See a Microscopic Universe Unfold in Vivid Detail

Anyone who has ever peered into the bacterial world through a microscope knows that these lifeforms exist in a realm that is almost a universe unto itself.

German photographer and filmmaker Roman De Guili, who works with a Panasonic GH4 (4K) camera, macro lenses and other gear, explores this idea quite literally in his STREAM: Explore the Unseen video. It's the second episode in De Guili's essay series on macro cinematography.

STREAM - Explore The Unseen from Roman De Giuli on Vimeo.

"The idea of this piece was to stage the genesis of a tiny universe, which only exists for a very short time on a glass plate and then dissolves into a messy stream of oil, ink and water," writes De Guili. "The universe itself needed to appear as a well defined, glowing and shining phenomenon which reminds the viewer of a look through a telescope. The atmosphere full of stars, planets, clouds and fog emerges from huge colorful streams, forming balls and bubbles."

"Their surfaces reflect the background pattern, giving the objects quite a three-dimensional look and feel," he adds. "The space expands more and more into the depth, until upcoming star bursts make the whole system collapse. The illusion decomposes to a dark splash of substances and disappears as fast as it came up."

As De Guili notes, the areas seen in the short film are only a few square centimeters in size, and often smaller than a coin. On the other hand, the streams of liquid and the interaction of fluids are invisible to the naked eye, which De Guili captured with a 1:1 macro lens and "some very bright red lights".  The beginning of the video serves as a documentary of sorts, with De Guili preparing his materials before turning on his camera. 

All told, it took De Guili 70 hours to film STREAM: Explore the Unseen. And for those wondering if he tweaked the 4K footage in After Effects or with CGI, De Guili said he only edited, speed-ramped and color corrected the footage in establishing his "organic... truly reliable cosmos".

Follow Roman De Guili at Terracollage.