Stop-motion, stop-animation, classic special effects, puppets, masks, costumes, props, models, sets, matts, production illustrations, production design...

This contraption, as we called it "the quasi-LIGO" (after the LIGO installation, made for scientific experiment that suppose to measure gravitational waves) is a brainchild of both my good friend Vladislav

Knezevic (who felt he needed LIGO-like device for scientific looking encounters-of-extradimensional-kind in his short experimental film "B-sides" ), and of course - me, who designed and eventually assembled the thing, in the closing weeks of 2017 for filming session just a week prior to Christmas. I usually don't get more than a week or two for designing and building anything like it, but I had time for this one!

I made this doodle on the left in the mid-summer, after Vladislav gave me first pointers. At first, I thought this "box" above is going to be all there is to it. However, I've realized soon enough that this design wouldn't fit Vladislav's specifications, for a simple reason that it should've been lower and wider, to fit the screen better. So, I've started to develop the sketches below.
At this point I've already assembled some pieces (see below), just as a mock-up but nevertheless, so I've tried to incorporate those in the design of the "box" ( exactly what Vladislav had in mind at first ).

But the parts I had and hoped to use were all too small. I started to realize I'll have to redesign the "box" with a bigger frame, if I want to use all this parts that had already fit together so compelling. And instead of making the box bigger, I tried something else: why not using existing designs, but hey! - let's make a frame around the box! Or, better yet: let's keep both boxes and put them together in a frame! Huh?

ABOVE: The real deal -L I G O examples from around the web. Needles to say - very expensive stuff
I've turned back to references: let's check it out with the real LIGO itself. The thing was, all I had so far were two sketches and some sub-assemblies, that should somehow fit together as a whole... Now, as much as I too, by that point, got hooked on mesmerising qualities of the real LIGO key elements, the make-believe scientific installation for the film in question isn't going to be about gravity at all, so I couldn't really simply copy the real thing. Lasers were a must, so were some transparent geometry: cylinders, hemispheres, and some other forms, whichever looked interesting, as well as some mirrors, lights and so on. So I made tests. Here they are:
We couldn't get the real silicate discs that are used in real LIGO, so we had to go with what we had. Not much else worked, but these above. Plexiglass discs, glass pieces, mirrors - laser passes through all this without a trace. Completely invisible. We needed smoke,at least a little bit, so that the laser beam would show. With that in mind, I continued to conceptualize and expand the frame around boxes...
Above left, top: "box" configurations; Middle: some assembly ideas; Bottom: combining boxes? Above right: early frame concept
So the frame got bigger, much bigger. The question was: could I make it within the budget? The idea was to recycle some elements already in my workshop storage, use the common metal shelf parts for the outer frame, as only vertical struts should be visible. Voila!
The basic idea has been born. But, will it resemble LIGO enough, or even at all?