at any second to within 4 meters in altitude, and within 30cm in longitude and latitude position. This information was transmitted every 15 seconds back to ground control where it was monitored via a computer satellite system to enable the team to locate the rig once it had fallen back to earth. The film is cinematic, opening with a shot of the solitary chair silhouetted against the Nevada sunrise and taking the viewer on its journey above the desert, into the clouds and beyond.  

Matt McDowell, Marketing Director at Toshiba UK comments: “Our aim was to create a new advertising campaign that would bring to life Toshiba’s brand philosophy of leading innovation. We chose to send a chair on the journey as it is central to the user’s experience of Toshiba’s products; whether they are watching TV or using a laptop.” 

Andy Amadeo, Creative Director at Grey London comments: “Keeping with our tact of being as innovative as the brand, we once again created a mould-breaking commercial with Toshiba. Last year we set a new world record with ‘Timesculpture’ and proved that their domestic camcorders could produce a breathtaking, never before seen piece of film. This time we have used Toshiba HD cameras to produce some of the most stunning footage shot at the edge of space.”  

Facts about the shoot:

  • The shots were taken at a staggering 98,268 feet above the earth using Toshiba’s own cameras
  • To reach the altitude required and to conform with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the weight of the rig had to be carefully managed to a weight of no more than four pounds
  • Tied to the rig was a specially created full-sized model chair made of biodegradable balsa wood – the chair was made by a company called Artem and cost about £2,500
  • Launch coordinates of the rig were – 119 degrees, 14 minutes by 40 degrees, 48 minute (12 miles North-East of the town of Gerlach, Nevada)
  • The quality of the footage from the Toshiba IK-HR1S cameras was: 1920×1080 pixel count; 1080i @ 50hz; 100 Mbps
  • The temperature dropped to minus 90 degrees when the chair reached 52,037 feet
  • The chair took 83 minutes to reach an altitude of 98,268 feet where it broke and took just 24 minutes to fall back down to earth with the rig.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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