Vacuum Plate, IMAX

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The vacuum plate is a removable plate situated behind the lens of the IMAX camera in order to create a slight vacuum to flatten the film and eliminate image distortions during film exposure. It was used on the twelve space shuttle fights in the 1980s and 1990s when IMAX filming was performed.

Astronauts used the camera to capture film footage for five IMAX productions. The first of these, The Dream Is Alive (1985), still ranks as the most popular of all IMAX feature films. Four of the films were co-sponsored by IMAX, NASA, the National Air and Space Museum, and Lockheed Martin. By carefully training the astronauts not only to operate the camera but also to act as cinematographers to capture both the thrilling and ordinary activities in orbit, IMAX produced films that virtually put the audience inside and outside the shuttle.

Gift of the IMAX Corporation in 2011.