Breaking Down the DIY Visual Effects in A Truncated Story of Infinity

Paul Trillo’s A Truncated Story of Infinity considers the limitless schema of possibilities that unfold over the course of a series of moments. The eight minute film — recently featured on Short of the Week — also boasts some pretty impressive practical effects for a budget of $10,000. I asked Paul to break down the means behind each technique, which he notes may not “the correct way” to render an effect, even if they look pretty fine to me.

Hall of Mirrors at :00 “Our ‘mirror’ was just a framed piece of green on a wall. We did a simple dolly into the green so it filled the frame. The frame was motion tracked and the same shot was placed inside that mirror, rinse and repeat a ton of times until you get the desired effect. The trick was getting the speed right so that it feels like one continuous dolly move.”

Universe at :23 “The universe imagery is also shot practically using smoke bombs, cloud tanks with ink and milk and dust particles. I wanted the universe to feel somewhat analog and not entirely CG.”

Changing Clothes at 2:30 “This was probably the wackiest and crude attempt we made. It could have been shot simply in a studio or something but I wanted it to actually feel like he was outside with outdoor lighting. So we went out side and had our subject walk back and forth on the sidewalk. Following closely behind him, were two people holding up a foldable green screen. This was also all steadicam so we had about 5 people all trying to choreograph their walk cycle. From a distance we probably looked like an amateur circus practicing in the streets.”

Match Cuts throughout “This was done by placing a piece of clear plastic over the monitor and sketching out the rough composition from previous shots. You could then use the sketch as guidelines. It’s a trick I taught myself, I’m not sure who else does it but I use it all the time.”