Producing liquid art on video
February 4, 2020
For our highly-conceptual video project for Gemfields, we wanted to create bold & vivid abstract elements to represent the mineral formation of gemstones. To achieve this look we opted for a liquid art approach; a style we’d used previously in our M3 Soundbar video project. While visuals are largely the result of random chance, these are our learnings…
We made the decision to use the Red Helium 8K, courtesy of our friends at Shoot Blue. This was a choice largely based on the ability to shoot video in 8k, giving us the flexibility to shoot wide, and then cut in to finer areas of interest. A second reason for the Helium was because of its sensor size, at super 35 and 8k, it has the most pixels per inch of the sensor which gets us as close as physically possible to the subject.
We paired the Helium with the superb Arri Master Macro 100 mm; this beautiful macro lens gave us the sharp image quality we required if we were to crop in during the edit.
Finally, we should really give a shoutout to our hosts for the week. Thanks to Hackney Studios in North London!
There are only a handful of key materials to produce the fluid paint effects of this production; a pouring medium, acrylic paints, vegetable oil and hand soap.
A matte black pouring medium mixture was used for the base, applied to a shallow ceramic plate, a secondary colour, usually red or green was then applied and allowed to form ribbons within the black base.
We then separately prepared the oil mix, comprised of 60% oil and 40% acrylic paint mixture. The paint was mixed with the oil by both pouring or pipetting to create a variety of structures, ribbons or cells.
This mix was then poured directly on to the base, to achieve the randomised reactions and effects that characterise this hypnotic effect.
Finding the movement
While the visuals themselves are stunning, this process also provides the opportunities for incredibly natural movements and reactions. We found a number of approaches.
The first was to use the pour of the oil mix as the dominant movement.
This created huge flows, and collisions, but also proved to be wildly unpredictable. While you’re guaranteed to capture some amazing results, there is plenty of action happening outside the frame. Needless to say, this is where the 8K capabilities come into their own.
We also used hand soap which causes a reaction on the surface of the paint, spreading out the colours, and causing cells to burst.
Other approaches included tipping the plate and then letting it settle, blowing the mixture through a straw and wiping a piece of paper across the surface. Each one of these created a very different type of movement and visual style.
Results on video
We’ll soon launch a super-cut of the best bits from the project.