Belson had studied painting at Berkeley and was greatly influenced by the films of Fischinger, McLaren, and Richter, which he had seen at Frank Sauffacher's Art in Cinema series at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Belson's exquisitely constructed spacescapes, planetary forms, and mandalic structures in films such as Allures (1961) and Re-Entry (1964) reflected an abiding interest in exploring inner as well as outer spaces.
Belson also participated in one of the first expanded cinema projects. At the California Academy of Science's Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco, from May 1957 to 1959, roughly thirty-five Vortex Concerts took place in five series. The programs featured the ongoing collaboration between Belson and electronic musician Henry Jacobs. Jacobs would program an eclectic musical program, including compositions by Stockhausen and Ussachevsky as well as selections of Balinese and Afro-Cuban tunes, which would be pumped through thirty-eight loudspeakers arranged around the room. Belson operated thirty different projection devices that played on the planetarium's sixty-five-foot dome. His mix of intensely layered real-time imagery comprised slide projectors, a kaleidoscope, rotating and zoom projectors, various prisms, a flicker machine, a spiral generator, four interference pattern projectors, 16mm projectors, and the planetarium's sophisticated starfield projector. This last item, called the Academy Projector, was a unique device capable of projecting an intensely realistic field of nearly four thousand stars.
Allures (1961) - courtesy Center for Visual Music