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Where no photographer has gone before
February 18, 2014 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The video of a photographer and is crew trying to get images of Kate Upton in zero gravity is pretty great and hilarious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (81 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't think I could ever be persuaded to take a ride on a vomit comet, even if Kate Upton were in there with me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:25 AM on February 18


I wouldn't be surprised if there were a bunch of Mefites who had been on a Vomit Comet - I have a handful of friends who have and this video is pretty much in line with their videos.

I love how Kate Upton is totally in control of her movements while everyone else is flailing. What a pro.
posted by muddgirl at 11:27 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


There's a joke about "lift" in there somewhere...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:31 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I so want to do that.

(before you flag me, I'm talking about the zero G thing)
posted by overhauser at 11:32 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I seriously looked into a Vomit Comet ride for my 40th birthday. I went to Hawaii instead, but the costs were comparable.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:34 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I think there's a better chance than you'd expect that humans will first walk on Mars when Sports Illustrated makes Kate Upton go there for a photo shoot.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:35 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


It really would've been great and hilarious if she puked.
posted by planetesimal at 11:37 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I got queasy just watching that.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:37 AM on February 18


Maybe she puked in the outtakes.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:38 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


"SCIENCE! TECHNOLOGY!" - old timey announcer voice
posted by brundlefly at 11:40 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I would love to do that. I should have been a supermodel.
posted by procrastination at 11:42 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Surely in zero-G there is no Upton. Or Downton, which might be why you don't see them trying this with Maggie Smith. Then again that might not be why.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:44 AM on February 18 [13 favorites]


That gold lamé... thing... she's wearing at the beginning of the first video is just terrible. As is the first-person view copping-of-a-feel thirty seconds in.
posted by ook at 11:48 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I expect a bunch of Mefites have travelled on Toronto's Vomit Comet. Never spotted Kate Upton on there though.
posted by Kabanos at 11:48 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Aww, I love her. She is sweet and her body is beautiful. What crazy stuff we put models through. My motivation for being in zero gravity would be to see if it alleviates back pain due to having a larger chest but I recognize that's probably not why other people would want to fly in zero-g or whatever.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:48 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD MrMoonPie I had no idea this was a thing that a normal person could actually do. I'm going to start saving up right this second.
posted by marginaliana at 11:49 AM on February 18


Did the photos get posted anywhere? I'm curious how those weird water droplet shots came out.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


So at some points in the ride you just hit the ground? Ugh, I don't think you could pay me enough to do this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:51 AM on February 18


I am continually amazed at what goes into photography these days. The line between photography and filmmaking is getting blurrier and blurrier.
posted by girlmightlive at 11:53 AM on February 18


Did the photos get posted anywhere? I'm curious how those weird water droplet shots came out.

mathowie: here are a couple.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:54 AM on February 18


The photos themselves are up at Sports Illustrated (via io9)
posted by themadthinker at 11:54 AM on February 18


Surely in zero-G there is no Upton. Or Downton, which might be why you don't see them trying this with Maggie Smith. Then again that might not be why

She'd manage, she's a good sailor.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:57 AM on February 18


I want narration by David Attenborough. Something something mating ritual.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:58 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


So at some points in the ride you just hit the ground? Ugh, I don't think you could pay me enough to do this.

It's a plane making parabolas in the air. While ascending and at the top of the parabola you feel weightless, but at other points during the flight they're actually experiencing the feel of 1.8 earth gravities. It's actually a pretty gradual transition up and down, once you get used to it, according to my friends who've done it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:01 PM on February 18


Did the photos get posted anywhere? I'm curious how those weird water droplet shots came out.

For your science experiment on zero g water bubbles, right? Suuuure....
posted by Brockles at 12:02 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I'm curious how those weird water droplet shots came out.

I thought that was baby oil and wondered if they'd pulled straws to see who got that job.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:03 PM on February 18


Why does this remind me of a very young Jane Fonda? Oh, yeah...
posted by bricoleur at 12:03 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if there were a bunch of Mefites who had been on a Vomit Comet

I haven't been on the Vomit Comet proper, but I did get to do a bunch of zero g dives in a smaller aircraft once and it was really freaking sweet. One of the stranger sensations I've ever had.

Wasn't with Kate Upton though, sadly.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:05 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


While ascending and at the top of the parabola you feel weightless

During the arc of the concave parabola, rather, which is equal parts ascending and descending on either side of the apex; the plane in a sense goes into controlled freefall while on the way up, carries over the hump while everyone inside is falling at the same speed as the plane, and then starts evening out again after it's well on its way down again.

