Helios by Juan Behrens

Helios is a short film directed, animated, and conceptualised by Juan Behrens. This was for his final graduation project at the Vancouver Film School, studying Digital Design. What’s beautiful about this piece is the way in which all of the learning over the years has come together into one piece. Creating this visually stunning video, that also has a brilliant concept and a lot of thought behind it.

For me the action starts at about one minute in, the rest is just a lead up to that. It’s hard to explain the whole point of this animation in one paragraph, so below I have placed Juan’s synopsis. Hopefully you can watch the video and link it into the written piece. Enjoy.

“Galileo was not the first person to invent the telescope but was the first to turn one toward the night sky“

During the 17th century, the Roman Catholic church believed that the earth was the center of the universe and people who tried to prove them wrong were in danger of being accused of heresy. Helios is the story of how an idea found his innovator, triggering a series of consequences in time. The date is 1609, Italy, late night at Galileo Galilei’s workplace watching the sky, studying celestial bodies focusing on the moon. He prepares to see this unexplored world with his customized telescope while some of his sketches and notes rest on the floor. After a gentle approach to the telescope, he sees the moon through it, a celestial body full of enigmas and intriguing for any human eye. After a moment, a bright light invades his scene but he does not notice it. This light resembles the silhouette of the invention, this enigmatic form splits into three muses.

These three muses approach Galileo and start touching his back, rest next to him and point to the sky. Galileo start watching the moon different, he start spotting data out from the moon he did not see before, now he seems to understand how the moon works and why. He draws what he sees, prepares himself to present this to the cardinal Bellarmine at the church proving that the earth is not the center of the universe but orbits around the sun just like the moon around the earth.

Galileo’s discovery fundamentally alters the way humans perceive themselves in the cosmos. Visually, the scene transition to schematic graphs that represent each belief, they merge and present a montage of the inventions that resulted from this epiphany.

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