...or how to kill yourself slowly before Christmas.
With the 2012 Royal Insitution Christmas Lectures exploring the chemistry of the modern world, we wanted to produce a suitable project to promote the lectures online.
So for the last two months I have been working frantically to create 24 short films, each asking a bunch of well known scientists, science communicators and famous faces what their favourite element is - the films are being released daily and are housed within a beautiful interactive advent calendar built by Archive Studios. View the advent calendar here.
Trailer for the series:
It's a bit of a silly question so the films are all a bit tongue in cheek to a certain extent, but there's a nice variety across them - from simple pieces to camera, to more involved short films centered on specific elements. The films also include a lovely animated ident produced by the friendly folks over at 12foot6.
The idea for the series came from a question posed to interview candidates for the Christmas Lectures Researcher role - who were asked what their favourite element was and why - the answers given were often surprisingly personal and often witty, it seemed like a great way to explore the elements from a very personal perspective.
We've worked hard to produce a nice variety across the films to avoid repeating the same format - hopefully this will encourage people to keep checking back on a daily basis! The series also includes a huge range of individuals including, amongst others: Brian Cox, Mark Miodownik, Dick & Dom, Helen Czerski, Dara O Briain, Liz Bonnin, Andrea Sella, Jerry Hall and this year's Christmas Lecturer, Dr Peter Wothers. We hope there are a few surprising faces amongst the line up.
My favourite films of the series so far are...
Andrea Sella in the glassblowing workshop:
Helen Arney's Boron Song:
Jerry Hall talking about Copper:
Helen Czerski's piece on Calcium:
The films were pretty much all shot on a Panasonic AF101 - using a range of lenses, however mostly with a Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm lens. For a couple of the films I was lucky enough to work with BBC producer Tom Hewitson, who brought with him a Cannon XF305. Sound was recorded via Sennheiser ew100 G3 wireless radio mic set and also with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic. Edited on FCPX and exported as 720p, h264. The films can also be viewed on YouTube and on the Ri Channel.
Hope you enjoy them!