Originally Posted by fourstringdrums
I think you're right. I spotted this while watching the video again. Notice inside the drum, you'll see what you would normally see inside a timpani, 5 or 6 "arms" that are connected to a pedal in order to change the pitch. You can see them moving up and down as he plays.
I also found on http://www.nodarrode.com/custom.html
"Max Roach asked Nodar to customize his Hollywood timpani floor tom tom with brand new shell"
I never knew that :)
Nice, dude. You seem to have it nailed. The reason I was going more for the water idea was because I feel it's hard to get that almost-unstable yet drastic sort of pitch bend (like a metal container filled with water that is tapped on the side) from just a regular timpani-like apparatus.