That's part of why you see folks not just coming back down to the floor but doing so at a steepish angle during the gravity-returns shots; the plane's not anywhere near level when it starts to go back into the not-crashing-into-the-ground stage of the proceedings.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Um... So maybe this is a silly question, but if they're just taking stills, couldn't they have got the same results with a trampoline?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:17 PM on February 18


Um... So maybe this is a silly question, but if they're just taking stills, couldn't they have got the same results with a trampoline?

But... Kate Upton. In zero gravity.
posted by Mooski at 12:20 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Or Downton, which might be why you don't see them trying this with Maggie Smith. Then again that might not be why.

It is simply not possible for Dame Margaret to be in a zero-gravity situation.
posted by Etrigan at 12:21 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


So at some points in the ride you just hit the ground? Ugh, I don't think you could pay me enough to do this.

Yep. When they have to pull out of the dive, you hit the floor, and since you robbed Peter to get free fall, you pay Paul by pulling about 1.8g during the pull up.

The reason the rest of the cabin is padded is that you bounce around. The reason the floor is doubly padded is that it's trivial to find yourself at the top of the cabin when gravity notices you again and yells GET BACK HERE, YOU!
posted by eriko at 12:23 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Um... So maybe this is a silly question, but if they're just taking stills, couldn't they have got the same results with a trampoline?

Doubtful. She would spend less time in the air and couldn't take the very positions she does in zero g without hurting herself. Plus being on a trampoline requires exertion, but being weightless doesn't, which lessens the new of sweating, runny makeup, etc.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:25 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


What Brandon said, though I feel like for the stills at least that's more in theory than in practice since the results here seems kinda underwhelming compared with the concept; they are kinda pedestrian "coulda shot this on a trampoline" photographs.

And on the upside for a trampoline, it'd be a hell of a lot cheaper to stage a longer shoot and you wouldn't have to deal with the entire photography crew being disoriented as hell either. The water droplet thing stands out as a good example of this being sort of half-baked; it's one of the better "this is a unique circumstance" notions but it also comes off pretty underwhelming in practice, where a bunch of out-of-focus water droplets in a still image just look like...a bunch of out-of-focus water droplets.

That's all looking at this from the perspective of trying to accomplish new things in photographic craft and method and human figure photography and so on, though, which: not really the domain of a one-shot SI swimsuit issue stunt. As it is it makes great goofy copy and the photo crew got to do a weird fun thing. The art-qua-art of zero-g human kinematics photography doesn't seem like it was likely to be front and center in this whole thing.
posted by cortex at 12:36 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


But... Kate Upton. In zero gravity.

Most of Upton's visual appeal comes from the way gravity works upon her IMHO.
posted by phearlez at 12:39 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


That's all looking at this from the perspective of trying to accomplish new things in photographic craft and method and human figure photography and so on, though, which: not really the domain of a one-shot SI swimsuit issue stunt.

I agree with that, but the single shot they released on twitter is so underwhelming after watching the video. I expected them to get a photo that was much more interesting. I get that the whole point is show Kate Upton to her best advantage, but I have to believe there were shots that did this AND looked like cool zero-G.
posted by gladly at 12:39 PM on February 18


it's one of the better "this is a unique circumstance" notions but it also comes off pretty underwhelming in practice

Isn't that pretty much the SI swimsuit issue's MO? Other than the "let's torture the model" aspect, anyway. At least this year they didn't almost give her frostbite.
posted by phearlez at 12:42 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Ok. Now we've done that.
posted by Max Udargo at 12:44 PM on February 18


My friends were married in Zero G on one of these planes. I was technically in the wedding party, and they would have helped me cover some of the cost of attending the ceremony.

Except...the thing is...

Well, I am not great about motion sickness on a good day.

And the thought of spending thousands of dollars for the privilege of vomiting on my friend's custom-made space dress just...didn't seem like such a hot idea.

Whih is all to say that I'm surprised that photoshoot wasn't a lot messier.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:52 PM on February 18


gravity notices you again

Don't fool yourself, gravity had you in its clutches all along. The blame should rest on the aircraft's floor, along with your vomitus.
posted by achrise at 1:00 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


My main reaction on seeing the photos was "How in the world did she keep her hair out of her face?"

Yes, I am old.
posted by happyroach at 1:11 PM on February 18


Huh. The video is great. Those stills look ... ridiculous.
posted by chavenet at 1:12 PM on February 18


They should try to do a shoot without the normal force next.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:13 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I'm holding out for the alternative topology series. The problem is finding non-orientable models.
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


cortex: "I'm holding out for the alternative topology series. The problem is finding non-orientable models."

