homeaboutarchivenewslettermembership!
aboutarchivemembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

kottke.org posts about mesmerizing

Mars in 4K

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 02, 2024

This is a video slideshow of some of the best images from the Mars missions — Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance — presented in 4K resolution at 60fps. These look amazing on the biggest hi-res screen you can find. (via open culture)

1000 Matchsticks Feature in This Epic Stop Motion Animation

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 03, 2024

Tomohiro Okazaki has perfected a very specific skill: stop-animating matchsticks in more ways than you could possibly imagine. When I last wrote about his work, I said that I wished that the 7.5 minute movie were longer and, well, I got my wish: this new one runs for an hour and 17 minutes. I’ not going to sit here and tell you that I watched the whole thing, but I did watch for longer than I perhaps should have on a day with lots to accomplish. (via colossal)

Chaos, Reconsidered: A Spectacular Flyover of Martian Volcanic Terrain

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 08, 2023

This short, relaxing, mesmerizing video of an Martian impact crater called Aram Chaos was taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The images were run through an enhanced color red-green-blue filter, which tends to highlight the structure and geology rather than the true color. For example, the blue in the video often represents basalt, an igneous rock of volcanic origin.

Iridescent Hot Water Colors

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 20, 2023

After my post about Soap Bubble Worlds yesterday, several people sent me this video of the rainbow colors that can be seen on the surface of and in the steam above a swirling cup of hot water. I was expecting a straight-forward visual display accompanied by some relaxing music (and that version does exist) but it also includes a fascinating explanation of where all these colors and swirls come from.

Scientific investigations into beautiful phenomena always makes me think of physicist Richard Feynman’s thoughts on beauty:

I have a friend who is an artist, and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “Look how beautiful it is” and I’ll agree. And he says, “you see, as an artist I can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing.” And I think that he’s kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people, and to me too, I believe - although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is, but I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions, which also have a beauty. I mean, it’s not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter, there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions. The inner structure, also the processes, the fact that the colors and the flower are evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting. It means that insects can see the color.

It adds a question: Is this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms that… why is it aesthetic… all kinds of interesting questions which the science, knowledge, only adds to the excitement, and mystery, and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.

(thx, everyone)

Space Iris

posted by Jason Kottke   May 18, 2023

Space Iris is a mesmerizing abstract video by Rus Khasanov of expanding and contracting patterns that resemble eye irises and cosmic nebulae. The description doesn’t say how this was made, but a glance at Khasanov’s Instagram account shows a bunch of experiments with liquids. You can cehck out still from the video on Behance. (via colossal)

Grand Canons, a Visual Symphony of Everyday Objects

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 03, 2023

Ok, this is one where you’re going to have to trust me and just watch it. Grands Canons is a stop-motion animated video by Alain Biet of thousands of meticulously hand-painted images of everyday items moving and dancing to music.

A brush makes watercolors appear on a white sheet of paper. An everyday object takes shape, drawn with precision by an artist’s hand. Then two, then three, then four… Superimposed, condensed, multiplied, thousands of documentary drawings in successive series come to life on the screen, composing a veritable visual symphony of everyday objects. The accumulation, both fascinating and dizzying, takes us on a trip through time.

It’s really just wonderful — once you get into it, you won’t be able to stop watching. More of Biet’s work can be found on his website or on Instagram. (via waxy & colossal)

A Soothing Hour of the Sun

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 12, 2023

Sure, the James Webb Space Telescope and ok, the Hubble, but the Solar Dynamics Observatory has to be right up there for producing some of the most jaw-dropping space photography around. This 4K video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center condenses 133 days of the SRO’s observations of the Sun into a soothing hour-long time lapse.

See also The Highest Resolution Photo of the Sun Ever Taken, A Decade of Sun, Epic Time Lapse Videos of Mercury’s Transit of the Sun, and Thermonuclear Art.

In Perfect Unison

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2023

Jon Lefkovitz has created a video montage of moments from movies and TV where characters “do or say the same thing at the same time”. As you might imagine, it’s a little bit mesmerizing.

This reminded me of Synchronized Basketball.

