Stop what you're doing, set aside five minutes of your time and watch this from start to finish (no skipping around). It's stunning. Easily one of the best depictions of the aging process we've ever seen.
This is Danielle – a five-minute video by filmmaker Anthony Cerniello, who set out to emulate the aging process by "creating a person."
"The idea," he writes, "was that something was happening but you can't see it but you can feel it, like aging itself."
Cerniello's final product is an unprecedented addition to the growing body of video- and photo-projects that rely on the "portrait-a-day" style of documentation, which style was inundated by a wave of attention a few years ago with Noah Kalina's now-famous "Everyday" timelapse.
But Danielle wasn't shot over the course of a lifetime, or even a few years. The person Cerniello "created" is in fact a composite-person, a meticulously combined sequence of related, multi-generational family members who were all photographed at more or less the same time. COLOSSAL's Chris Jobson describes Cerniello's process:
Last Thanksgiving, Cerniello traveled to his friend Danielle’s family reunion and with still photographer Keith Sirchio shot portraits of her youngest cousins through to her oldest relatives with a Hasselblad medium format camera. Then began the process of scanning each photo with a drum scanner at the U.N. in New York, at which point he carefully edited the photos to select the family members that had the most similar bone structure. Next he brought on animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle who worked in After Effects and 3D Studio Max to morph and animate the still photos to make them lifelike as possible. Finally, Nuke (a kind of 3D visual effects software) artist George Cuddy was brought on to smooth out some small details like the eyes and hair.
The end product is unlike anything we've ever seen. You'll want to watch this one in HD, full screen, with headphones. And remember: NO SKIPPING AROUND. Sitting through the whole thing is worth every second. Like this, only much, much better: