'Chromaticity' Video Is a Magical Flight of Practical and Digital Effects

I'll be the first to say it, smoke bombs are usually too Tumblr for my taste. Generally you see them with a moody girl looking off into the distance in some backyard forest. I never got the point of those images. But I found myself mesmerized by "Chromaticity"; the smoke bombs were alive, more like wayward spirits hovering above the big blue. I was so entranced it took me half of the video to realize they were attached to drones, and the drones were nowhere to be seen. 

You may recognize Paul Trillo's name from his other recent work "The Irrational Fear of Nothing," which you should seriously take 10 minutes and go watch it, it's beautiful. "Chromaticity" isn't a narrative, but still just as beautiful. There's something about that smoke hovering above the water that is reminiscent of the Golden Goddess from Zelda. But how on earth is the smoke flying in such beautiful patterns? Trillo rigged up four DJI Phantom 3 Standard and Phantom 3 Pro with different color smoke bombs, and followed with DJI Inspire 1 and Aerobo X8 to film their flights. Check out the behind the scenes below.

Trillo was able to tediously track the smoke drones movements using Adobe After Effects, but said it became somewhat automated thanks to the program's motion tracking masks. He told me that once he digitally removed the drones, it became very surreal and hard to understand. Many people after watching just assumed the trails were all created digitally on the computer. Ah, the magic of well done special effects makes for quite the magical video. 

You can follow Trillo on his Vimeo page or Twitter.

Chelsey Rogers's picture

Chelsey Rogers is a commercial video editor. She's done work for Walmart, Hallmark, and many other Fortune 500 companies.

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To be honest, it looks like a poorly executed particle generator FX.

Drones. Smoke bombs. Ocean. Uh, okay. Sorry, just not feeling it. But the music was pretty cool.

It is a neat concept, but I just cannot get into it.