The first NASBR Film Workshop was a success...
The North American Society for Bat Research hosted its first annual bat film workshop on Thursday October 28th. The workshop was hosted by Nick Hristov, with contributions from Louise Allen, Jesse Barber, Dan Riskin and special guest, Filmmaker Ann Prum. During the 2-hour session, the contributors spoke about how moving images have contributed to and expanded their work. In addition high-definition, high-speed and thermal cameras and equipment were demonstrated to illustrate the capabilities of each visual modality.
Host Nick Hristov began the workshop by sharing his personal experiences, first how his fascination with nature and passion for image-making combined through the lens of the photo and video camera to lead him to his career as a bat biologist. He then spoke about the different types and uses of film footage; traditional nature documentary, image-based data collection, and short, funny and behind the scenes videos. He shared examples from his own work as well as from other members of the society. The audience was treated to slow-motion examples of bats in flight, capturing their prey, seemingly walking in air (ok, it was plexiglass), landing on a ceiling or running on a treadmill. The audience laughed to examples of owls capturing their prey and other candid moments of researchers in front of the camera.
Louise Allen shared her experience with using film to enhance her lectures and presentations and to capture the attention of news outlets. She explained that everyone can film and edit quality video for use in supplementing one's scientific work, even when data collection methods do not involve video. Special guest, Filmmaker Ann Prum, introduced her most recent production "Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air". Against the background of stunning high-speed images of the birds, she spoke about the importance of collaboration between scientists and cinematographers to advance research as well as public awareness through nature documentary filmmaking.
The workshop ended with an informal discussion of camera equipment and video-editing software. Society members were able to sample first-hand Phantom high-speed cameras from Vision Research and high-definition and high-resolution cameras from SONY and Canon, all generously provided by the UNC Center for Design Innovation. FLIR thermal cameras were kindly provided by the Kunz Lab at Boston University. Nick Hristov, Nathan Fuller and Jonathan Richard assisted with demonstrating this varied video equipment. Louise Allen and Ann Prum showcased video editing software including Final Cut Pro, iMovie, and Adobe Premier. Members contributed images and video clips to share with the audience.
Many attendees likely came to the film workshop out of curiosity. It was our hope to encouraged all society members to consider filming aspects of their work and to share these videos at NASBR and elsewhere. Many attendees commented about the need for representing entry-level equipment. The most popular suggestion for improving the film workshop was to include more opportunities for hands-on instruction, with emphasis on both capturing film and post-capture production. The film workshop will continue to evolve to suit the interests and needs of our society. In future years it is our hope to solicit more video submissions from society members and to share them in a festival like environment. With enough interest and support we hope to make the bat film workshop a regular event.