Artist Films a ‘Supernova’ With Just Ink and Water

December 30, 2016 5:00 am
(Thomas Vanz/Vimeo)
(Thomas Vanz/Vimeo)


When a star explodes, it shines brighter than billions of stars before imploding and forming a black hole. Called a supernova, this dramatic event was only visually documented for the first time ever this year. NASA used its Kepler telescope to capture the 20-minute-long supernova (see here). Inspired by this, one French filmmaker set out to film a supernova of his own—only it’s his own creation.

Thomas Vanz created an artist’s interpretation of a star’s death, examining the patterns of supernovae and experimenting with different mediums for several months in order to create Novae, his short film (below).


For Vanz and his team, the short film was an attempt at creating “something big from something very small.” With the water representing space and the ink subbing in for water, Vanz dropped the liquids into a lit fish tank and recorded numerous takes. To create the stars, the team filmed black ink splattering on a napkin before inverting the colors with software. Smoldering embers were used to create the effect of a star’s surface.

Novae is a stunning feat of creativity and patience. Describing his film as a “cosmic poem,” Vanz says it introduces the viewer to “the nebulae’s infinite beauty.” If you’d like to learn more about how the effects were produced, watch the two videos below. Learn more about Vanz and his work here.


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