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Tree of life style Galaxy


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#1 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 12:22 PM

I keep hearing about how all of the "Birth of the Universe" sequence was all done in camera.  I'm curious how one would achieve the shot that is a crane up thru the cosmic dust of the arm a spiral galaxy.  I have been thinking that it would be created in a cloud tank or something.  I have yet to do any experimenting on my own i am curious where to start on this.

 

Thanks for any help.


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#2 Tim Tyler

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 12:53 PM

Search around for more of Douglas Trubull's work. He does a lot of shooting into tanks, but you know that. You'll need a high speed camera and time to experiment for sure.

 

 

http://www.theguardi...special-effects

 

 

To show the swirling cosmic soup that the universe formed from, and other phenomena, experimentation was the order of the day. The creation sequence goes from sub-atomic occurrences that stretch nanoseconds to cosmic events that condense millennia. The approach was something like alchemy: using materials more likely to be found in a hardware store than a hi-tech CGI workshop (fluorescent dyes, flares, CO2, paints, chemicals, even milk), they came across images that were unique, striking and often accidental.

 

http://singlemindedm...cloud-tank.html

 

 

A cloud tank shot starts with a big glass tank. The tank used on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) was 7 by 7 feet large, with a depth of 4 feet. First the tank is filled salt water. A thin layer of plastic is gently placed on top of this. Then the rest of the tank is filled with fresh water. Once the plastic is removed, and the water has been left to set for a while, you end up with something that looks like a single body of water, but because of the difference in density between salt water and fresh water there's actually two distinct layers in the tank now.

 

Also http://douglastrumbull.com/


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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:54 PM

Darrell,

 

I contacted Douglas Trumbull. Here's his reply.

 

The shot you are referring to (I think) was mostly performed by Dan Glass. I delivered to him (and Terry Malick) a large number of "elements" that were shot in tanks or sheets of glass, etc., which he then composited in Nuke, often combining with other elements such as actual astronomical photos, etc. It is impossible to get more specific. Our tank was approximately 4 feet square, and 3 feet deep, and we used a wide array of paints, dyes, milk, ink, etc., with numerous types of lighting, including a 2K Xenon movie projector lamphouse that allowed us to focus a lot of light through a tiny one inch diameter hole in a sheet of steel. This could represent the sun, or a star, etc., and would create beautiful beams of light through the various pigments in the tank. Sometimes these were shot at 1000 fps with the Phantom HD camera, or at 12 fps with a Red Epic.

 


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 03:31 PM

That stuff is absolutely beautiful, although as we discover, some of it is clearly composited (Whether digitally or through some other trick). A lot of the stars, for instance.


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#5 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 04:14 PM

Tim, 4ft tank square..... holy poop. I think my eyes fell out and rolled off someplace.

Thanks guys, there was alot of great information here.

 

"Shanksfx" on youtube did a nice little demo of what you can do on a sheet of glass with dye, it was really impressive and I was wondering what I could throw a little of this stuff in my reel.  Though I think that a 4'x4'x3' tank is a little more than I can chew at this point.


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#6 Mike Peters

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:45 PM

The tree of life sequence must be one of the most beautiful film effects sequences ever made. And all in a 4x4 tank. Quite inspiring.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:12 AM

You don't necessarily need a 4x4x3 tank-- it'll just help. You can do a lot with marco lenses in high speed, or through a microscope as well.

I tried this on much smaller scales (with rubbing alcohol and water) and it worked pretty ok for what I was doing. The key, though, is the smaller you go with the tank, the closer you need to get to the action-- e.g. with macro lenses.

 

With digital being so cheap, and "things" so readily availible, might as well play around. See if you can get a T3i and a used Canon macro lens and then some kind of small enclosure-- such as a small 2 and 1/2 gal fish-tank. Put the lens right up to it, and see what comes out. May be nothing, may  be something, but it's well worth a day of experimentation.


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#8 Pat Murray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:49 AM

You don't necessarily need a 4x4x3 tank-- it'll just help. You can do a lot with marco lenses in high speed, or through a microscope as well.

I tried this on much smaller scales (with rubbing alcohol and water) and it worked pretty ok for what I was doing. The key, though, is the smaller you go with the tank, the closer you need to get to the action-- e.g. with macro lenses.

 

With digital being so cheap, and "things" so readily availible, might as well play around. See if you can get a T3i and a used Canon macro lens and then some kind of small enclosure-- such as a small 2 and 1/2 gal fish-tank. Put the lens right up to it, and see what comes out. May be nothing, may  be something, but it's well worth a day of experimentation.

 

Those are some great ideas, Adrian.  How would you get a camera image through a microscope though?  Will a macro lens do it?  I'm probably not thinking outside the box enough.  I see a tiny "peep hole" for the eye and wonder how a lens could pick up what the eye sees through that tiny "peep hole".


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#9 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:54 AM

 

Those are some great ideas, Adrian.  How would you get a camera image through a microscope though?  Will a macro lens do it?  I'm probably not thinking outside the box enough.  I see a tiny "peep hole" for the eye and wonder how a lens could pick up what the eye sees through that tiny "peep hole".

Pat, you'd have to replace the eyepiece with a camera mount and go about it that way.


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:05 PM

Yep. They also sell super cheap USB microscopted with chips in them, some of them HD, on Amazon. I haven't played with them yet; but they exist.
Also something I did recently, just for giggles was put an old coke bottle over the front of my camera and spin around in my living room. I was rending out the opening of my reel at the time and the thought kind of dawned on me:

 

 

 

That's right out of the camera (a GH2) and just one of those things I may try one day for something-- who knows.


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#11 Carl Looper

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 11:27 PM

I love The Tree of Life. I think it's one of Malick's best.

 

My take on it is that God (or the Cosmos or whatever you like to call it) hears the woman's grief over the loss of her child, and restarts the Universe from scratch, but not necessarily to produce a different outcome. From God's point of view there will be no difference. And indeed the same thing does happen all over again. Or almost. For there is a very small difference that makes all the difference in the world. The second time around it's no longer God who takes her child - it is now she who gives her child to God. It becomes a definition of "grace". She becomes the equivalent of God in this moment.

 

Carl


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#12 Andrew Cammarano

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:34 PM

Cinefex magazine did a pretty nice article on the shooting for Tree of Life in the issue that came out in the months following the theatrical release (I can't remember the volume number of the issue).  The magazine is a treasure chest of information...though, of course, most things are pure cgi now, they emphasize any practical or partial practical effects when they can.


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#13 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

Thanks Andrew,

I love Cinefex.  Whenever I have a howdidtheydothat kind of moment i get that.  I just waited too long to have that moment in this case...


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#14 Chris Millar

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:53 PM

Cinefex, yes great magazine. The people covered usually withhold enough info/secret sauce to keep their jobs (or occasionally dump all, knowing they are onto level x + 1). So anyway, it can be frustrating/tantalising reading, but in saying that once you've been around the blocks a few times and can read between the lines it has enough info to give you a nudge in the right direction. Unsure why it isn't talked about more often on these forums, maybe a specific SFX forum would help?


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#15 Robert Rankin

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:44 AM

I'm doing a dissertation at the moment on Fluid Dynamics used in The Fountain and Tree of Life. The macrophotography used in these films and cloud tanks are techniques that fall within fluid dynamics. I was wondering if anyone knew of any recent films since The Fountain in 2005 that had used cloud tanks or fluid dynamics in their effects (Noah used some plates for a couple of second during the creation sequence but I cant find any other evidence in the last couple of years). Any advice would be very grateful.

 

Cheers

Rob


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