"Cymatics" Music Video Uses Science to Visualize Sound

Visualization of sound frequencies using physical media is nothing new. We’ve seen it done by Martin Kilmas with his “Sonic Sculptures,” and we have seen videos in which a stream of water appears to be frozen in space (done by matching the sound frequency to the camera’s frame rate.) However, this is the first time I have seen so many of these tricks put together in such a high quality and artistically filmed video.

These experiments are part the study of visual sound, known as cymatics, and spawned the concept for the music video. Aptly named, Nigel Stanford’s “ambient dub” song titled Cymatics was actually written and recorded after the filming for the music video was completed.

A still frame from Nigel Stanford's music video "Cymatics."

The project was a collaboration between Stanford and NYC filmmaker Shahir Daud, and features six different artistically filmed cymatic experiments that visualize sound frequencies. The results are impressive. While the behind-the-scenes videos aren’t the most informative from the videography side, they do show how the team pulled off some pretty cool visual stunts for the film.

The team went through months of research, testing, and development to make sure the experiments, including a Chladini plate, speaker dish, hose pipe, ferro fluid, Ruben’s tube, and tesla coil looked great in the final film. To create solid work, you need to take your concept and develop to the point of near perfection before you ever pull out a camera. This dedication is what separates professionals from amateurs, and the results of such dedication can be seen in films like this.

After experimenting extensively to find tones that were most visually appealing for the experiments, the team pulled all of the elements together into a really solid final product. According to Nigel Stanford’s website, the film was shot on a Red Dragon at 6k resolution, but published in 4k after post production. The film can be downloaded in full 4k resolution from their website.

Check out the following behind-the-scenes videos to learn how everything came together, and read the full behind-the-scenes blog post on Nigel Stanford’s website here.


Phil V's picture

Philip Vukelich is a portrait photographer and photo assistant based in New York City developing a career in editorial and advertising photography.

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Great team, Timur killed it!

Cool video, but the experiments/effects are nothing special. You should know that stuff from high school... We even did some of them in middle school.

OK Go, there's your challenge. For your next mission, er, video, should you decide to accept it is to use a Tesla Coil.

Awesome video!