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Photographing Flying Insects!


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#1 nao_yoshino

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 08:53 PM

Hi all!

I've got a commercial lined up for a beer company as part of my student thesis project (graduating in September).

The premise runs along these lines: 'What if <Beer Company Name> made fly traps?', and involves a fly that lands next to a fly trap walks into a fly trap.

I am wondering if anybody has experience shooting flying insects - any tactics? I'd like to keep away from CGI animation because it's costly. Although, I'm starting to get the feeling that CGI might, in the end, take less time and may actually cost less.

I have no idea how I'm going to get a fly to land on a pre-designated position! Also, I'm shooting on 16mm color negative., on an Arriflex SR-II.

All ideas and suggestions welcome!

Thanks.

Nao
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:20 PM

Put the fly on the end spot, then "release" it some how. Reverse in post.

You could catch one and put in the freezer for a few seconds, no idea how many, this will slow its metabolism.

As it starts to warm up under the lights get ready to roll. It will come to and fly off, yielding the perfect shot.

What could be easier?

R,
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#3 Brian Wells

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:28 PM

I have no idea if that would work (no experience in the area) but it sounds like an awesome idea!
Thanks, Richard. :rolleyes:
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 11:11 PM

If the freezer idea fails, you can always put a lump of dog crap where you want the fly to land. What fly could resist that?

(Just don't be surprised if a lawyer or Hollywood executive also lands onto the dog crap, they can't resist it either)

Also, I did a shot with a bumble bee landing on a flower, you've all seen the shot. Not my particular shot, but you know the one I'm talking about.

Obviously setting up a film camera in the wild where you want a bee to land would be quite impossible. So, I made a small tent out of mosquito netting, that had a hole for the camera lens to peek through. And set up the flower I wanted into the tent. The I released a captured bumble bee into the tent, it only had a very small area to fly around in.

It wasn't long before it landed on the flower, then flew off, then came back to the flower. I got many shots this way, including clean entries and exits.

This techique might also work with a fly, I dunno?

I'd like to point out that they used REAL spiders for the movie "Archnophobia". How did they get the spiders to behave the way they did on screen? Mostly they had a spider wrangler off screen blowing them with a hair dryer, this way they could direct them quite well with regard to their movements. Much better than any thing the CGI boys could have done.

Now here I am handing out stock footage techniques, I'd better shut up now. :D

R,
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#5 nao_yoshino

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 08:32 PM

Thanks guys!

There are some folk down here in hollywood that claim to be able to control all kinds of insects in an open space - I'm going to give them a call on Monday - I'll let you guys know.

The turd smear idea had crossed my mind ... :( but I never would have thought of freezing the bugga! I'll try it asap - might be able to get some kind of freeze-time/alertness correlation!

Net idea sounds good - I'd have to use something unsavory instead of a flower though ... lol, I can just imagine the whole crew in gas masks, breathing off a separate air supply.

Where to get the turd? And how to make it irresistible?

It's just one question after another today ...

Nao
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#6 Mike Lary

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 09:11 PM

This is a shot in the dark, but I know that flies (coincidentally) love beer! Some farmers use cups of beer to attract, disorient and drown slugs. I've also heard of people using cups of beer to attract hornets and bees that evade capture indoors. They fly over the cup, get disoriented and fall in.

Since you're not looking to execute the little bugger, maybe you could just put a couple drops of medium bodied ale where you want the fly to land (or maybe a small resevoir in the trap itself?)

If it's the hop aroma that attracts them (and I'm not sure that this is the case) you could pick up some fresh hop buds from a local homebrew shop and smear them on 'the landing strip'. Fresh hops are quite pungent, but they smell much better than dog feces. :)
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#7 J. Lamar King

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 09:17 PM

Just use watered down honey and put the fly on it. It'll usually fly off for a bit but come back. A net to contain it is a good idea too.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 12:01 AM

Couldn't you just put a "free beer" sign up next to where the fly is supposed to land?
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#9 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:57 AM

Yeah, but they're trying to sell beer.
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:23 AM

It sounds like you may want to try and use lightwave or some other CGI program if the real thing doesn't work. Does your school have any computer artists in your film program?

You could easily shoot a background plate that you could import into a 3D program. You would just have to model a fly, animate and render. You may be able to buy a fly that has already been modeled.

Just a thought.

Tim
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