Countdown to Powers of Ten Day
- 10/10/10 1291 days ago
Posts by david:
A view from above of the picnic set-up from the 1977 production of Powers of Ten. The site of the picnic, a golf course in Florida in the 1968 film, has been moved to a park on Lake Michigan in Chicago. The journey out into the cosmos follows a perpendicular line from the hand of the sleeping man. Changing the location of the picnic allowed this line of flight to approach the disk of the Milky Way galaxy at an approximate right angle.
Eames Office staff members Alex Funke, assisted by Michael Weiner, shot Powers of Ten (1977), frame-by-frame, over the course of a year on a forty-foot-long animation stand. In the book, Powers of Ten: About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe (1982), by Philip Morrison and Phylis Morrison and the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, Alex commented:
“Powers of Ten is essentially one continuous animation-stand truck shot. The animation was photographed in a series of ten-second moves, made in such a way that the apparent acceleration is constant. Every ten-second period begins with a big close-up of the center of a large image, and ends on a field ten times larger. At the center of each image–there were more than a hundred of them–was an inserted, ten times reduced view of the entire preceding scene, to assure continuity of detail and color. The successive moves were linked by in-camera dissolves.”
Here, Alex photographs a globe of the Earth for production art for the 10+6, 10+7, 10+8, and, 10+9 powers in which the Earth appears.
Eames Office staff members Parke Meek and Dick Donges in action
measuring the 10 meter square frame for the 10+01 shot for Rough Sketch, 1968.
This image shows the framing device and camera set-up for the Powers of Ten shoot in Venice, California in 1968. Charles is above the picnic with the reader and sleeping man, preparing for the 10+01 shot.
The first version of Powers of Ten, known as Rough Sketch, was made by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames in 1968. The picnic for this version was filmed outside the Office at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, California. Here Ray is seen setting the picnic in this production shot from the Eames Office archives in Santa Monica.
From the Eames Office archives in Santa Monica, a production image from Powers of Ten–Charles Eames shooting the hand of the sleeping man at the picnic.
Paul Bruhwiler, at the Office of Charles and Ray Eames from 1967-1968, was the man in Powers of Ten: A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and The Relative Size of the Universe, in 1968. He rejoined the Office in 1975 to work on the exhibition, The World of Franklin and Jefferson, and reprised his role in the final version of Powers of Ten, in 1977.
Charles and Ray Eames were thinking about scale and using the system of exponential powers to visualize and understand large quantities long before their magnum opus of 1977, Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe, and the Effect of Adding Another Zero (the title says it all: the magic lies in it’s brilliant demonstration of one example). Their films A Communications Primer, 1953 (based on Claude Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication, 1949), and 2n from 1961, are examples of this kind of thinking. Kees Boeke’s book Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps,1957, provided a framework for the explorations of scale seen in Powers of Ten: A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and The Relative Size of the Universe, 1968, and Powers of Ten…, 1977.