The "Apollo 11" Documentary Is A Meticulous Reconstruction of Lunar Footage

The critically acclaimed documentary is on its first television launch since showing in cinemas.
Chris Young
Buzz Aldrin setting foot on the moonNASA

Last night, the extremely well received "Apollo 11" documentary premiered on television on CNN. It will air again on the news network on June 29 at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. EDT.

The film, edited and directed by filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller, is the result of over two years of meticulous examination of old NASA archives, to bring the first successful lunar landing to the screen. 


Never-before-seen footage

"Apollo 11" premiered in cinemas on March 1, 2019.

50 years since the moon landing was a success, the documentary is being shown on CNN, as well as at science centers and museums around the globe.

It has even been uplinked to the Internation Space Station for the crew there. 

Large parts of the documentary were developed from newly-discovered 70mm footage as well as 11,000 hours of audio recordings that hadn't previously been seen by the public.

Miller and his team used a new technology developed by Final Frame production company to transfer the film into stunning 4K, 8K and even 16K high-resolution digital formats.

The film will also be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and video on demand by Universal Pictures.

Audio and video sync discoveries

Perhaps one of the reasons that some of the NASA archive footage didn't see the light of day for 50 years is that corresponding video and audio files were archived separately. This made it an extremely challenging undertaking to present the footage to the public.

"There wasn't a really efficient way to sync sound back then, and it didn't really make sense. NASA cameramen were really there to capture b-roll, basically," Todd Douglas Miller said in a CNN interview.

So Miller and his team painstakingly matched audio to its video footage and found some fascinating insights into the Apollo 11 astronauts along the way. Most of all, Miller notes, it gave a real sense of the passion and excitement felt by military men who were used to being all about the mission.

The "Apollo 11" Documentary Is A Meticulous Reconstruction of Lunar Footage
 Source: NASA

"Neil Armstrong has been asked in interviews, 'What was your most idyllic moment from the mission?'" Miller told CNN.

"And it wasn't stepping foot on the lunar surface, it wasn't getting home safely. It was seeing the moon about 100,000 miles out and seeing a solar corona happen. And you hear that when you hear the onboard audio from the astronauts, you hear them describe that."

To anyone who's dreamt of going to space, or who wants to marvel at the technological achievements of humanity, catch a viewing of "Apollo 11."

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