— Mystery Science Theater 3000
In any given television show or movie, if there is a scene in space, there will be one of the following:
- A shot of a satellite orbiting the earth, with varying degrees of realism, often with a blinking light accompanied by a synchronized beep.
- A shot of a shuttle or other spacegoing vessel (starship, shuttlecraft, shuttlepod, space station) with audible engine sounds, which are almost always a low, almost subliminal rumble.
- A shot of the planet spinning.
- Shots of approaching spaceships will almost always be from slightly below, as this makes for better composition. By the same token, departing spaceships will be shot from slightly above.
There is almost never a shot of just the stars, unless it stems from—or goes to—a shot of somebody looking up at said stars from the ground or a spaceship window. (Exception: The Star Wars films always open with a shot of nothing but stars that pans to a spacecraft in flight—and in the first three, one of the ships shown was always a Star Destroyer.)
Expect to see these shots a lot; often the effects crew would make a variety of standardized shots at the beginning of production and composite in the planet-of-the-week to save costs.
See also Distant Reaction Shot.