The phrase “science film” doesn’t exactly conjure up arthouse-level creativity. It probably brings up memories of 20 years out-of-date VHS tapes explaining photosynthesis (or whatever else your teacher couldn’t explain well-enough) in as dry a fashion as humanly possible, with perhaps some dry-erase/chalkboard illustration.
The article notes that we have graduated from the science films of old and entered a time where “mind-expanding science-meets-creative thinking films” are taking their place. One particular format seems to be particularly popular, dry-erase animation videos. These videos are like traditional slideshows, but there is more movement on the screen and they are often accompanied by cool music or voice over narration. These videos are able to introduce viewers to issues and topics in a very interesting and engaging way. Below are 5 examples of cool dry-erase videos/sites.
- Minute Physics: One of the first examples of the dry-erase board animation lecture style video that I came across, Minute Physics does a great job of tacking complex physics ideas, principles, and concepts, and presenting them in a fun way.
- ASAPScience: Much like Minute Physics ASAPScience presents concepts in a very fun and accessible way, however they tend to veer towards less traditional, but by no means less interesting and important, topics, as seen below.
- Risk Bites: An new entry into the dry-erase video lecture game that looks promising and covers a topic of particular interest to me.
- Feeding Nine Billion: Here is an innovative use of the format, describing and promoting ones research, while engaging viewers.
- Where Do Good Ideas Come From? Once that research has been turned into a book, why not use dry-erase videos to promote that book?
While these videos are very cool and informative, they do lack a certain creative or artistic element, that the Imagine Science Film Festival is trying to promote. The creator of the festival, Alexis Gambis, comments on what he feels makes a bad science film, noting voiceover and animation tend to remove you from the science. The film below does rely on animation, but it does so it a very effective and creative way. And while it doesn’t speak much about the science behind autism, it certainly does a great job of depicting what it might be like to have autism, and that can be just as valuable as a dry-erase board presentation on the science behind autism.
Here is a video from Minute Physics showing his favorite online science resources