"It’s not at all professional, but the outcome is okay I guess." That's how Clemens Wirth responded when I asked him about the equipment he used in the making of this piece. As will become immediately obvious when watching 'Micro Empire', the outcome is very professional and more than okay. Using tiny animals as the medium, a performance is created, underpinned by a soundscape of biological noise by Radium Audio.
Wirth had done previous work using Macro lenses, but it wasn't enough, he invested in a Monocular Microscope and built an adapter for the Canon 5D markII allowing him to shoot these micro setups.
On this project Wirth used what's known as the "Dark Field" method. Light is focused at the subject, which absorbs and emits it back to the camera. This gives the resulting deep black background and self illuminated high contrast subject.
Because the microscope has a very shallow depth of field, some shots were built up with layers to recreate some crisp focus, but this was only possible when the subjects weren't moving much.
Micro Empire was self funded and took a number of months to produce, as long as it took to capture the footage, roughly an equal amount of time was spent with editing and sound design. Sound is a massive component in this piece. You can see more of Wirth's work and his methods here and here