A supernova is the final stage of a star’s life, a phenomenon of collapse and destruction punctuated with a colossal explosion. Thomas Vanz, director of NOVAE, created the short film as a cosmic poem to share the infinite beauty of this phenomenon. The film was created without the use of computer-generated imagery.

The video focuses heavily on light and darkness. It opens with an all-black frame, then transitions to a nebula—a cloud of gas and dust in outer space—a balance of light on the left and darkness on the right. The video’s title sits in the middle of this light and dark balance, and is a strong serif font, with the letter "e" italicized on the end. There is no dialogue, and the music creates an epic, cinematic feel.

The camera rises, and we travel with it through space, passing stars as if onboard a vessel. Our destination: a bright ball of light in center screen. Upon arrival, we see another nebula surrounding the light source, generated by Vanz with the use of ink droplets in an aquarium. Purples, reds, and blues dominate the nebula, all swirling in toward the light source.

The camera zooms right up close to the light source, a white and blue sphere. Again playing with themes of light and darkness, as well as the color scheme of purples and blues, the sphere sucks in everything around it. The screen darkens, and the music stops. Everything in the film has built up to this moment—the colors, the music, the light and the darkness.

With a burst of light and a pulsing sound wave, the sphere explodes, shooting star dust outward in every direction, filling the darkness with color. The star dust is again generated using ink droplets in water, creating a supermassive nebula that fills the screen. With a sudden camera change, we are back at the first nebula, finishing the film where we started—only this time, a new astrological formation is in the background.

A piece of cinematic poetry created without any use of computer-generated images, NOVAE is a must-see for fans of science, space, and supernovas. Film enthusiasts who enjoy the work of Kubrick or Nolan will find it especially fascinating.

NOVAE is a magnificent animation and commercial video.