Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sky's the Limit Film Gala

From Jalyn:

Sky's the Limit wrapped up its SciComm-M.Sc Biology  student collaboration with a gala film night that also debuted the fantastic new Living with Lakes Centre.
Let me take you back to the beginning. In January we Science Communication students were split into groups to form film production and consultation teams. The result was a made-up company called "Sky's the Limit" and their three student consulting teams: BioFilms, Reel Science, and SCIMAX.  Each of these teams was in turn assigned six "clients" – students in the MSc. Biology program who had been tasked with producing a TED Talk-style presentation on a science subject other than their own research topic.
But many of the biology students were game to try something more than a science lecture, and we were soon working with budding Bill Nyes and David Attenboroughs. While the biology students were perfecting their on-camera presentation skills, the SciComm students were learning how to script, storyboard, film and edit. Our classes had helped us prepare for scripting and storyboarding a film, but most of us were learning on the fly how to use lighting and camera angles, boom and lapel mics, green screens and editing software. Soon though, the members of each team started finding their niches as directors and producers, camera 1 and 2, script and prop directors, and of course clappers, and we got into the flow of shooting the films.
The final step was editing the footage, and I think we all have a new respect for the editing that goes into even a simple 30-second commercial. Editing is a finicky, time consuming business, and by the end of many hours spent tinkering, zombie-like, with the same few seconds of film, it's hard not to pick apart the video and feel that it's absolutely terrible, chock full of flaws, and not fit for public viewing even as a device of slow torture. But those were just "editing goggles" and once the videos were done and the film gala was upon us, we all got dressed up and watched over two hours of videos that were funny, enlightening, provocative, and professional.
The videos spanned a wide range of subjects including a TED Talk on environmental determinism, a cooking show about diet and evolution, and a piece on the demise of empires at the hands of microbes. After an evening of wining and dining with students and faculty, the awards were presented, and the first annual Eagle Award for Best Picture went to Alex Chan and Reel Science for their video titled "Oxygen: The other silent killer" that explained the complex relationship our bodies have with oxygen, the vital and lethal element.
Congratulations to all our clients in the M.Sc. Biology program and all the members of BioFilms, Reel Science, and SCIMAX, who worked so hard and impressed so many!

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