Powers of Ten (1968)

A short film by Charles and Ray Eames exploring the scale of the universe on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels.

Starting off with an aerial shot of a man and woman enjoying a picnic in Chicago, every ten seconds, a power of ten is added to the camera height. Soon enough, the camera is venturing away from the couple, showing an aerial view of Chicago, the U.S.A. and the Earth. Continuing on, we see the the sun, the solar system, the milky way, and further afield, until our home galaxy is but a speck in the centre of the screen.

Going back, we now venture into the microscopic: Starting at the man’s hand, we delve into the skin, and into the cells, and then the atoms that make them up and takes a peek at the interactions of sub-atomic particles.

This film highlights the similarities of structure prevalent in nature in terms of scale very concisely. We are guided through this journey through the microcosmos and the macrocosmos by a narrator, who explains what we are seeing during each transistion. It is a short film that allows us to marvel at the vastness and intricacy of the universe in a simple, yet thought provoking way, and is well worth a watch when you have ten minutes free.