The Book of Leaves

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 21, 2022

As a companion to his short film LeafPresser, Brett Foxwell’s simpler and (in my opinion) more effective The Book of Leaves is a stop motion video of 2400 different leaves arranged so that each leaf blends subtly into the next slightly different leaf.

While collecting leaves, I conceived that the leaf shape every single plant type I could find would fit somewhere into a continuous animated sequence of leaves if that sequence were expansive enough. If I didn’t have the perfect shape, it meant I just had to collect more leaves.

It’s fascinating to watch the same basic branching fractal form manifest itself into so many different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’ve posted a bunch of video tagged “mesmerizing” but I think this is the first one that actually put me in a little bit of a trance.

Foxwell’s WoodSwimmer is one of my all-time favorite internet videos. (via colossal)

Swirling Ink Cosmos

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2022

There is something deeply soothing to the human brain, at least to this human brain, about watching liquids flow. A burbling brook, cascading waterfall, crashing waves. Even better when it looks like outer space, like this video by Vadim Sherbakov of wonderfully whirling colorful inks with glitter. (via colossal)

P.S. A reminder if you’re into this sort of thing, there are dozens of similar videos in this mesmerizing collection.

A Cheetah Running in Slow Motion

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 16, 2022

I don’t know that there’s much to say about this…it’s the world’s fastest land animal moving in slow motion, muscles rippling, legs moving in concert, etc. It’s beautiful and mesmerizing — time kinda stopped for me while I was watching it.

Mesmerizing Ice Crystal Formations

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 09, 2022

For his music video for Sébastien Guérive’s Bellatrix, Thomas Blanchard filmed ice crystals forming at close range and ultra-high resolution.

Bellatrix Sébastien Guérive music video is an experimental film on the crystallization of ice stars. It is a chemical saturation in hot water which is then cooled. The chemical saturation becomes very unstable when the liquid cools. The slightest disturbance in the liquid activates crystallization.

I spent hours and hours as a kid watching snowflakes accumulate on windowsills, raindrops rolling down windows, clouds rolling in from the west, and frost advance on surfaces, looking for patterns in the seeming randomness, so this is right up my alley. (via colossal)

Mesmerizing Liquid Eyes

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 30, 2021

“Abstract shots of liquid experiments that aim to mimic the visual complexity of human eyes” is what it says on the tin and I cannot improve upon it in an effort to get you to watch the video. Some of these really do look amazingly like eyes.

One Month of the Sun

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 22, 2021

Seán Doran took 78,846 frames of data compiled by the Solar Dynamics Observatory over the course of a month and made this absolutely fantastic time lapse of the Sun slowly rotating and burning and flaring. Put this on the biggest, high-resolution screen you can and pretend you’re in the solar observation room of the Icarus II in Sunshine.

See also A Decade of Sun and Gorgeous Time Lapse of the Sun. (via colossal)

Mesmerizing Matchstick Stop Motion Video

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 12, 2021

Usually when I post these sorts of non-narrative videos — in this case, a series of creative stop motion vignettes featuring matchsticks made by Tomohiro Okazaki — I say something to the effect of “I could have watched this all day” or “I wish this video were longer” because they’re often quite short. Well, this one is seven and a half minutes long and I still wish it had gone on for longer. Ok sure, you get the point after awhile, but each successive animation is just as inventive than the last that it kept me hooked.

Half a Life in 2 Minutes

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 13, 2021

For more than 21 years, Noah Kalina has taken a photograph of himself. Periodically, he makes video compilations of the photos — you’ve probably seen them here or elsewhere. For his latest video, he’s collaborated with Michael Notter (visuals) and Paul O’Mara (sound) on a video called 7777 Days.

In a first step, Michael used the machine learning library dlib (http://dlib.net/) and some custom Python code to detected in each of Noah’s photos 5 face landmarks (i.e. both eyes, the nose and the two corners of the mouth). These landmarks were then used to align the faces in all photos, so that the eyes and corner of the mouth were horizontally oriented and always an equal distance apart. After that, some small image intensity correction were applied to make very dark images a bit brighter and very bright ones a bit darker. This was followed by an upscaling of all images (where needed) to a 4K resolution.

