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Once Upon a Time

   2006    Art
The power of visual storytelling is not a modern phenomenon, feature films today are using techniques developed way back in the distant past. For thousands of years, artists grappled with ways to bring their stories alive, to engage their audience. This is the story of how our ancient ancestors made the discoveries that have given films such a hold over our imaginations.
Series: How Art Made the World

The Science of Interstellar

   2014    Art
In The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, the physicist who assisted Nolan on the scientific aspects of Interstellar, shows us that the movie's jaw-dropping events and stunning, never-before-attempted visuals are grounded in real science. Thorne shares his experiences working as the science adviser on the film and then moves on to the science itself. In chapters on wormholes, black holes, interstellar travel, and much more, Thorne's scientific insights-many of them triggered during the actual scripting and shooting of Interstellar-describe the physical laws that govern our universe and the truly astounding phenomena that those laws make possible.

Avatar: Creating the World of Pandora

   2010    Art
Are you still in awe of what James Cameron did with Avatar? You still wondering how Cameron could pull off something so visually wondrous when other SFX companies don’t even come close to matching it? If you answered yes to any of those questions (or having a passing interest) then you should check out this behind-the-scenes featurette, Creating The World of Pandora

Return to Jurassic Park

   2011    Art
It walks through the making of the film, the hurricane during shooting, and how it helped change the world of special effects. All interviews for these retrospective documentaries come with comments from Spielberg, Johnston, Neill, Dern, Goldblum, the effects crews, the child actors, and Peter Stormare. This is a extra for the Jurassic Park Trilogy and is broken into three parts: Dawn of a New Era (25 min) Making History (20 min), and the Next Step in Evolution (15 min)

Fractals Hunting the Hidden Dimension

   2010    Science
The ultimate adventure in scientific inquiry, this fascinating program follows the exploits of a small group of pioneering mathematicians who discovered a whole area of study that is revolutionizing all branches of understanding in the world: fractal geometry. Fractals are most recognized as a series of circular shapes with a border surrounded by jagged "tail-like" objects. The program, aimed at the average viewer does a fine job of explaining the background of fractals, first by beginning with the story of Pixar co-founder, Loren Carpenter's work at Boeing, developing 3D terrain from scratch using fractals. From there the program starts at the beginning with an introduction to Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary work. The explanations are full of solid factual information but never talk above the level of a viewer who has some understanding of basic mathematical principles. Once the concept is presented the program spends the rest of the time showing how prevalent the fractal is in life. For a program about a mathematical concept, "Fractals" is very engaging, showing how the process was applied to special effects as far back as the Genesis planet from "Star Trek II" all the way to the spectacular finale on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III." I found myself astonished at how fractals were the source of the lava in constant motion and action during the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight. What is more amazing is when the program delves into practical applications such as cell phone antennas, and eventually the human body. For the average person who enjoys watching science related programs, even on a sporadic basis, "Fractals" will prove to be a very worthwhile experience. The program is well produced, integrating talking head interviews (including some with Mandelbrot himself) with standard "in the field" footage. The structure of the program is very logical and never finds itself jumping around without direction. In simplest terms, this is a program as elegant as the designs it focuses on.
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
The Brain with David Eagleman
The Brain with David Eagleman

   2015    Medicine
The Climate Wars
The Climate Wars

      Nature
The Mind Explained
The Mind Explained

   2019    Medicine
Speed
Speed

   2019    Technology
Long Way Up
Long Way Up

   2020    Culture
Rotten
Rotten

   2018    Nature
The Last Narc
The Last Narc

   2020    Culture