UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims at DVinfo.net

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Old April 1st, 2014, 01:56 PM   #1
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UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

The title says it all, really.

Our friend Trond is a very responsible Green citizen. He even occasionally recycles UWOL Challenge themes! :) Although I have been recycling for many years, I found this round quite the challenge. In the end, while this video is quite different from Total Darkness I can see several similarities. In the spirit of recycling, I decided to revisit a subject I have covered here before. In σκορπιός I covered the arachnid Order in general. This video deals specifically with research done primarily by Carl Kloock (California State University) and Douglas Gaffin (University of Oklahoma).

Further in the spirit of recycling, I have taken advantage of Rule 5 and reused a couple of my earlier shots that I would not have been able to repeat during the contest time period. Neither is from UC20 or UC18. Long time players may recognize them from the Long Form. All can probably spot them from the shaky Bogen tripod I was using at the time. To make things more interesting, these clips were originally shot in SD (DV25). In the past I have used a variety of techniques to scale footage, including natively in PP and AE and with dedicated plug-ins like Instant HD. Here I used a new technique (new for me anyway!) that I like better.

The clip is rendered from a SD timeline as a series of bitmaps. I then write a Photoshop action to batch the scaling using a vector based enlargement plug-in (these are the sort of routines used to blow photos up to billboard size)- the one I am currently using is Alien Skin’s Blow Up 3. I also then add any other desired PS effects, such as the High Pass filter sharpening, before importing back into a PP HD project as numbered stills for further editing. These particular clips were then processed as “day for night” by adding a gamma adjustment and a slight blue color cast (see Purkinje effect) along with compositing of a strong vignette.

As always, critique, comments and questions are welcomed.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 03:48 AM   #2
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Sims View Post
Why do scorpions glow in the dark? Our friend Trond is a very responsible Green citizen. He even occasionally recycles UWOL Challenge themes! :)
Made you work even harder this time, didn't I?
Let's see if I can make next round even more challenging, and of course unique. :)

Interesting creatures those scorpions. Didn't know they glow like that. Who need flash lights when you have a handy scorpion nearby.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 06:38 AM   #3
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Hi Mike

For obvious reasons I watched this one first!

I enjoyed your video - especially enjoyed the macro work.

Your story flows well, is concise and fits appropriately with the theme.

There are so many interesting theories proposed by people yet no one really knows the answer. The author of one paper I read on the variability of spider fluorescence made the proposal that UV fluorescence is closely related to UV reflectance and actually serves the same purpose as visible light– either to enhance the cryptic colouring (to make it less conspicuous to prey and predator alike) or to enhance its visibility (to attract prey/mates). I liked that theory too but who knows.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 08:14 PM   #4
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Hi Mike,
Well another super informative film! I love those close up shots, you nailed the focus & had me squirming a little in my seat they looked so good! Better you filming them than me. I don't have a lot of time for those sorts of creepy crawlies! I was a little undecided on the sound foley. While i like the fact you put it in, it did sound a little "off" to me. Overall though, the film was fantastic, thank you!!
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Bryce
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 07:09 AM   #5
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Interesting piece Mike. Didn't know they glowed. Like Byrce mentioned the foley sounds on some shots gave me the impression that things where moving faster than they were. As usual I learned something from your video.

Gordon
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Ummm... Don't make things more challenging on my account, Trond!

"Who needs flash lights when you have a handy scorpion nearby."

Yep. Just watch out for that "ON" switch in the tail!
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 03:54 PM   #7
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Thanks, Marj. I am pleased you liked the close-ups. I’ve always considered you the master of macro. I’ve just had a thought and I need to do a literature search to see if anyone is working on this. It occurs to me that some organisms may be doing something akin to the multispectral techniques used by archaeologists and art historians. [For any unfamiliar with this I suggest you take advantage of On Demand and watch a recent episode of NOVA concerning restoring David Livingstone’s journal. He had run out of paper and ink and wrote on old newspaper with berry juice. They were able to find a wavelength at which the juice fluoresced but the ink was still visible. They took a second image at another wavelength with the ink visible but juice absent and inverted it before subtracting from the first image. Only the juice was visible.] Nervous systems are easily able to do signal inversion and subtraction. Perhaps some organisms with heightened acuity in narrow bands are doing the same for “camouflage-busting”?
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 04:08 PM   #8
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Thanks, Bryce. Any deficiencies in the Foley are entirely my fault. It is very time consuming and I was rushed. A great deal of the added sound is missing. Anything below a certain amplitude was dropped from the mix in the final Vimeo compression (it’s there in the file I uploaded). I should have used a compressor to kick the quiet sounds to the middle. Also at thirteen seconds the voice sounds like there is someone speaking in the background. How did that happen? It’s not in the uploaded file. I would appreciate advice from any of you Vimeo pros.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 04:17 PM   #9
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Thanks, Gordon, I’m glad you liked it. I think everyone would have liked my first ideas better, though. I started to do a behind-the-scenes of a four axis motion controlled day-to-night timelapse (the Holy Grail of timelapse) but weather and logistics were against me. Then I wanted to do a How-to with my new high frame rate camera. I’m not good enough with the new camera yet to have pulled it off. Hence this video was done in a week.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 05:50 PM   #10
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Sorry, my mistake. The show I referred to above was titled “The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone” and was on Secrets of the Dead not NOVA. I apologize for any confusion.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 07:21 PM   #11
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Really enjoyed this one Mike. Hadn't come across scorpions glowing before, and I think it's a great use of the theme. And I agree the macro shots worked really well. Plus it was a good exploration of theories on the topic.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 04:58 AM   #12
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Hi Mike,

Great piece of work, well researched. You have edited it very well, making interesting using some Folley sounds rather than music tracks. Your voiceover was paced about right making the film an interesting watch right the through. We have a few colonies of yellow tailed scorpions ( escapes from boats) here in the UK, although they are not generally known about. They tend to live in cracks in in walls around some of our dockyards.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 07:14 AM   #13
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Thanks, Andrew. Several folks have mentioned that they learned something new. That’s always nice to hear.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 07:16 AM   #14
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Thank-you, Mick. Isn’t it amazing some of the exotics we can occasionally film close to home now-a-days? I saw some footage of those yellow-tailed scorpions that Mat Thompson shot a while back. The trap-door spider I showed on the UWOL forum earlier came here from West Africa.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 07:41 AM   #15
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Re: UC29-"Why do scorpions glow in the dark?"- Mike Sims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Sims View Post
A great deal of the added sound is missing. Anything below a certain amplitude was dropped from the mix in the final Vimeo compression (it’s there in the file I uploaded). I should have used a compressor to kick the quiet sounds to the middle. Also at thirteen seconds the voice sounds like there is someone speaking in the background. How did that happen? It’s not in the uploaded file. I would appreciate advice from any of you Vimeo pros.
I have experienced Vimeo dropping both audio and video quality, but never heard they introduce sound before.
After playing your film on different computers and both quality and crappy speakers, I am not able to hear any "speaking voices" at 0:13?
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