ants in my pants | title image august 2011

biocreativity | august 2011 title from h. gillespie on Vimeo.

Each month I’ll be creating a new header image and short film for the biocreativity blog. As you can see above, the August 2011 biocreativity blog header image and accompanying video are finally here! I had lots of fun making this one, but I want to give you a chance to guess how it was done. The ‘making of’ video will be posted in a couple of days, so get guessing!

One hint: fire ants! Many thanks to Dr. Rob Plowes and Dr. Larry Gilbert and the hard-working crew of the Fire Ant Lab at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin, TX for generously providing red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) for this project!

nature time-lapse

I really enjoyed reading about (and especially watching) Neil Bromhall‘s oak seed time-lapse featured yesterday on New Scientist’s Time-Lapse Tuesday.  How come I didn’t know about Time-Lapse Tuesday yet!? I mean, really, what kind of rock have I been living under? I have always been somewhat of a time-lapse junkie and am usually left in awe of even the most basic of time-lapse projects, which allow the often “slow” pace of nature to be visualized and appreciated by us humans.

I know I’ve got a long way to go before my work is quite as good as that, but time-lapse is very fun to try. Here is my first time-lapse title page that I made for the biocreativity blog, and I plan to have a new one each month which you can view on the biocreativity vimeo channel:

biocreativity | july 2011 title from h. gillespie on Vimeo.

Of course, technology is always evolving and allowing filmmakers to do some pretty amazing things. I mean, have you seen the incredible stuff the BBC Nature crew has been up to (covered a while back on Moving Image Source)? You can see some of their amazing footage on the BBC Nature Video Collections site. Unfortunately I can’t embed these because I’m not in the UK, but here are links to a couple of my favorites. The first is a six month panning time-lapse of a woodland, and there’s a great documentary about how this was done at the end of the Life episode in which it is featured. My other favorite is of the Antarctic marine invertebrate scavengers. The incredible thing about this one is that it can help inform us about behaviors of these animals that would be hard for us see if we just sat around McMurdo Sound freezing our butts off. Here is one I found that I could embed, about tropical plants climbing to the forest canopy to get sunlight. Amazing!

See why I put my humble little time-lapse before these? Incredible! You don’t even remember having watched mine after seeing those, now, do you? Hopefully, you can see why time-lapse is one of the most compelling media for educating others about biology. Time-lapse not only brings “slow” nature to life, but is also inherently impressive for the amount of time and energy it can take to produce a good one. You might also enjoy Wired Science’s Top 10 Time-Lapse Videos that Show Nature at Work or Mashable’s Nature in Time-Lapse: 10 Awe-Inspiring Videos. I hope you enjoy and share time-lapses that you’ve come across (leave a comment below with links to them!). Maybe you should also try making one yourself in whatever system you work on or enjoy. It’s very easy now with just a camera and either Mac or Windows movie software. A quick web search for “make time-lapse video” will result in plethora of tutorials and advice. Adventure Journal, for example, has a good article on making your own time-lapse videos. You can even use your iPhone! There’s a good tutorial on the iPhone app TimeLapse at Digital Urban. Go ahead…your video just might blow someone’s mind!

Link

Here’s some humorous biocreativity for your Tuesday evening. Thanks to the Bug Girl for posting this on her blog (which quite often features biocreativity).

I had no idea that when bees were doing the waggle dance, they were actually booty krumping. Shake it like a bee, girl! BTW, the dancing beekeeper footage was lifted from this much more obnoxious Autotuned Bee Song.  The one redeeming feature is I’ve never seen a rasta dude in a bee suit before. … Read More

via Bug Girl’s Blog