SCINTILLATION from Xavier Chassaing on Vimeo.

When we talk about “digital” process, it’s often mixing real, physical techniques that can make all the difference. In sound, that may be sampling real sounds, or building your own speakers, or finding physical interfaces. In visuals, it’s finding ways of doing things in the domain of actual light and not just digits.

Xavier Chassaing’s “SCINTILLATION” may wind up being the most beautiful minutes of motion footage we see all year. It seems not a single frame was shot as motion – instead, it was pieced together from some 35,000 photos. That allows for tightly-choreographed depth of field focus shifts that should be impossible, and sudden movements that make it seem as though the very universe is quaking around the fame. It’s stop motion, technically, but a unique kind of stop motion still life.

That’s beautiful enough – and then the orchids seem to be invaded by magical fire fairies. Particles explode into surfaces thanks to even more technically-precise projection mapping, painstakingly painting objects in the film with motion animation. Mathieu Calet did the work on the effects, which remain simple and elegant enough that the orchids and molded ceiling become an even more active canvas.

On top of this, the score is exquisite, the work of fedaden. (It’s well worth checking out his other stuff – I may be coding and editing while listening to more of it.)

The resulting piece seems to have slipped into our world from some other, very gorgeous dimension. It’s a challenge and an inspiration to everything we’re doing. To the whole team, thanks.