Topo models!
posted by chavenet at 1:16 PM on February 18


I'm surprised that photoshoot wasn't a lot messier.

It probably was, but SI is not going to show you that in the photos.
But that vial of VomitUpton® on Ebay will pay for the plane cleanup, plus Veuve Cliquot for all.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:26 PM on February 18


I was curious to see this until I saw it was related to the SI swimsuit issue. Something about that annual "tradition" always gives me the creeps—and by "something" I don't mean to imply that I don't know what that something is.
posted by Flexagon at 1:32 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


You have to hand it to her...the rest of the film crew is flailing about, and she's utterly graceful, giving them pose after pose.

Tyra Banks is going to kill one of her contestants trying to replicate this, isn't she?
posted by xingcat at 1:39 PM on February 18 [8 favorites]


Why isn't basically everyone tethered to seats? How many angles are you really going to be able to get with everybody bouncing around in an airplane fuselage in zero-G?
posted by furiousthought at 1:43 PM on February 18


Tyra Banks is going to kill one of her contestants trying to replicate this, isn't she?

With their luck, it will be a photo session on a tilt-a-whirl.
posted by Edgewise at 1:44 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


You don't have to be a supermodel, procrastination, you could just be a member of ZZ Top...
posted by plinth at 1:54 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


The Job You Have:
Unzipping archives/nudging pixels

The Job You Ain't Got:
Unzipping/nudging Kate Upton

Really I mean...60 comments in and nothing?
posted by rahnefan at 2:03 PM on February 18


Past Vomit Comet passenger here, United States Space Camp class of 1990. We were pretty regulated on tasks we had to perform, but were allowed one "freakout" period of freefall weightlessness.
posted by mediocre at 2:12 PM on February 18


Photographic evidence of Space Camp attendance. That metal collar weighs like 30 pounds, thus the uncomfortable attempt at a smile.
posted by mediocre at 2:20 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


I can't believe how much the vomit comet plane ride costs. If you asked me to guess, I would have said maybe $1500, possibly $2k for the couple hours or so the whole thing takes, but it's $5k per person! That's insane.
posted by mathowie at 2:20 PM on February 18


Why isn't basically everyone tethered to seats?

When I did it we were tethered to seats.

United States Space Camp class of 1990

USSC class of '96 here.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:22 PM on February 18


Whoa, Semper Fi. I shouldn't be surprised, this being MetaFilter and all, but I've never actually met another USSC attendee. Somehow, all that bouncing around in a plane when I was a kid resulted in me being insanely afraid of flying as an adult. You think it would be the other way around.
posted by mediocre at 2:28 PM on February 18


The Job You Ain't Got:
Unzipping/nudging Kate Upton

Really I mean...60 comments in and nothing?


ook did but you could keep that job anyway. What would be more depressing that physical contact with someone you found extremely attractive who was entirely indifferent to that touch?
posted by phearlez at 2:40 PM on February 18


Wait, you guys got to go on a Vomit Comet when you were in Space Camp? Which one? I was at the one in Huntsville in 1990 and did no such thing. Boo!
posted by zsazsa at 2:56 PM on February 18


The photos of her standing in front of the plane are far better than any in the plane. The backdrop of the interior of the plane is just bleh and just ruins every shot. I mean very interesting idea I'll give them that, but yeah total bust (pun not initially intended but then I just went with it).

Maybe if they had more props or if they had done it with a green screen in the background and super imposed her on something else. But yeah mostly looks like it was very difficult for all involved to get a decent shot, let alone an interesting one.
posted by whoaali at 3:02 PM on February 18


Which one?

Hunstville, 1990. There are several "camps" a year, from what I understand. Perhaps your "class" didn't, for whatever reason. I was also in a particularly expensive, "elite" class because my uncle pulled strings to get me a scholarship. Also, yay another USSC kid!
posted by mediocre at 3:10 PM on February 18


Aw, those photos are fun! Good on Kate for going for it and looking amazing throughout. (I like the water droplets one!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 3:16 PM on February 18


I also went to Space Camp, but it was in 1986 we were all still sad about the Challenger and Zero-G training wasn't yet an option.
posted by ColdChef at 4:04 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


During the arc of the concave parabola, rather, which is equal parts ascending and descending on either side of the apex; the plane in a sense goes into controlled freefall while on the way up, carries over the hump while everyone inside is falling at the same speed as the plane, and then starts evening out again after it's well on its way down again.

