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Videography skills will becThe Scientist Videographer Bookome increasingly important for the scientist of the future to keep pace with the rapid changes in communications technology and electronic publishing. As public demand for more accessible and engaging science information increases and as competition for science jobs, research funding, and space in journals becomes more intense, those scientists with multimedia skills such as videography will be at a distinct advantage. 21st century consumers of scientific information, both technical and non-technical, will expect media-rich content, and scientists must be prepared to provide it.

The Scientist Videographer is a detailed how-to for scientists, science educators, and students who wish to make their own videos. Using a new authoring platform to combine text, video, and other interactive content, the author has created an electronic guidebook to science videography. This ebook shows how to plan, shoot, edit, and publish an effective and professional-looking science video to:

  • Produce multimedia content for Websites or science blogs
  • Demonstrate a technique or experimental protocolbookquote_bird
  • Show “broader impacts” of research in grant proposals
  • Create supplemental online material for journal articles
  • Create a video abstract to submit with a journal article
  • Produce online lessons or courses
  • Film lectures, class field trips, or other activities
  • Prepare outreach materials
  • Explain current events or discoveries
  • Show off experimental facilities or scientific equipment
  • Illustrate technical, teaching, and/or communication skills
  • Prepare job interview/promotion materials
  • Raise visibility in the scientific/education community
  • Promote a positive public image of science and scientists

This ebook is a must-have for the current generation of science students as well as established scientists who wish to add video to their communication toolbox. By following the instructions and tutorials included in this ebook, anyone can quickly acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to create their own science videos. This ebook is chock-full of tutorials, tips, examples, and exercises designed to get you started in science videography. It is written especially for those scientists and students who want to use video in their teaching or research but cannot afford or don’t have access to a media specialist. The use of inexpensive hardware, software, and accessories is emphasized to allow video creation without breaking the bank.

The information in this book is not just for scientists, either. If you are an educator, consultant, resource manager or entrepreneur and need to learn how to create a video, you will find that the instructions in this ebook are readily transferable to other fields and different objectives.

The Scientist Videographer, which is available in the iTunes Store for $14.99, can be read on an iPad, iPhone, or Mac (running OSX10.9 and with iBooks 1.0 or later). To download to your device, you first need to get the iBooks app (available in the App Store) and then search for the title, The Scientist Videographer. Once downloaded, you will have access to all the included interactive content as well as hyperlinks to additional online material. If you prefer, you can first download a free sample, which includes the book’s media trailer and first Chapter. Then if you decide to purchase, it’s easy to update to the full version.

Link to Book and Sample Chapter in iTunes Store:

http://goo.gl/4pVv4H

A text-only version of The Scientist Videographer is now available at Amazon for Kindle. If you prefer to read on your computer, you can download a Kindle reader to your PC here.

A text-only version is also available at other major retailers via Smashwords.

Media Trailer for The Scientist Videographer:

Sample Chapter Video (watch on YouTube for full-screen):

Download eBook Flyer Here:

Download (PDF, 2.38MB)

Download eBook Press Release Here:

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About the Author

karen2010Dr. Karen McKee is a scientist with forty years of research experience. Her educational training includes a B.S. in zoology and a M.S. and a Ph.D. in botany. She has studied various aspects of wetlands, more recently focusing on global change effects of elevated carbon dioxide, climate change, and rising sea level. Her research has spanned multiple international locations, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Belize, Panama, Honduras, Brazil, The Netherlands, Denmark, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Dr. McKee’s research has been published in over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences and has delivered more than 150 technical presentations and seminars. Dr. McKee is co-founder and trustee of The Wetland Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides travel grants to students of wetland science. She has produced several peer-reviewed videos that describe her research as well as topics of general interest such as climate change, sea-level rise, hurricanes, and large river deltas. Dr. McKee has actively promoted science communication by scientists and worked to encourage more scientists and science students to acquire better multimedia skills. To this end, she has produced many free tutorials to train scientists in the use of video for science communication and hosts a video blog, The Scientist Videographer, where she provides additional advice and information. Her ebook, The Scientist Videographer, is the culmination of years of experience as a science communicator.me&dad_repaired

In addition to science and videography, she also enjoys painting, fishing, hiking, and botanizing.

Recent Posts

Bow Shock

Photo by Christian Nielsen at unsplash.com

The film opens with a time-lapse of an astronomical observatory framed against a backdrop of stars rotating slowly overhead in the night sky. We hear foreboding music that suggests the inevitable passage of time. Then we see astronomers at work inside the observatory gathering data from various sensors and arrays aimed at nearby asteroids, distant stars, and far-away galaxies. Throughout the night, the scientists and staff deal with routine problems such as a faulty temperature sensor. Meanwhile, the telescope camera is methodically snapping images of celestial objects.