The result is a 2-minute video (reminiscent of Jason Salavon’s work) that spans half of Kalina’s life — in the video he ages 2 months every second and 10 years a minute.

Update: Kalina and Notter explain how this video came about and how it was made.

Simone Biles, Mesmerizing in Slow Motion

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 09, 2021

Gymnast Simone Biles won her 7th US Gymnastics Championship this past weekend, further cementing her status as the world’s best gymnast and one of the most dominant athletes of all time in any sport. In her floor exercise routine on the first day of the competition, Biles absolutely nailed a triple double — that’s three twists while doing two backflips. Timothy Burke took the footage and slowed it down so that we can see exactly what’s going on in the air. And, Jesus, I was NOT prepared for what I saw. The two handsprings that set up the final move are beautiful slowed down, leisurely even. But then Biles launches herself impossibly high into the air — like absurdly and spectacularly high — and starts twisting and flipping at a speed that seems fast even for slow motion. And the landing — it’s like she was standing there all along, waiting for the rest of her spirit to join her. Watching the routine at regular speed makes you appreciate the move even more.

In reaction to this move, NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy, who has seen his fair share of elite athletes doing amazing things over the years, exclaimed: “How is that even humanly possible?” As if to preemptively answer him and everyone else watching, the sparkly leotard that Biles wore during her routine had a picture of a goat sown into it because she is the GOAT.

Simone Biles wearing a leotard with a picture of a goat sown into it

See also Who Could Jump Higher on a Trampoline, LeBron James or Simone Biles? (via the kid should see this)

Update: Physicist David Young analyzes Biles’ triple-double:

Assuming her rotation rates around each axis remain constant, to get three full flips in would require an extra 0.65 seconds, which requires a launch speed of 22.6 miles per hour, all other things being equal. This is not possible, even if we assume her max launch speed is 18 miles per hour, which is apparently her top sprinting speed.

However, if she could do three full flips, she would also be able to get in one-and-a-half more twists at her current rotation rate! What would this even be called?! What might be more likely would be to try to gain an extra half twist so that she would take off facing left and land facing right, still only completing two full flips.

(thx, donny)

Perfectly Synchronized Dancing

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 19, 2021
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Taylor Pierce (@taylor_thatdancer)

I love this short dance video made by Taylor Pierce and Jackson Myles Chavis. For me, it’s when they slide to the side and then to the back in complete synchronized motion, like they’re on a dolly. I’ve watched this a dozen times at least. And a bunch of other videos by Pierce and Chavis. Mesmerizing.

Masks of the World

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 12, 2021

This is an excerpt from a short film called Beyond Noh that cycles through 3,475 different masks from around the world — ceremonial masks, costume masks, gas masks, N95 masks, catcher’s masks, etc. The film is by Patrick Smith (I featured his video Gun Shop a few years back), who told Colossal:

To me, masks are an interesting way to view humanity. It seems to me that every culture in the history of the world has participated in some form of mask making, whether it’s for performance, ritual, protest, or utility.

Compilations like this will always remind me of this clip art movie from 2006 and, of course, Noah Kalina’s Everyday. The full film is available to Smith’s paying members on YouTube. (via colossal)

Twist, Spin, Tuck, Jump

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 15, 2020

In the second video in his Concatenation series (check out the first one), Donato Sansone edited a bunch of footage of Olympic divers, gymnasts, and track & field athletes together to make a single twisting, jumping, tucking, spinning routine that’s both seamless and completely disorienting. (via colossal)

A Microscopic Chemical Reaction Goes Supernova

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 24, 2020

This short film by Roman Hill shows a chemical reaction at microscopically close range, all filmed in a single shot over an area of a third of an inch square. The result looks like a tour of a vast colorful cosmos, a reminder of how similar the different scales of our universe can appear sometimes. (thx, cs)

Concatenation

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 31, 2020

Concatenation is a Rube Goldberg-esque video montage made up of cleverly arranged stock video footage. This is one of those things where I’m like, “ugh this is so good, why didn’t I think of this?” See also this clipart animation:

(via waxy)

Update: The music video for Cassius’ Go Up uses a similar technique of juxtaposing stock videos. (via @endquote)

Pasta Making Machines Are Mesmerizing

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 31, 2020

The machines that cut the pasta at Brooklyn pasta company Sfoglini are mesmerizing to watch.

