Filming of Lost Pilot episode began on March 11, 2004, with soundstage shooting in Los Angeles for the scenes set inside the flight. The primary location was the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The wreckage of Flight 815 was made with a Lockheed L-1011 built in 1972 and previously used by Delta Air Lines until 1998, that after being purchased by ABC was broken up and sent to Hawaii by ship. The purchasing, shipping, and dressing of the aircraft body accounted for most of the pilot’s budget, which at an estimated $10 to $14 million was the most expensive pilot episode up to that time. Greenlighting such an expensive and risky project amidst ABC’s low ratings eventually led Braun to be fired by The Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent company.J.J. Abrams decided not to do aerial shots to avoid revealing too much of the island, and also because he felt that the different point of view could confuse audiences. Filming wrapped on April 24, Lindelof’s birthday. Extensive usage of visual effects, particularly bluescreen, was used in the pilot. One effect in particular was re-shot just before part 2 was broadcast. The scene involving a stuffed polar bear was freeze framed and mocked on the internet, prompting ABC to replace it with a CGI bear.
The pilot introduces the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, who experience a plane crash and end up on a mysterious island. Three of the characters, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), are featured before the crash in flashbacks of their experiences on the plane as it breaks apart in mid-air; this narrative technique would be reused in almost every subsequent episode of the series. The Lost pilot is one of the most critically acclaimed television pilots of all time. Both parts earned high ratings, with Part 1 breaking the record for a pilot episode with 18.6 million viewers, and the episode would later win many awards and accolades.