The Toshiba Space Chair Project

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The commercial is called “Space Chair” and follows the journey of a single armchair that is tied to a balloon and lofted to the edge of space at 98,268 feet. The trek to the lofty altitude took 83 minutes and the fall back to Earth took the chair 24 minutes. The tag line is very ingenious — Armchair viewing redefined.

The commercial was filmed with a Toshiba IK-HR1S ultra compact 1080i camcorder and the balloon was launched from the Black Rock desert in Nevada. The chair setup had to meet FAA regulations meaning that the entire camera, chair and balloon rig had to weigh less than four pounds.

The balloon and chair rig were also fitted with four different GPS systems to accurately record its height at any second to within four meters in altitude and within 30 cm in longitude and latitude position. Positional information was sent to the ground team every 15 seconds so that the team could locate the camera rig at the end of its journey.

Facts about the shoot:

  • 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

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