University of Otago chemistry PhD student Dan Hutchinson
uses his flaming hand to burst and ignite a hydrogen-filled
balloon during a filmed experiment at the NHNZ headquarters
in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Flaming hands, frozen sheep brains and exploding balloons
feature in the latest advanced still and moving footage from
Dunedin, likely to be seen around the world.
Staff and students from the University of Otago's chemistry
department spent yesterday setting themselves alight,
freezing then shattering everyday objects and creating
explosions at the NHNZ headquarters in Dunedin.
A $500,000 phantom camera owned by NHNZ, just one of a few in
New Zealand, was used to capture each spectacle at 1000
frames per second.
Footage will add to the extensive NHNZ library and be
available for purchase by national and international film,
marketing and commercial companies.
The university will also use images to promote its science
department and incorporate footage into its programme for
this year's eighth New Zealand International Science Festival
in Dunedin, to be held from June 30 to July 8.
NHNZ stock footage archive director Caroline Cook said
collaboration with the University of Otago to visually
capture detailed scientific experiments and chemical
reactions began about a year ago.
"All of the footage will end up in the stock footage library
and be available for things like documentaries and, in
particular, to advertising agencies.
"That's why we are shooting in front of a black background,
so the footage can be used for any background," she said.
The challenge for NHNZ was alerting the international
community to what was available, Ms Cook said.
Its own promotion, including the use of popular video
websites, would help.
Yesterday's photo shoot was the first of its kind for NHNZ,
Ms Cook said.
In the hydrogen experiments balloons exploded on the touch of
a flaming hand and bubbles turned into balls of fire.
Silane, dry ice, iron oxalate, liquid oxygen, potassium
iodide and phosphorus were also used to dazzle.
Flowers were dipped in liquid nitrogen and shattered, before
the technique was used on a sheep's brain.
"That is the kind of thing advertisers can have a lot of fun
with, playing on things like brain freeze," Ms Cook said.
Video camera footage of the scientific experiments would
appeal to education providers, she said.
"There are people out there, big publishers, trying to reach
out to kids in schools and this kind of footage is perfect
content for them.
"We are already dealing with people in the United Kingdom,
United States, Australia and New Zealand," she said.