I predict that a 10-minute super slow-motion film of this pasta cutter would easily win best short film at the Oscars.

10-Year Time Lapse of US Weather Radar

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 22, 2020

Sometimes I load up the US map on Weather Underground just to watch storm systems tumbling and swirling across the country, so this 2-hour time lapse of the last 10 years of US weather radar is riiiiight up my alley. You don’t have to watch the whole thing — even dipping in here and there for a couple of minutes is really gratifying. Can you get ASMR from a weather map? (thx, benjamin)

Noah Takes a Photo of Himself Every Day for 20 Years

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 13, 2020

On January 11, 2000, when he was 19 years old, photographer Noah Kalina took a photo of himself — and just never stopped doing that. Although he’s missed a few days here and there, he’s kept up his daily habit for 20 years. The video above shows all 20 years of his daily photos.

Six years into the project in 2006, Kalina uploaded a video of his progress to Vimeo and then YouTube and it went viral, changing the trajectory of his career and life. The project has exhibited in art galleries around the world and The Simpsons even did a parody of it.

As someone who has done one thing near-daily for 20+ years, I feel a great kinship towards this project. I’ll see you in 2040, Noah.

Update: Kalina did an interview about the project with Van Schneider:

I can basically look at any shot in this project and know exactly where I was. Certain photos provide details and I can recall who I was with or what I was up to. It’s the perfect diary for me since I’ve never really enjoyed writing.

Slow Motion Ocean

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 25, 2019

MOCEAN is a mesmerizing short film by cinematographer Chris Bryan of ocean waves crashing and surging in slow motion.

The feeling of jumping off the rocks in the dark by myself just to capture the very first rays of light hitting the ocean without another sole in sight is unexplainable, its one of the most amazing feelings ever, its like my own personal therapy.

Bryan worked as a cinematographer on the BBC’s Blue Planet II. Distracting URL watermark aside, I could have watched footage like this for another hour, especially of waves from underneath the water.

One Breath Around the World

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 07, 2019

I’ve followed the work of world champion free diver Guillaume Néry for several years now and this video might be his best one yet. In it, he explores a bunch of different waterscapes, floating and diving and walking until you can’t tell which way is up and if he’s actually in water or in outer space.

Also of note is that the video was filmed by free diver Julie Gautier, who shot the entire thing while holding her breath, a more difficult task than Néry’s. I’d like to see the making-of video for that!

Pro tip: remind yourself to breathe while you’re watching this. I found myself unconsciously holding my breath, on and off, almost the entire time. (via swissmiss)

In a Nutshell

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 15, 2019

In a Nutshell is a mesmerizing stop motion animation directed by Fabio Friedli that attempts to sum up the entire world in just five minutes, “from a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse”. This is very very well done. (via waxy)

A mesmerizing animation of the repeating elements of a medieval cathedral

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 17, 2017

I barely know how to describe this so maybe you should just watch it. Animator Ismael Sanz-Pena took a single image of a medieval cathedral and used the facade’s repeating elements to find the movement within, kind of like a zoetrope. (Ok, I guess that’s a pretty good description. I still think you should just watch it though.) See also Sanz-Pena’s earlier attempts of the same effect. (via colossal)

WoodSwimmmer, a Gorgeous Stop Motion Journey Through Wood

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 19, 2017

Engineer & animator Brett Foxwell and musician & animator Conor Grebel collaborated on this gorgeous stop motion animation of pieces of wood being slowly ground away by a milling machine. Watch as the knots and grain of the wood come alive to mirror teeming cities, spiraling galaxies, flowing water, and dancing alien worlds. Colossal briefly interviewed Foxwell about the video:

“Fascinated with the shapes and textures found in both newly-cut and long-dead pieces of wood, I envisioned a world composed entirely of these forms,” Foxwell told Colossal. “As I began to engage with the material, I conceived a method using a milling machine and an animation camera setup to scan through a wood sample photographically and capture its entire structure. Although a difficult and tedious technique to refine, it yielded gorgeous imagery at once abstract and very real. Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot, I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

Some stills from the video are available as prints.