Cosmic Zoom/Powers of Ten

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1968 to 1977 on BBC1 and also ITV

And all we got Professor bleeding Popper…AND SO we come to this, made by the redoubtable NFBC, and re-done by IBM-affiliated heads a few years later, it nevertheless instantly caught the eye of anyone watching. BLUE PETER showed it once, PICTURE BOX several dozen times. Immensely memorable all the same. Produced by Charles and Ray Eames, it was originally an animated film which started with a (real-life action) shot of a boy rowing over a lake. The picture freezes, and the camera “zooms” (you see?) in on the boy’s hand, sitting on which is a mosquito. We go past the mosquito and under the skin, right through the blood vessels and into the atomic structure. Then we slow down and come back out the other way. But the reverse-zoom doesn’t end with the lake, it goes on further, showing the whole of Canada, the globe, the Earth as a planet within the solar system until we see the Milky Way. Then we stop again and zoom back in until we’re back at the boy on the lake. Then it melts back into live action and the boy carries on rowing, blissfully unaware of the mind-altering hallucinogenic experience the rest of us have just undergone. Indeed.

You might also want to see... National Film Board of Canada, The.

TV CREAM SAYS: WOULDN'T THE BOY HAVE NOTICED THE MOSQUITO?

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3 Responses to “Cosmic Zoom/Powers of Ten”

  1. B B Beyer says:

    I’m afraid you’ve got it back to front, as it were…the film actually starts with the reverse-zooming right out of our galaxy in fact into a cluster of galaxies, then zooms back into the boy, and on into the mosquito’s proboscis. I do remember seeing this a kid, but had forgotten all about it until just now!
    And here it is:
    http://www.nfb.ca/film/cosmic_zoom/

  2. TV Cream says:

    Hmm, you’re right. We plead Robitussin-induced delirium.

  3. Ideal for projecting onto a big screen while a Pink Floyd tribute band does ‘On the Run’ or (if they’re feeling brave) ‘Echoes’.

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