I was thinking of doing a similar effects test shot. Bascially where the camera starts off in space, looking at a planet, then moving towards the planet, and entering the atmosphere, and then you would start to see the ground, etc until you’re finally on the surface.
Only trouble is, if you did that all in one shot, it would tend to get pretty complex, and the closer you get to the ground, the larger, higher resolution images you would need, and possibly some 3d terrain work, depending on if you’re actually going to end up on the ground.
Only thing I can think to help you is break up the scene where you can. One trick might be to start with one scene where you see the planet, enter the atmosphere, and try and add in enough clouds so you could convincingly stop that scene and add in your next one. The next one would be leaving the clouds, showing the land (with the larger texture) and getting closer to the land. I’m not sure if there’s a way you could cut into another scene where you’d start seeing the features (like mountains and whatnot) with 3d added to them, maybe if you’re good at it you could just match the two up.
Sounds like a cool idea though, hopefully I’ll ba able to see the results of yours.