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Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot

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40+ years later, this is still awesome.

"Slow, awe-inspiring shot of approaching underside of spaceship. Thanks to the Star Wars Act, passed by Congress in '79, it is law."
Mike Nelson, Rifftrax
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So you want to establish your Cool Spaceship's power and destructive potential? Easy! Just have it enter the screen (usually from the top) and sloooooowly crawl forward. For extra drama have the ship suddenly appear in the distance with a small flash of light after coming out of hyperspace and then slowly crawl forward.

Compare Fighter-Launching Sequence, Emerging from the Shadows.


Examples! Incoming!

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    Comic Books 
  • A non animate version of this is used in Wonder Woman (1987) when the sabotaged stranded in space vessel Diana and Natasha are on gets picked up by a huge Sangtee Empire ship. The imposing expanse of the ship coming in from "above" their tiny vessel looses some of its intimidation factor on second glance when it becomes apparent the thing looks like a misshapen whale, in accordance with the way all Sangtee Empire ships look a bit like mechanical sea life.
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    Film 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The sequel series to Armor Hero has an egregiously long shot at the start of episode 32 that takes a full two minutes. Half is spent viewing it from the classic angle (the bottom), and the other half is spent viewing it from the top.
  • Red Dwarf, particularly the epic opening titles used for series 1 and 2.
    • It's too much of an homage to Star Wars to be merely coincidental. And despite the tone of Red Dwarf the rest of the time, the establishing shot was a completely straight example.
  • Used during the premiere of Stargate Universe to introduce the Destiny.
  • A regular feature on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Notably, during the title sequence, you can see crewmembers walking around through the windows behind the bridge just before the Enterprise goes to Warp.
  • Ultraman Tiga's opening sequence features a showcase of Earth Defence Force GUTS's various vehicles (and a few shots of the eponymous Ultraman). The centerpiece, however, is the launch sequence of GUTS' mothership Artdessei, which is interspersed throughout the opening, and culminates with her takeoff just as the theme song swells into its chorus. The classic underbelly shot is the very next one, with the ocean below and the shore on the horizon. Very much appropriate, as her design is essentially a cross between a Star Destroyer and a whale.

    Video Games 
  • The Lindblum in Final Fantasy XIII makes its first appearance by slowly emerging from a huge cloud.
  • FreeSpace 2 does this numerous times, the most noteworthy being the intro. At the end of the scene, the camera pans out above the planet, where a fleet of GTVA ships flies in, including the GTVA Colossus.
  • The Opening Sequence of the first game in the Galaxy Angel gameverse features the Elsior crawling upward.
  • The ship database of Infinite Space does this when viewing ship information. It's also the victory screen after battles and the "Press Start" screen when the game starts up.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved opens with the Pillar of Autumn floating by.
    • Most of the games do this at least once, such as the assault carrier and In Amber Clad in Halo 2, and the Long Night of Solace supercarrier in Halo: Reach.
    • Halo 4 does this several times with the Infinity, sometimes with an escort fleet, and with the Didact's ship.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The first game mixes this with shots of Shepard walking through the interior on his/her way to the bridge.
    • The first scene after the Illusive Man's office in the second is the Normandy exiting hyperspace and flying towards the camera. Turns into a Bait-and-Switch when said ship is completely destroyed mere moments later. The first establishing shot of the new ship is when it is still in drydock. The dock lights gradually turn on as the camera slowly tracks down the hull of the ship.
    • Played straight so often in the third game that the times it's not used can be counted on one hand. An entire thousands-strong fleet does it in formation at one point.
    • In Andromeda, the first shot in the title galaxy is of the Hyperion exiting hyperspace in this manner and then starting the wake-up sequence after its centuries-long flight.
  • The original login menu of StarCraft II had the Hyperion over the screen and then go off to hyperspace. Apparently it goes right behind the screen and does it again. Turns into a overly long gag if you stay on the login screen for a while
  • Star Fox opened with the first boss ship emerging from the top of the screen, heading towards Corneria and dispatching fighters.
  • Continuing with the Star Wars examples, the introductory cutscene to X-Wing includes a squadron of Star Destroyers descending into planetary orbit about to attack a group of Mon Calamari Cruisers.
  • Bowser is introduced this way at the very beginning of Super Mario Galaxy.

    Web Original 


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