Kevin P. Sullivan
December 12, 2017 at 12:11 PM EST

This summer at the movies featured all of the usual sights of a blockbuster season. There were explosions and aliens and some planets got destroyed. But maybe the most spectacular spectacle was seeing what happened when Christopher Nolan strapped a big-ass camera to a plane.

The aerial sequences in Dunkirk were pure cinematic bliss (and also severely panic-inducing), and now, in an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, you can see how the effect was achieved. It turns out the best way to capture that image is to actually do the thing.

While the footage was the result of actually putting an IMAX camera on the wing of a plane, there was some movie-making trickery involved with the aircraft themselves. Those weren’t actually Spitfires that we saw Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden in, but planes retrofitted to look like the classic fighters.

Dunkirk is currently available on digital platforms and hits Blu-ray on Dec. 19.

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