In Infinitude, abstract, geometrical shapes condense into stars, which explode into supernovae, sending an asteroid careening through space towards a nascent Earth. The mixed media short film is the creation of Canadian filmmaker Scott Portingale.
Portingale shot all the visuals in camera using a variety of techniques: time-lapse, stop-motion, light painting, and high-speed photography. He used real, practical effects rather than CGI to create his eye-popping visuals. A rotating fan motor mounted with lights simulated a black hole, while cloud tanks to create those smoky, fluid effects.
He drew a galaxy on an illuminated piece of glass with sand, salt, and spices, and fluids to simulate nebulae. And he found inspiration in his habit of listening to science lectures while working. As Portingale told Vue Weekly:
I wanted to use visual representations of gravity, and fluid dynamics because their patterning speaks to the forces that bring form and animation our surroundings. When you look up into the night sky you see an ocean of blackness and islands of spheres of energy, light and matter. It seems that large amounts of anything will organize itself into the spherical archetype as gravity and the fabric of space pulls/pushes everything to a centre point.
The film debuted earlier this year as part of an immersive exhibit called “Look Up” at Ortona Armoury in Edmonton, Canada where Portingale is the artist-in-residence. Portingale wanted to replicate the stargazing experience, so visitors would enter a black box and lay back on Astroturf in the dark, gazing at the film playing on the ceiling.
You can see all the gory details of how he pulled it off at Portingale’s website, including two behind-the-scenes videos. Or you can just let yourself be mesmerized by the finished product.