Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2022
Using a combination of live action, green screen and stop-motion animation, Michael, Emmett and Maxwell Dorfman give their take on what quantum physics is.
The team have designed their atom with a touch of humour. For another way to picture atoms, check out this video by minutephysics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2Xb2GFK2yc
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
My name is Michael Dorfman and I’m a union freelance Video Technician working primarily on commercials and TV shows in Los Angeles, California. My skills include live video compositing, live VFX compositing, on-set editing, video playback, and live wireless video transmission for long range viewing. My sons, Maxwell and Emmett, both 12 years old, are twin brothers in seventh grade. They are passionate about learning, love performing, and have amazing imaginations. Both Maxwell and Emmett have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and were diagnosed at the age of three. When the coronavirus pandemic came to America, the three of us began making short films as a way to stay creative and have fun during the lockdown. Since March 2020, the three of us (Dorfman Brothers Films) have created over 70 short films and will continue creating far into the future. Our vision is to inspire all individuals with (or without) adaptive abilities to create art in any form.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
My sons and I were initially overwhelmed with the vast details of quantum theory as we began our research for the film. We agreed that looking at it from the perspective of teacher and student would be a fun and entertaining way of engaging the viewing audience. As we conceptualised the visual look of the film, we changed the dynamic to a doctor/scientist teaching a kid about the basics of quantum theory. We wanted to add humour to the atom design and we agreed playing the roles of the neutron, proton and electron would be both funny and visually entertaining (and fun for us to perform!).
What makes you interested in quantum physics?
Maxwell, Emmett and I love to learn about science and the inner and outer workings of our massive universe. Breaking all of life down to its smallest elements is truly fascinating.
Please share with us an interesting detail about how you made the movie.
This movie is a combination of live action, green screen and stop-motion animation. Assembling the footage and scaling the images to match the frame was a technical juggernaut. Blending the stop-motion footage (the electron spinning) and the green screen elements (with the boys looking at the atom) took three weeks to complete (and that’s only a small portion of the entire film). We shot on my iPhone, in front of a green screen the size of a small bedsheet, with a total spending budget of $30 dollars (craft supplies for the atom design including paint, styrofoam balls and the three brass rings). Because the green screen was so small, I couldn’t film the boys talking to each other in the same shot. Filming them separately, reading lines to the other (out of frame), allowed me to composite them together during the editing process. In total, we shot the live action over four days, the stop motion over two days, and edited/VFX/music for six weeks.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
We hope the viewers will laugh and learn about quantum physics from our movie!
What is your favourite science-inspired or Sci-fi movie?
My favourite science fiction movie is Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Maxwell and Emmett are Star Wars fans.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
It literally means everything to my boys and me. We have been creating short films for the past few years, through incredibly tough times (for everyone), pushing ourselves creatively in hopes to one day reach a broader audience through our art. The fact that we made it to the finals of the Quantum Shorts film festival is truly unbelievable!
Michael Dorfman is a union freelance Video Technician working primarily on commercials and TV shows in Los Angeles, California.