‘Powers of Ten’ – Ray & Charles Eames

The classic documentary film by mid-century modern masters Ray and Charles Eames, Powers of Ten, features an electronic soundtrack by composer Elmer Bernstein.

Bernstein is best known for his orchestral soundtracks to films like The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven and True Grit. His Powers of Ten soundtrack, though, features ‘spacey’ electronic sounds.

This version of the film is from 1977. An earlier version dates back to 1968, the same year as a very similar National Film Board Of Canada animated film, Cosmic Zoom.


Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes.

Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others.

Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds.

Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

3 thoughts on “‘Powers of Ten’ – Ray & Charles Eames

  1. OK, I had to dig quite deep, but I finally found it…


    I remember first time I saw this film, with changed order, at Sacrum Profanum in Kraków. Then I started to look for it and found this original version. Later I also discovered Gas – Microscopic. And now this is the one I recommend you the most…


  2. Like many innovative ideas, it seems like the National Film Board of Canada got there first. But it is another unique perspective from a time when the view from above wasn’t as common to us as it could be now.

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