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To the Voyagers Case Study Page. Here you will find information regarding my creative process in making the film.

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A Short Film Case Study by Santiago Menghini

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A case study breakdown of the creative process in making Voyagers!

SYNOPSIS

Travel along with Voyager spacecrafts through their planetary expedition spanning over three decades.

ABOUT THE FILM

The film VOYAGERS is a short animated tribute to the NASA Voyager space program. The film takes a poetic approach to the literal history of the mission by fusing the sounds, images, and archival footage associated with the crafts. The short film serves as a reminder of our accomplishments in space exploration by focusing on what we have managed to achieve through the ambitious Voyager program.

The film also showcases the images and sounds of our solar system through the real photographs and plasma frequencies received by the voyager crafts.

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FOLLOW THE PROJECT

Voyagers Facebook Page

CREDIT

Santiago Menghini

Official Website

Voyagers

OBJECTIVE

The plan for this page is to briefly go over some of my creative process in making of Voyagers. This site will glance over the material with the ambition to inspire curious onlooker to investigate further. This is not a lesson on the mission or what it means but rather a reflection on the making of a short film. At the end of this page I will include some references to help propel your curiosity in the right direction. I also plan to update this page progressively as time permits. 

WHY THIS FILM?

It is hard to pin-point the exact moment I decided to pursue this project – but it is easy to see why. The simplest explanation is the material itself. I love the mission and the story it tells. I think it is inspiring and wonderous. Once you learn about it – the more you want to dig deeper into its journey and history. I won’t be going into the detail, but I hope this can serves as an interesting reflection on my creative workflow.

FILM & BOOK INSPIRATIONS

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If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.

- Translation the Hopi Prophecies sung in the film

Koyaanisqatsi is a film I truly adore. It is personally one of my favorite films. The power of imagery and music is clear – and serves as an example of cinematic beauty.

Watching this film stirs many emotions and absolutely fascinate me. The introduction alone speaks volumes and can have a direct parallel to the intro of my film. I highly recommend anyone who has not seen this film to watch it. Along with any Godfrey Reggio or Ron Fricke film.

Film Excerpts
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For we are the local embodiment of the Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars […]

- Carl Sagan – Cosmos Book

The Cosmos series is simply great! You learn while being simultaneously fascinated. Carl Sagan’s smooth demeanor, pace and clear manner of speaking – makes the series a pure joy to watch. The Cosmos Series, along with Carl Sagan helped make space accessible. Carl Sagan also helped to ingrain the public with a love for the great unknown like any other before him. If you haven’t see the original series – do yourself the favor and watch it.

Also, I highly recommend Carl Sagan’s book of the same name. It delves deeper into subjects the TV series didn’t have time to explore.

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Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot is a book that just makes you imagine. It makes you love the ambitions of humanity while simultaneously serving as a cautionary tale.

This book is a easy and powerful read. There is a reason it is almost constantly quoted. Simple type Pale Blue Dot on your search engine and you be inundated with quotes from the book. Many of which – can give you shills reading them. A great book to have on your shelf – and more over a great book for any sci-fi enthusiasts.

THINKING IN TIME

The structure of this film began early one. Since I would be animating much of the material I did not want to work on unnecessary or redundant content. I did not have a script but rather worked of a simple shot list and crude storyboard.

The image to the right demonstrates my thought process in the construction of the film. I mapped out a timeline of the film – each section by scene and design. Then I mapped an adjacent emotional timeline – to help put me in the perspective of the viewer as the film plays out. I wanted to create a sensual experience to the material and took the time to reflect on how each scene affected the next as well as how each scene has their own specific agenda.    

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MOOD BOARD

Follow the link to a collection of images, that served as my inspiration during the creative process of making VOYAGERS.  

Creating a mood board is a process I always rely on in helping me stay on track as well as help in creating the desired aesthetic of the film.

Creating the mood board started early in the process and pre-dated the concept of the film. I always collect imagery, music, and other materials for all my projects. I simply gather imagery throughout my day to day business. If something catches my eye or relates back to a concept I am developing I add that image to a collection/folder. Surely and slowly, the folder fills up with imagery that almost always instantly inspires me.

THE WONDER & THE FRONTIER

One element of the Voyager Missions that is extremely powerful is the sense of wonder it creates. It is a story of two craft that travels into the abyss – beyond any frontier we can endure. It is easy to romanticize these ideas and the Voyagers are a beacon for the imagination. The sense of an unknown is powerful and propels use to ask questions. It too serves as a reminder of how provocative a tool wonder can be and how it can serve to enhance a story.

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GALLERY

One sequence I am particularly fond of is the overhead landscapes of earth. It is one of my favorite parts while working on the project. The concept was to introduce the earth in a more natural state and return to it later with how humanity has transformed it. Here are a few images below.  

*Still images from Voyagers short film.

THE GOLDEN RECORD

A lot can be said about the Goldren Record. It is a fascinating project in the mist of a technical challenge to reach the outer planets. It is hard to start discussing the record without going into detail. For now, all I will recommend is that you listen to its music and sounds – and look at the images it contains.

THE MUSIC

Carl Sagan, F.D. Drake, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Jon Lomberg, and Linda Salzan
Voyager: Golden Record - Music From Earth
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THE SOUNDS

NASA
Golden Record - Sounds of Earth
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THE IMAGES

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CREDIT
THE GOLDEN RECORD: Murmurs of Earth – The Voyager Interstellar Record.
Containting the sounds, music and images of earth.
By Carl Sagan, F.D. Drake, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Jon Lomerg, and Linda Salzman. 

THE POWER OF A LETTER

Politics aside this letter is a beautiful and romantic gesture by the former president of the United States. I remember reading it for the first time, and being astounded by its ambition. It is hopeful and inspiring while also being a reminder of our simple fragility and humanity. And let us not forget, this is on the voyagers…

  • THE LETTER
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    *Letter written by 39th President of the United States .

CONCLUSION

I hope this short case study is somewhat insightful into my creative process. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks for taking the time!