It's like jumping in an elevator, x1000? It looks amazing, I'd love to go. Better not be chewing gum during the ride though, I guess? What a horrible, senseless way to go that would be.

Major props to Upton's hair people. I wish they would have gone with more curl so we could see her hair bouncing around more, but making it big enough to look zero-G without going Bride of Frankenstein is a pretty major accomplishment anyway.

The shots are dull overall and Kate looks stiff, especially compared to the genuinely sexy shots on the runway...but the video is so fun that I don't care, I'm still happy they did it. And yeah, SI didn't actually maim her this time, which is an improvement.

This will never be on Top Model because like hell is Tyra getting filmed on the vomit comet. I wish that Britney Spears had been able to incorporate something like this into a music video before she got on conservatorship, though. Like, TOXIC 2: ZERO-G. She could have worn the same little stewardess outfit.
posted by rue72 at 4:48 PM on February 18


She really is graceful, while everyone else flails and collides. The photos are pretty blah, but the experience looked fun.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:13 PM on February 18


You don't need a 727 to do the zero-G thing. A Cessna or Piper will do just fine.
posted by pjern at 5:14 PM on February 18


> She really is graceful, while everyone else flails and collides.

I think the thing with that is she doesn't have a camera or other instrument to manipulate, and she also has more space available than the people behind the camera.
posted by planetesimal at 5:26 PM on February 18


I AM SO JEALOUS

WAAAAAAAAAAANT

dude, flying and floating? biggest-dream material. I was at the beach with a friend and saw some people learning to hangglide. I just about cried. Then about a year after everyone else I saw the Felix Baumgartner video and BAWLING.

They look like they were having tons of fun.
posted by divabat at 5:35 PM on February 18


Looks like Scruffy's going to have to get himself down to the news stand.
posted by stevis23 at 7:21 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


How long ago did SI start including actual athletes in the swimsuit issue? It wasn't like that when I was a kid.
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on February 18


Oh man, I really want to do that someday.
posted by homunculus at 10:08 PM on February 18


Kate Upton's Zero Gravity photo shoot, the gifs.
posted by chavenet at 2:03 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


The photos of her standing in front of the plane are far better than any in the plane. The backdrop of the interior of the plane is just bleh and just ruins every shot. I mean very interesting idea I'll give them that, but yeah total bust (pun not initially intended but then I just went with it).

Pretty much.

But you skip over the part that I still don't understand. Why, in the absence of any imaginable sun, sand, or surf, is she wearing a swimsuit instead of one of those practical-looking jumpsuits?
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:17 AM on February 19


Because she's a model named Kate Upton.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:44 AM on February 19


And it's not called the jumpsuit issue.
posted by phearlez at 7:03 AM on February 19


It's the arbitrary-T&A-sells-more-magazines issue.

I've always wished Playboy or one of the other softcore magazines would devote one issue per year exclusively to sports, just to balance things out.
posted by ook at 8:07 AM on February 19


they are kinda pedestrian "coulda shot this on a trampoline" photographs

Like 'em or hate 'em, none of them look remotely like any shot of someone jumping on a trampoline I've ever seen. The effortless weightlessness is apparent even in the still shots. Upton would have to be some kind of trampoline world champion to be able to adopt the poses she's in in these photos at the very apex of her jumps (the very brief moment of weightlessness you get while jumping on a trampoline).

Like several others in this thread, I was really impressed with her committed professionalism throughout the shoot. Shows you that being a model isn't just a matter of winning the genetic lottery.
posted by yoink at 10:01 AM on February 19


Which one?

Huntsville for me too, '96. The zero-g thing was an add on thing I remember. I too was on a scholarship and got lucky.

I actually nearly got kicked out of space camp because there was this big competition where our groups had to build these lego models of martian space bases, and for ours we basically built too giant mountains with lego nipples on them, put a small structure in between and said it was a hooters, and then spelled out 'hooters' on the side of the 'mountain' like the Hollywood sign. And that's all we did for ours. 11 year old boys - not even once!

(They made us redo it, and so we called our new one Self Reliant Experimental Town: Too Hazardous, or SREtooH, so jokes on them still mwahahaha)

ColdChef, that picture is awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:21 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


our groups had to build these lego models of martian space bases

Crazy, we did basically the same thing except it was underwater research bases and we had to build them underwater using what was basically a weighted erector set and incredibly cumbersome space-like suits.
posted by mediocre at 1:49 PM on February 19


Also, ColdChef definitely wins the Space Camp photo contest.
posted by mediocre at 1:55 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


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