Manuel Mittelpunkt

The liquid dance floor

One of my biggest passions is to experiment with liquids and taking pictures of the different shapes and effects they present. A new project I have just started is trying to make music or sound effects for the eye visual. You see, it ́s very difficult to make music visible in an image. You can ́t show it.

That ́s why I bought a big loudspeaker and rebuilt it. On the top of the loudspeaker I placed a sheet of foil. Through this the vibrations and beats of the music can easily come through.

After making out of the loudspeaker a "dance floor" for liquid colors, I poured different mixtures of them on the foil. Now it ́s about picking the right song, with of course a lot of beat. The pressure of the beat penetrates the foil and shoots the liquid in the air, which leads the liquid shaping many different figures in extremely beautiful ways.

The difficult part of this shooting is to catch the right moment, because everything happens very fast and it ́s hard to be clearly displayed for the eye. I used the Broncolor Scoro S 3200, which is perfect for such high speed shootings. I reduced the flash timing to 1/6000 seconds and this enabled me to catch the colors in it ́s sharpest and most perfect moment.

All together I worked with three Broncolor pulso G 3200j flash lamps with P70 standard reflectors. In other words: I used a lot of light in order to present the colors of their best side. For this it ́s important to place the lamps on their right positions, so that images with a lot of contrast between the different colors can be taken. The beautiful result of this technique is making the images becoming alive. Every liquid figure seems to be real, burning like fire through it ́s powerful color, with the right contrast and sharpness.

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My camera equipment was a Hasselblad H2 with a phase one P65 digital back. I also used a 120mm macro lens, in order to get very close to the colors and the action.

What ́s very important for such shootings is a good preparation. It ́s takes a lot of time and patience before you can finally get to business, because you need to make many screen tests and rehearses. Then, of course, you need to cover the rest of your studio (or at least as much as possible) with foils, so that it won’t get dirty of the colors. In such a shooting you can ́t prevent a messy job, no doubt. But you still got to be very careful that no other equipments get damaged by the flying liquids.

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All together this shooting was a lot of fun, because every result is like a beautiful surprise. It ́s so exciting to experiment with liquids. Each picture is unique and of course, special.

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