How to make Dry Ice Comets by Shanks FX

11/17/2015 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments


Follow-up to their "Creating Dry Ice Comets" episode where Shanks FX show the step by step process of how to create your very own comets.

Here are the key 17 steps...

1) Choose a shallow water container. a. Glass Picture Frame b. Upside-down Aquarium

2) Apply water sealant along the edges to prevent your shallow pool from leaking. (hot glue even worked for me)

3) Provide a black backdrop. (I used a black floor mat)

4) Position camera directly above subject with a C-Stand or 90 degree tripod. (don't forget to add counter weights / sand bags)

5) Create a dark environment. ( I use cardboard and black sheets)

6) Make sure surface area is level. (You can even download the "iHandy Level" app and use your phone)

7) Position a spot light at the same height as surface area.
Try to illuminate the top layer of glass and nothing else.

8) Use a dark object to block unwanted spill from spot light.

9) Evenly pour water on glass, creating a thin pool of water 1-4 cm deep. (you can make your pool deeper if you plan to use bigger pieces of dry ice)

10) Acquire dry ice from local grocery store. (Harris Teeter is the store I go to here in North Carolina. I have bought dry ice at a Ralphs once while in California.) The giant block of dry ice weighed around 9 pounds. Cost at around 9 dollars.

11. Put dry ice in a cooler on-top of a rubber floor mat. (I used an old floor mat from a truck) Always leave cooler slightly cracked to prevent a buildup of pressure.

12. Put on protective gloves and goggles when working with dry ice.

13. Proceed to break dry ice up into small pieces.

14. Put broken pieces in plastic bag and break up into even smaller pieces.

15. With needle noise pliers, try and pick out a thin piece that is roughly 1-2 cm in diameter. (the thinner the better)

16. Drop dry ice into water. A smaller piece will sublimate faster and have more movement.

17. To get the smaller pieces, crushing the dry ice with your pliers is an effective technique but this can cause small pieces to shoot out in all directions.

Always protect your eyes, lens, and camera by covering them up.

Music by: Big Fok

In Association with: PBS Digital Studios

Video and text via Shanks FX



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