Blood in the Water
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Blood in the Water

Blood in the Water

Blood exploding from the surface of water in to the air. At least that’s the intended effect 🙂

Actually, this is a video of red food dye dumped in to a tank of water, and then flipped vertically.

[vimeo clip_id=”32357723″ width=”580″]

The tank is an 18″ wide by 12″ high (and deep) fishtank, which cost around €55 inc. shipping withing Ireland, from It was the simplest fishtank I could find, with just the glass box, rather than any fancy things like lighting or oxygenators.

The tank holds around 24 liters, and as you can imagine, took quite some filling. I used a 2 liter jug to do the job, and filled the tank in situ. 24 liters of water means 24 kg in weight, so you don’t want to be moving this thing after it’s been filled. For that reason, holding a tank this big under a tap and filling it is a non-starter.

I placed the tank in a large tent before filling, which made the job of filling even more tedious 🙂 The idea of the tent is to avoid reflections on the glass of the tank when shooting. I want the glass to be so transparent as to effectively not show up in the video. The light tent allowed me to put continuous daylight lamps behind and to the right of the tank, without getting “hotspots” or reflections of the lamps. I did the shoot in a darkened room in the evening, again to reduce reflections.

I used the white background cloth that came with the light tent, which in retrospect was a mistake. Because I couldn’t light the background from the front, every wrinkle (of which there were many) was backlit and obvious. Not at all the effect I wanted, which was a featureless high-key white background. As I didn’t have enough lamps to light from the front, the “blood” wasn’t well-lit as I would have liked. That’s something else I’ll change next time.

I shot at 60 fps at 720p using the Canon 550D (T2i), and carefully maneuvering my arm around the camera, I dumped about a teaspoon-full of red food dye in to the tank. When I was looking at the footage later, the folds in the background cloth were very distracting (to my eye at least) so I decided to take advantage of the splash effect at the very beginning by flipping the video and playing it upside down. This (sort of) gives the effect that blood is exploding out of the surface of the water and slowly creating a red cloud in the air.

[vimeo clip_id=”32357749″ width=”580″]

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