Visualist Charlie Visnic is making beautiful, compact short films, mixing meticulously-constructed, delicate music with stunning imagery. The visual side always ventures into ephemeral realms, unseen worlds and micro-photography.

For instance, behold Jared Smyth’s series Morning Music + Coffee Consumption, shot here by Charlie. That’s not just advice to the viewer: the series is shot in the mornings. (You have to have good friends – or at least good coffee – to get them going in the AM.)

In the top film, the musical personnel:

Jeff Numainville – Microkorg
Michael Goggin – Guitar
Charlie Visnic – Bass, Modular Synth
Dantes Rosete – Music Box
Inthia Seabrooks – Music Box
Rene Cardona – Percussion, Harmonica & Monome

What you’re seeing are shots of iron fillings vibrating. Charlie explains:

The visuals are macro shots of iron filings. The first shoot I just placed them on a small mirror and made them move around by waving a magnet around below the mirror.

The second day I decided to try out something new. I created an electro-magnet out of a 6-inch iron nail and a copper coil. Then I taped the electro-magnet underneath the mirror and hooked it up to my modular synth. It was pretty cool to be controlling the rhythm of the iron filings with LFO’s and envelope generators.

Charlie also has extended articles on how he makes these effects. For me, far from diluting the magic of their creation, knowing the effort that went in, and a bit of what I’m literally seeing, makes them more magical. (I have no word for it yet, but I’m noticing a divide philosophically in the world between people whose sense of wonder is accentuated by knowing how things work. Let’s call it, for now, “science.”)

Also, yay, magnets!

mm-cc 09.04.11 [detailed behind-the-scenes, with magnetism]

Digital effects are fair game, too, as in this test render working with After Effects and slitscan effects, set to music by Altitude Sickness:

It’s been a long time since I saw a slitscan project that actually surprised me. Download the project file if you’d like to try it yourself.

More in the mm-cc series:

Food coloring, oil, water, percussion, kalimba, omnichord, looping, and more. Details:

Time displacement and tunnel effects; music shared from Florida to California.

For his part, Charlie is based in Fullerton, California, and has a 12-year history as a professional editor – hence the shooting and editing chops. He writes about both on his blog, where he has done “one creative thing a day” for one year, and now routinely posts new creative things on an ongoing basis.


Sincere thanks to José Barrera for sending this my way; makes my whole week!

  • Nice stuff. Very cinematic. I love seeing that.

  • Thank you for the wonderful article Peter!  Thank you Jose for the suggest!
    I should offer up a couple of corrections in regards to certain things in the article that aren't entirely correct.  Nothing crazy, just some details I thought I should offer some elaboration.
    First thing is, on my blog, I did one creative thing a day for a year but after I finished the year I just post things now as they occur.  I'm also not documenting nearly as much of my creativity or experiments these days but I'd like to get back into posting to it more regularly.  The mm-cc's have provided me with at least a monthly regiment for posting something new.  
    The other correction is that the idea for Morning Music and Coffee Consumption actually came from a fellow named Jared Smyth in Florida.  We became friends through the fact that we were both doing "Creative Thing-A-Day" blogs.  He is currently on Day 260 as of today.  His blog can be found at&nbsp ;  

    He started the mm-cc's back in March and built the website for it, (which you so kindly link to in your article above.)  If anyone is interested in hosting they're own mm-cc and making a song and video then please do check out the site and click on the "info" button.

    The last little correction is that you mention that they are "shot" in the morning.  This is not exactly true.  The musical element is definitely recorded in the morning while we all hang out and sip our coffees but the visual element can come from anywhere and anytime.  I shot the iron filings over two nights.  The second night using the modular and electro-magnet.

    That's pretty much it.  Thanks so much posting and I'm elated that you enjoyed them!