 The next morning, a young researcher notices an unusual visual pattern in the night’s data—a curved distortion in space that resembles a bow wave generated by a ship moving through the ocean. Such interstellar phenomena are called bow shocks. But this one seems to be different. She takes her discovery to the director of the astronomical institute, who is taping a public service video about their new telescope and state-of-the-art camera, which captures the telescope’s entire field of view and creates a tridimensional cartographic image of the sky. After she finishes recording the voice-over for the video, the director tells the young scientist to put her images from last night’s work on screen. They watch as the computer stitches the images into a time-lapse view of the bow wave moving diagonally across the starscape. The young researcher estimates that it is traveling at about one third the speed of light. More calculations reveal that the bow wave is passing through the Oort Cloud in the outer reaches of our solar system. Whatever it is, it’s right on our doorstep.

Then, the director points out something really astonishing…the bow wave appears to be slowing down.

Although the scenes depicted above are fiction, they were filmed at a very real observatory, newly built for the purpose of wide-field optical surveys of the universe—the Observatorio de Astrofísico de Javalambre located at Sierra de Javalambre in Teruel, Spain. The film, entitled “Bow Shock” is a collaboration between filmmaker Javier Diez and scientists from the Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS). It was screened at the 2016 Imagine Science film festival and later archived at Labocine—a platform for new-wave science films. Watch it here: Bow Shock.

We are all familiar with science fiction films, which often take us to the edges of human imagination: The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner. Alien. But Bow Shock belongs to a new genre called “scientific fiction”, which is a cross-fertilization of science fact and cinema. Emphasis is on getting the technical details right (something Hollywood often fails at) while telling a compelling story (something Hollywood excels at). In this particular film, the observatory and its research goals are real, but the story being told (about the bow wave discovery) is fictional. The idea is to provide an accurate account of the science while telling an intriguing story of how scientists of the future might use this new observatory to spot evidence of extraterrestrial life or other celestial phenomena. It’s an interesting approach that, in my opinion, has a lot of promise.

Bow Shock is a good example of scientific fiction—in this instance with actors playing the parts of scientists and observatory staff. The film is technically sound, well made with eye-popping visuals of astronomical techniques, and tells an intriguing story. Information about the observatory’s unique telescope and camera system is cleverly conveyed in the fictional story by having one of the characters record a public service video summarizing key features of the system. This approach is much more palatable than having a scientist give a dry, awkward speech on camera to introduce the observatory and its equipment. The fictional story about the bow wave does more than capture and hold the viewer’s attention while the more technical aspects are presented. It illustrates how astronomers look for unusual patterns in data collected with telescopes. By featuring the bow wave phenomenon, the film not only shows how astronomical research is conducted, but also how the observatory might make important discoveries in the future.

Of course, the biggest discovery would be to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The film hints at this possibility, and the scientist actors speculate about how First Contact might occur and what response we might expect. This focus on First Contact takes advantage of people’s fascination with the question of whether life exists outside the Earth. There’s also a bit of historical irony in the film when the Spain-based astronomers recall what happened when Spanish conquistadors encountered the people of the New World. The analogy between early (Spanish) explorers sailing the oceans in search of new trade routes and spacefaring aliens sailing across the galaxy suggests to the viewer some potential outcomes based on known historical encounters. In other words, the film gives the viewer a lot to think about, but without resorting to exaggeration of the science.

Using scientific fiction to convey information about science is an interesting idea. Scientists often struggle to talk about their research in a way that is both understandable and appealing to the average person. Scientific fiction might be helpful in this regard, especially to show how a line of research might lead to breakthroughs in the future. By taking this approach, science filmmakers can spark people’s imagination about what discoveries a line of research may reveal. Humans are hard-wired to get their information in the form of a story. And, making such a film could be a lot of fun. Bow Shock was made by professional filmmakers and actors, but such a film could be made by a group of scientists or science students collaborating with film school faculty and students, for example. The scientists would ensure that the technical details were conveyed accurately, and the filmmakers would provide the cinematic expertise and acting talent. Coming up with a fictional story that is scientifically accurate would be challenging, but could be enlightening for the scientists involved. For more examples of scientific fiction films, check out the Labocine series.

Of course, you don’t have to make up a story to create a compelling film about science or scientists. In my next post, I’ll talk about taking a documentary approach to making films about science that resonate with viewers who otherwise have little interest in science.

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