After about 5 month, I was able to finish my first experimental macro film STREAM. Steve Pavlovski from the Liquid Light Lab inspired me to dig a little deeper in the topic of fluids and visuals, when I saw his video tutorial on how to make a liquid light show. Basically, he only uses water, alcohol, ink and oil to compose stunning and vital visuals which develop more and more into an extremely colorful painting on clock glass. Watch his tutorial below to get a closer look.
On the one hand, I was blown away by his work and wondered why I didn’t know anything about liquid light shows earlier. On the other hand, I was asking myself how this could be done in a more cinematic way, that means getting away from the concept of a realtime projection to a filmic approach. I ended up finding myself in our basement, mixing and shaking different fluids to some sort of light show and recording this with my GH4 and an old Canon FD 50mm and 100mm macro Lens.
Right at the beginning, the first results where pretty promising, although most of my shots were out of focus due to the fact that I was not able to hit focus correctly on the small camera screen. My macro lens has a pretty long focus travel of 300°, but if you work with reproduction scales of 1:1, you need to nail focus to the millimeter and use additional tools like peaking and the in-camera magnifier. Again, I wanted to get my images as clean as possible to create visual illusions which were not unmasked by any dust or particles on the surface. I was not able to get rid of all the scratches in the glass and as soon as I had removed a grain of dust, another dozen of them showed up. So one of my early awarenesses were that a macro cinematographer needs more time cleaning glass panes than shooting video. Pretty frustrating…but I got used to it and became an expert in micro fiber and lint-free paper towels.
The boiler room sucks. What a desolate place to start a career as an artist.
After a few more trys, my setup was completed by an old external 30 inch monitor, an arrangement of led panels and a custom desk which allowed me to light my glass pane from below. I was pretty happy to finally find use for the „macro mode“ on my action module from Edelkrone, so I made the camera slide from side to side to get real physical movement and was not limited by only animating my 4K footage in post. However, it took me A LOT of time until I was able to get out of my experiments what you can see in STREAM pretty soon. I had a story in my mind, but there where so many problems in conducting my concept, that it took me countless evenings in our boiler room. Finally, I got the hang of it and started collecting footage for my project. My timeline added up more and more and one night I arranged the last drops of orange ink, bursting in a green oily cosmos with a huge shock wave. Done.
A selection of freeze frames from STREAM, copyright R. De Giuli, 2015.
Stay tuned for upcoming news, “STREAM – Explore The Unseen” will be released soon!