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Apollo 13 - Flames
When the ship is launched, the shot from underneath shows Flames comming from the engines and then going in reverse. The flames go back in the engines and you can see the engines as they were before they ignited.
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Phil on 03-13-2000
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Gazza writes:
This may not be a slip-up. The UK video release of this film contained a 'behind the scenes' documentary about the film. During the programme, one of the producers explained that this 'reversal' of the engine flames actually took place during a Saturn rocket launch. It was caused by a 'backdraft' (no pun intended) created during the engine firing sequence. This same effect is also seen when viewing official NASA Apollo launch footage. Of course, the easiest way to re-create this effect is to simply reverse the film.
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Scott writes:
You people at this web site should really research these "mistakes". Some are true, I'll admit that...but explosions usually vacuum into their selves when happening. Also, the documentary explains this. I hate that you try to scrutinize great movies.
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Pingpo writes:
In the DVD version of the film, there is a "making of" feature, where the special effects supervisor explains that they did not reverse the film, and that that actually happened when they fired the model's engines, although it certainly looks like it.
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Hellfire writes:
If you listen to the DVD features, you will hear that one astronaut actually asked Ron Howard (or special effects team) where they had gotten the stock footage of the launch because he had never seen that angle before. That's when he was informed that the scene was built from scratch. Indeed, the appearance of the flame reversing was a real event, not a slip-up.
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Mr. Masks writes:
THANK YOU Scott.. I'm sure some people here hate me because I'm slamming them for not finding mistakes, but rather just criticizing. Although, on the same subject of the fire, I did notice something weird.. If I'm mistaken or anyone can correct me, please do... but during the re-entry, is it just me, or is the fire you can see out the window going the wrong direction? Since there are no engines, there couldn't be any type of "backdraft," and I thought the sheild that deflects the heat is in front of the Astronauts (Meaning, when the camera shows them sitting there, they are actually facing the sheild). I may be completely mistaken, as it has been at least a good month since I've seen the movie. Could someone verify this for me?
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Scotty29 writes:
Actually, Mr. Masks, the astronauts sat facing aft, so that their backs are facing the heat shield.
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Tristan writes:
The launch pad has a roughly 40-foot trench underneath it to collect and disperse the exhaust jets from the 5 F-1 engines on the first stage of the Saturn 5. The exhaust jets come out faster than the speed of sound, causing a significant backdraft, so flame would initially appear above the pad, but the backdraft would suck it back down into the flame trench just shortly before the hold-down posts released the rocket.
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Davo100 writes:
Cuda, Rocket engines do not suck fire in, they blast it out the nozzle!!! It is true that fire needs oxygen to burn, but rockets carry their own oxygen which is injected into the combustion chamber along with the fuel. The flames going 'backwards' at launch can be explained by Bernoulli's principle; the massive downwards blast of the rocket exhaust drags down large quantities of the surrounding air with it, including the initial fire plume released at ignition.
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wl_sprague writes:
Ever seen "Backdraft"? There is one scene (in fact if my memory serves you see this effect about 4 times in the film) where the fire seems to be moving backwards. These were not digital effects, as that technology didn't exist when this film was made. They were what really happened during the piro shots of the film...forward. Just watch a camp fire or a fire in your fireplace/woodstove. Fire moves in strange ways to our way of thinking. This is especially true when you add to it the explosive effects that rocket propellant is going to give ignition. These backdrafts actually happen that way, and I believe were part of the actual footage that was shot when they did the piros for the film. There is no reverse filming or anything like that. This same thing happens on rockets, even today. It's all part of the physics of fire. You need to research before you put out a critique over some actually interesting fact about what goes on physically during an actual rocket launch...especially on a film a great as this one is.
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Cuda writes:
I also have the DVD of this movie. In the "Lost Moon: The Making of Apollo 13" documentary they tell you why this is. As most people know, fire requires oxygen to burn. After the initial burst of flame, the rocket sucks back in the flames and smoke as it is trying to gather more oxygen to continue the combustion.
1 of 10 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes

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