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Monday, June 21, 2010

Bananas Kaboom!

We worked on a very fun TV commercial shoot recently, the crew was about thirty people strong and featured a three person special effects team.  They were there to make our gorgeous fruit explode, literally.  The shots involved beautiful hero fruit; including bananas, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, exploding on camera in order to portray a fruit explosion sensation.  For this part of the shoot, our carefully selected fruit was passed onto the FX team who had three large containers of liquid nitrogen.  Liquid nitrogen, LN2, is cold, really really cold: −196 °C / −321 °F.  Quantities of liquid nitrogen were carefully decanted into protected containers and the fruit was deposited into them.  Bananas, should you ever need to know, require about 3.5 minutes in order to be completely frozen and the berries significantly less.

The key FX person would then cautiously remove the frozen fruit from the nitrogen bath and quickly move to set and forcefully throw them down so that they would explode upon impact.  These actions were very fast and caught on film, however when significantly slowed down, it appears that the fruit is exploding.  Very cool indeed, and yes - pun intended!
After lunch and for the remainder of the day, we made frozen fruit drinks which we kept cold using a combination of ice, a freezer, and dry ice.  On-set talent drank the drinks for real so we kept busy replenishing, cleaning colour-correct stemware and building the drinks.

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