This is a video of which the T-1000 would certainly approve. In fact, at one point, Dan of The Slow Mo Guys actually says that the scene before them “looks like the T-1000 sneezed in a nightclub”. And he’s not wrong! In this video, Gav and Dan put gallium in a blender and use a Bolt motion control robot arm along with the Laowa 24mm f/14 probe lens to record the swirling vortex of liquid metal.
But that’s not all they did. They busted out a bunch of Titan Tube LED lights, and wrapped the blender in a colour wheel of vibrance that produces some pretty amazing psychedelic results. Even with white light, when everything’s spinning around at a few thousand frames per second it looked pretty trippy, but the coloured LEDs really take things to the next level!
Gallium is a safer alternative to mercury. It’s not quite liquid at room temperature like mercury but it does have an extremely low melting point of around 30°C, or “85 degrees orange” as Gav mentions in the video. This means that simply holding it in your hand – which is pretty safe to do – will melt it into a liquid, which is the state in which you want it to be if you’re throwing it into a blender. The two big issues the boys had here, though, are that gallium eats through metals – like aluminium – and it doesn’t play all that nicely with glass, either.
The Laowa Probe lens is basically all aluminium and glass – at the least the exposed bits – and the Phantom camera and Bolt robot arm also contain massive chunks of unknown (but probably a lot of aluminium) metals. This meant there was quite a bit of prep work to make sure everything was covered up as much as possible with masking tape, trash bags, and whatever they could find to protect their expensive toys.
The final results, though, are absolutely stunning and were well worth the effort! As well as the obvious Terminator 2 inference, it reminds me of that scene from the Matrix after Neo takes his pill and the camera goes down his mouth before he wakes up in the real world.