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Old July 4th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #1
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Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

It is crazy to attempt to do a story on iridescence in only three-minutes. All one is left with are the bare bones of what is truly another mind-blowing phenomenon in the living world.

Structural colour is all about light and the way it is changed by objects in its path. It is an exceptionally difficult subject with which to come to grips as it relies on an in-depth knowledge of the physics of light.

Structural colour in nature comes with another problem: it is impossible for us to conceive structures that are so small with our finite perception. (Nano-structures are 1000 times smaller than a human hair!).

All I can hope to do is to show you some stunning examples and attempt to explain as simply as possible the different ways in which this has been achieved.

I had no problem finding the birds for this video - they are all local birds and quite common. Because it is winter here some insects are scarce and so I was forced to rummage through my insect boxes to find the insect samples. The Blue Morpho was given to me as a gift many years ago. It can't lose its colour! The reasons are revealed in this short film.

My biggest mission was filming the oil film on water. By virtue of the fact that water always remains level I found it difficult to get the right angle according to the sun. Eventually got it right after persevering for two hours!!!

Because this is a fun challenge, I took liberties with the length of my titles and credits. My film is exactly 3 minutes long though.

This is another educational film - but this time I hope this isn't too technical!

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Old July 4th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Marj,

That was fantastic. I wish I had your talent for scripting and editing. As a young boy in the 1950's I used to collect butterflies, so I know exactly what your talking about.

Dave
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Old July 4th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Hello Marj,

I was expecting some educational type of film from you.
The opening close up shot was spectacular.

How did you do the graphical images? Photoshop?

Thanks for sharing, and teaching us something new.
I'm glad youtube finally cooperated with you. It was well worth waiting for. :)
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Old July 4th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #4
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Marge,


Seems to me that you should put your guns out to hire for documentary film makers!!!

You simply set a high standard and are an inspiration to grab onto!!

At minimum you should be making and marketing educational films!!!

Very nicely done as always!!! I also learned some cool stuff!!!
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Old July 5th, 2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Thanks so much for your comments. I must say I am amazed by your positive feedback. I really battled with this one - trying to simplify it without losing too much of the real substance. There is just so much more to this subject, but this film will form the basis for a longer version that I will do using stock footage instead of dead insects. I have some really beautiful birds and insects in stock that I have collected over the years. I am really looking forward to doing that.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 03:00 AM   #6
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Wow Marj, that was great. I had to watch it a couple of times before I could comment on it. As you said, a lot of ground to cover in a short time frame. It seems I read about this years ago in school. Makes me want to learn more about it. I've seen a few fish recently that seem to have that structure - the Bluefin Trevally, the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse and some others. Thanks for putting it together.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 08:46 AM   #7
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Hi Marj.
As always you deliver great videos, and so this time.
Both educational and interesting at the same time.
Of course in these short videos you have to prioritize, and yours are making the video to something worth watching.
Very good match between VO and the different scenes.
You're using clean cuts and I like that.

Way to go :)
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Old July 9th, 2011, 05:31 AM   #8
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Hi Bill and Geir and thanks for your comments.

Geir – Really appreciate your taking time off to add some encouraging comments to all our videos.

Re the clean cuts - I also prefer using clean cuts most of the time like you, but sometimes I have no choice because many of my shots are so short there would be nothing left to see if I added a transition! :)

Bill, I had a real problem with this one which is probably the reason you had to work so hard. I had absolutely no space left on my timeline to expand on the essential statements made – even the first statement about pigments reflecting and absorbing visible light assumes that my audience knows the basics about pigments. In my expanded version I will have time to add some flesh and hopefully make it just a bit easier to follow.

I googled the two fish you mentioned. That Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse is absolutely fascinating. I found some very interesting information about this fish on the Maui Ocean Centre website! Makes me want to visit there just to see it! :) Sigh . . .
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Old July 9th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Marj - here is a little clip of a cleaner station in action, I've got about 15 minutes of this footage, and they are busy the whole time. I had to zoom in on the timeline and lost some clarity, need to go back and try to get the camera closer without disturbing their activities:

YouTube - ‪Cleaner Wrasse Station.wmv‬‏
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Old July 10th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #10
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Wow - that is just such a special sighting Bill, and to think you managed to film it with your GoPro in the sea!

I'd love to see what you come up with, setting your camera up a bit closer - you may pick up a bit more detail. Thanks for sharing this!!
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Old July 10th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #11
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Marj,

Another wonderful show, from your boundless bag of ideas. Thank you. The Blue Morpho bounces when it flies up and down the trails of the rainforest. Like it knows how it looks and owns the place. Can you share some references regarding the science of these structures? Specifically, what are the crystals?
Mineral? Protein?
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Old July 10th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Thanks Steve

I would love to see that. Blue Morphos never seem to stop moving for a minute. I saw Blue Morphos when visiting a Butterfly Garden in Belgium - they were often fluttering around me, attracted to the blue fleece top of the same colour that I happened to be wearing that day. The rest of the time they spent fluttering way up against the skylight, getting really tatty in the process. Because the temperature was ideal they closed their wings when they landed and the underside is brown. Needless to say I did not get any decent footage. A far cry from the rain forest.

The crystals vary. In the barbules of most iridescent bird feathers melanin granules form periodic structures called photonic crystals (an array of melanin rods connected by keratin); in the Neon Tetra they are very thin guanine crystal platelets and in nacre they are hexagonal platelets of aragonite crystal.
(The guanine crystals grown in the lab have a prism shape so the platelets found in the Neon Tetra do not conform to normal crystal growth. Fish are different in that their structures are found in living tissue and are dynamically controlled by the nervous system - also hormonal or physiological conditions - as opposed to being found in surface material.)

I removed the crystal names because my initial ‘audience’ decided that the long names complicated things way too much!!
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Old July 19th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #13
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Hi Marj,
That was really great, and has filled in a lot of gaps in something I really didn't know much about.
Good timing too, I saw my first Purple Emperor butterfly last week - it's a perfect example of awe inspiring bling!!
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 03:47 AM   #14
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Hi Rob - so good to hear from you - its been a while.

I found your butterfly - really beautiful and seems to be quite scarce. Hope you managed to get some footage of it! (Would love to see it if you did, although, from what I gather, they tend to spend most of their time near the top of the canopy, so you were really fortunate to have seen it never mind try to get footage of it.)
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Old July 31st, 2011, 01:39 AM   #15
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Re: Nature's Bling by Marj Atkins

Amazing.

If I was National Geographic or Discovery, I'd have your write and produce a show for me.

Sadly, I am not. :-)

You have the amazing content and presentation Marj.
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