Fractal Zoom of NYC

Just back from the cinema having seen Limitless, the new Bradley Cooper movie about a guy who (down on his luck) takes a pill that opens up his brains potential to 100%

The film was pretty good, some great ideas and a neat plot, but the thing that stayed with me was the cinematography. The opening sequence uses a technique called ‘fractal zoom’ whereby the camera continues zooming in and in and in and in, in an infinite zoom effect. Hard to explain this so better watch said scene on YouTube to understand. Note how the camera flies in through taxi windshields and under scaffolding poles in one continuous zoom, an effect which should be impossible. The camera trickery is explained here in an interview with the FX guys.

Video at Vimeo

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joan Jenrich
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 01:24:01

    Interesting how they did that opening continuous tape. Did Limitless have something to do with fractals? I never understood fractals. That and string theory go in the category of “have no idea what they’re talking about.”


  2. paulmcd
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 01:35:06

    Haha – Hello Joan,
    The film had nothing to do with fractals per se, but I guess the cinematographer saw the idea of being limitless with oneself and showed that by having infinite zooms illustrating the potential of going beyond and beyond and beyond. It was a good film too, I reccommend it if you have a spare couple of hours.
    Don’t ask me about string theory, I have no idea!!!


  3. Joan Jenrich
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 04:08:55

    Thanks, I put Limitless on my “saved” Netfllix list. So when the dvd is released I’ll get it.


  4. Sharon
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 13:18:39

    Clever… really want to see this film. Is it deliberate that the name titles are back to front? The new Jake G film ‘Source Code’ looks good too. Finally some films with a bit of plot and effects other than bloody vampires or wolves! 🙂


    • paulmcd
      Apr 06, 2011 @ 21:42:57

      It is very clever isn’t it! It’s live action as well not just a zoom in on a still image. If you watch carefully there’s people walking about and cars moving.
      The film was pretty good, very stylistic, with some tongue in cheek humour. Source Code is next on my list too. Empire gave it 4/5 (same as Limitless).

      Btw, the video is flipped back to front because it is uploaded on YTube and they don’t like any snippets from films on their site. If you flip it their technology doesn’t recognise where it’s from. Bit crefty, but it’s only up there because I want to appreciate the artistry.


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