Slow-Motion Masterpiece Captures Bags of Spices Exploding in Time with Music

It’s only January 11th, and we’ve already found a piece of slow-motion cinematography that might just remain our favorite of 2014. Created as a commercial for Schwartz Flavour Shots, this slow-motion video dubbed “The Sound of Taste” is a beautiful combination of cinematography and pyrotechnics that creates what filmmaker Chris Cairns calls “an audiovisual feast.”

To create this ‘feast,’ Cairns was joined by musician MJ Cole and pyrotechnician Paul Mann. Together, they set about deciding how to best put together a half-visual, half-auditory symphony that would perfectly capture what it is like to experience tasting something.

What they settled on was a commercial that would show clouds of spices exploding into the air in slow-motion, perfectly synchronized to the music Cole had written. Here’s a behind the scenes video describing the process:

What does flavour look like? How does it sound? These are the questions that inspired herb and spice experts, Schwartz, to create what they describe as a ‘Sonic Flavourscape’.

Several tons of black peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, cumin seeds, ginger, chilli and coriander were rigged to explode in perfect sync with a bespoke musical composition. Each explosion represents an individual piano note or chord, which when filmed at high-speed, creates a surreal three-dimensional sound scape.

Yesterday we said that if ever a video deserved the title of “mesmerizing,” Adam Magyar’s Stainless videos were it. Today we add this commercial to that list.

At the end of the BTS video, musician MJ Cole is heard saying, “I hope people just find it a satisfying, vibrant, colorful, exciting thing to watch.” If we’re anything to judge by, Mr. Cole’s wish came true with (pun forthcoming) flying colors.

(via Laughing Squid)

  • Daz

    starving people would love this video

  • OtterMatt

    Yeah, spices make wonderful substitutes for food.

  • ndroot

    Without reading who made this or what it was for, I assumed this was a Sony Bravia advert for their 4K televisions. With a high enough bitrate, I bet this would be gorgeous as a show room clip. :)

  • David Liang


  • David Liang

    Why don’t you go make them feel better.

  • Mantis

    That was beautiful.
    Reminded me of the Fountains at Bellagio a little bit.

  • Dover

    How have you helped starving people lately? Answer: You haven’t.

  • Mel

    Why waste all of that food!!

  • Chris Pickrell

    Because spices aren’t necessarily food.

  • Daz

    Yea, I gave them pepper and salt.

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    You people will piss & moan about anything.

  • Joey Duncan

    I have to wonder with the people complaining “why waste the “food” how little they get the background of this concept with the spice….

  • Max

    If you call this a masterpiece that you really are mentally twisted. Anyone can blow up stuff. A pathetic and shameful waste of edibles. Total lack of creativity and imagination.

  • Krysalis Photography

    Nicely done :)

  • Tom Gillespie


  • Oj0

    Food for thought: Starving people are more likely to love the money you waste on luxuries than spices without food.

  • Jake

    I was gonna eat that…

  • Leah Adirondacks

    Well, this isn’t smellovision, or a visitable-in-person, smell-able installation. Most of this vid could have been created with fake food. “Hardly any spices were destroyed in the making of this video.”

  • Leah Adirondacks

    tell that to the people who grow and harvest them, and make their living from their marketing.

  • Leah Adirondacks

    no, *you* will!

  • Leah Adirondacks

    Ask King Lear and Cordelia.

  • Mark Ribbands

    Lovely idea. I’m impressed.
    Looks more like compressed air via timed solenoid valves than pyro: there’s no sign of combustion products. And blowing up flammable powders in air is dangerous, as it’s likely to trigger a dust explosion. Was that really pyro? If so was the dust explosion risk considered? In 45 years of messing with explosives I’ve only seen it happen once, but it was scary enough to be remembered!

  • Scote

    I thought the same thing. It looked like compressed air to me at first, but there is no sign of the piping and dump valves needed for that. On the other hand @ 2:15 in the making of video there is a shot of them inserting what looks like an explosive charge of some sort into one of the bags from the side (it says “Medium Stage M{I couldn’t make the rest out]”).

  • MaceyJ

    Crazy !

  • Chris Pickrell

    I will. And, next time you run out of food, I suggest an experiment. Eat nothing but pepper, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and mace.

    And tell me if you think they’re viable foods.

    Food stuff maybe, but not food as we know them.

  • Mark Ribbands

    I didn’t see that video! In that case, it’s almost certainly a ‘Medium Stage Maroon’.
    Which contains perchlorate-based flash powder. So it was pyro, and you and I were both wrong.
    I don’t understand how flash maroons could be used indoors with flammable powders and people about though. Maybe there’s something I’m missing, but coal dust, custard powder, flour and so on have all caused multiple-fatality dust explosions. Whole chillies and star-anise: no problem, but there looked like a lot of fine powders as well. Scary!

  • Bob

    Nice to look at, but what a waste of expensive food…

  • Ryan Cross

    i think the pyro technics were used to trigger some type of membrane or shelf-like shift, which basically pushes the contents of the bags up vertically. So not quite exploding the food, but giving a similar “burst” effect. You can also see in the video where it appears that people are using their hands to cause the burst effects in a presumable “prototype” phase of the project. See around 1:51 of the video

  • Cpt. Marvel


  • Jules Oille

    Beautiful dance of spices – well done!

  • Leah Adirondacks

    Belatedly noticed your response. Apparently I succeeded in matching the dumbness of Jimmy F’s comment. So, thanks.

  • Leah Adirondacks

    It’s about waste as entertainment. I’m not a fan. Demolition derby, pie in the face, none of that crap.

  • Chris Pickrell

    That’s fine. It still isn’t food. That doesn’t diminish the people who grow it though. That was a false equivalence.

    I mean, people who harvest rubber for tires aren’t exactly building cars.

  • Vlad Kandinsky

    Dude, don’t be a hypocrite…
    The amount of food (lets assume its actual food and not spices) wasted here would have fed one family for a day. Not exactly what you’d call a long time.
    When a Hollywood movie build an entire film set – for example the inside of a spaceship, and then a few days later tears the whole thing down and immediately starts building a set for another movie the next day that’s not a waste…?
    Waste is the defenition of art – oil used in the paint of an artist could have been used to light an oil lamp in the home of a person unable to pay his bills, so is the production of the beautiful painting a waste therefore?
    Every time you throw away a garbage bag, or a broken clock, etc it is a waste cause somewhere a dude in a favella in Brazil could have taken it and used parts from it to build something else that he’d then sell and use the money to feed his family.
    Waste is an unfortunate by-product of life, should we start eating animals run over by a car on the side of the highway just because somewhere there is a starving person?

  • Chris Pickrell

    You know, I could make an assumption that has nothing to do with what ACTUALLY happened, and claim that makes me right too.

    I’m not going to claim that it was actual food, because it was spices. And no one could feed them selves on spices. Hell, very few people can keep a simple spoon full of cinnamon down.

    Don’t call me a hypocrite when you’re not even remotely trying to make a rational argument. You just want to be right.