Simulating a low-gravity environment on film

Yesterday’s New York Times had a Dave Itzkoff piece talking up Moon, the new SF film by Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie) and starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. The movie sounds interesting, and I look forward to seeing it. Itzkoff’s article, however, included a throwaway line about the “scientific accuracy” of 2001: A Space Odyssey that woke up my inner Aspergers’ child, because seriously, 2001 is a Bible picture for pot-smoking atheists, and the fact that they turn the sound off during the spacewalk sequences doesn’t change that.

Anyway, I was still buzzing about “accuracy” when I watched the Moon trailer, and, first, it looks like a very cool film, but, second, I noticed that they’d gone the usual route in portraying the Moon’s lower gravity—inside the moonbase, Sam Rockwell moves exactly the way he would on Earth, but when he steps outside, the camera switches to slow-motion. Which got me wondering: if you wanted to accurately simulate 1/6th Earth gravity in the indoor shots where he’s not wearing a space suit, how hard would that be to do, and would the audience accept it or would it look distractingly weird?

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