Special camera technique casts alcohol in new light

When you're a global drinks giant then you want your company's offices to impress.

With that in mind, Diageo – the company behind brands like Guinness and Smirnoff – asked Sedley Place to produce a bespoke reel of content to be used on LED screens within the main atrium, bar and meeting hub at its London HQ.

The reel needed to act as a visual extension of the Diageo brands and the ambient content needed to complement the building’s interior style.

Sedley Place knew the visuals had to stand out and really grab people's attention. So they did something a little different, by using borescopic camera technology: a technique often used for shooting environmental and biological subject matter but rarely, if ever, for commercial purposes.

Extreme close-ups

The borescopic technique enabled Sedley Place to capture flowing liquids at a detail far greater than macro and at an increased frame rate of 120 frames per second.

This allowed for extreme close-ups that move at a super slow speed. The results can be seen in the video above: elegant and abstract footage of gin, lager and whisky that no passer-by can ignore.

"Borescopic refers to the camera lens itself," explains Sedley Place's David Strudwick. "Essentially, it's a long tube of lenses which apply a high level of magnification to the image. We shot on an ARRI Alexa in 16:9 format, at 120 frames per second."

Lighting challenge

The real challenge of shooting with such a lens configuration comes about when lighting the scene, Strudwick adds.

"Every level of magnification requires a multiplication of light in order for the camera aperture to open the appropriate amount," he explains. "To achieve this level we used a 4K lighting rig with a complex series of reflection cards and diffusers to evenly spread this intense light across the scene."

The captured raw frames were compiled, composed and edited in the Adobe suite, with the final grading of the footage done in Speed Grade.

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.