1. The programme framework is ready
  2. Venue stood the test
  3. Committees ready to start working
  4. 1st Circular: Call for session proposals
  5. Oslo's new signature
  6. POLARCAT won the race for first proposal
  7. All programme proposals welcome
  8. IPY Open science in St.Petersburg
  9. Programme of 39 sessions
  10. Offer to registered participants: 30 percent discount on excursion to Svalbard
  11. IASC provides travel support to early career scientists
  12. 2nd Circular: Call for abstracts
  13. Time to get a booth at PolarEXPO!
  14. PolarCINEMA ready to receive polar films and TV-documentaries
  15. Steven Chown to be awarded the Martha T Muse Prize at IPY-OSC
  16. The IPY ‘From Knowledge to Action’ Conference to be held in Montreal in 2012
  17. Unique opportunity for science teachers
  18. A new precedent for the involvement of early career scientists
  19. Several opportunities to get travel support
  20. More than 2200 abstracts submitted on deadline
  21. Registration now open
  22. 400 stipends distributed to early career polar scientists
  23. Get your Letter of Invitation
  24. Invitations out for the PolarTEACHERS conference
  25. PolarCINEMA committee very satisfied with the turnout
  26. More than 2500 abstracts accepted
  27. RV Oceania to Oslo for IPY-OSC
  28. Institutions invited to indicate interest for the PolarFESTIVAL
  29. Poster guidelines
  30. Time slots allocated for sessions
  31. Book before 6th May: Glaciers and fjords - excursion to the scenic highlights of Western Norway
  32. Draft programme ready
  33. HRH Crown Prince Haakon will open the IPY-OSC 2010
  34. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco will attend the conference
  35. 9th June Keynote: Katherine Richardson
  36. 10th June Keynote: Ole Henrik Magga
  37. Tinker Foundation travel grants for Latin American participants
  38. 11th June Keynote: David Barber
  39. 12th June Keynote: Alexander Frolov
  40. 2200 have registered so far
  41. Make sure your media contacts are invited
  42. PolarEXCHANGE with Sue Nelson
  43. Patrick Webber awarded with the first IASC Medal
  44. Arctic sea ice cover heading towards another record low?
  45. Teachers and young scientists join forces in Oslo
  46. Making marfu and melting ice
  47. Preparing for tomorrows polar science
  48. Launch of the Polar Information Commons (PIC) Tuesday afternoon
  49. Cruising the Oslo Fjord for polar history
  50. Warm opening of a cool conference
  51. A territory of dialogue
  52. From policy to action
  53. Signing agreement for cooperation
  54. Rising sea levels on the agenda
  55. Prestigious prize for work in Antarctica
  56. Polar expedition to the FRAM Museum
  57. More cold and snowy winters to come
  58. Arctic and Antarctic partners sign agreement on polar education
  59. Medal for science and inspiring mentorship
  60. Science should incorporate indigenous knowledge
  61. A road movie on ice
  62. Data on ice loss in the Arctic Ocean can be misleading
  63. On the making of polar documentaries
  64. Encounters on Polar Street
  65. Morning plenary: Vladimir Kattsov
  66. International Polar Year officially closed
  67. Survey shows Norwegians believe in science
  68. 1st Circular out for IPY 2012 MONTRÉAL
  69. 2nd Circular out for IPY 2012 in Montreal
  70. Reminder: Call for abstracts
  71. One week left till Abstract Deadline
  72. Updating the IPY Publications Database for the IPY 2012 Conference in Montreal
  73. Time to register for the IPY 2012 conference

On the making of polar documentaries

pingviner_ingress (Ingressbilde)

Almost 100 documentary movies about polar science projects are being shown at the IPY-OSC. A selection of scientists and film makers shared their experience of the filming process, among them award-winning Mark Terry.

Successful cooperation between film makers and scientists is essential when trying to capture science on film.

Learning to let go

“To begin with, I was hoping to be able to give the film makers as much information about my research as possible,” recalled Dr Georg Schwamborn of the Alfred Wegener Institute. He and his team were followed by Jörg Poppendieck, who has made the documentary Secrets in Siberian Ice.

“During the process, I realised that the film makers had their own deadlines, and that they needed to summarise the story in a way that was not quite as I wished.

However, when the film was completed, I seemed to be the only one who was bothered about it. Other people congratulated me, and I decided that the result was OK.”

BBC science presenter Sue Nelson followed up Mr Schwamborn point.

“The question always arises of how the science is put across on film,” said Ms Nelson.

“I think scientists have to realise that they are not talking to their peers, and have to learn to let go,” she added.

Mr Mark Terry, director of the award-winning documentary The Antarctic ChallengePhoto: John Petter Reinertsen/ Samfoto
Mr Mark Terry, director of the award-winning documentary The Antarctic Challenge

Conveying passion

The film makers were only on the set for a few days during the filming of Secrets in Siberian Ice.

In Ms Nelson’s experience, time constraints are often frustrating for the scientists. “It is important to manage the expectations of the scientists by letting them know exactly how many minutes of filming are going to come out of a day on the set,” said Ms Nelson. She emphasised that TV coverage is very important in itself, and that viewers rarely ask for more scientific information than they are given.

“Television is a lot about nice pictures, and about conveying the passion and interest of what you do,” was her message to the scientists.

Mr Schwamborn shared his advice with colleagues in the audience.

“Don’t plan too much, but let the media fill the gaps in the programme themselves and make them a part of the group,” was his bottom line.

A month in the Antarctic
Conditions were different for director Mark Terry when he was shooting the award-winning documentary The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning.

“I had the luxury of working with the scientists for about a month,” said Mr Terry.

“I was able to be sensitive to their schedule, instead of just expecting them to adapt to mine.”

Mr Terry spent time at a number of research stations in Antarctica, reporting discoveries from projects being conducted during the International Polar Year.

Research topics included rising sea levels, the melting of polar ice, declining populations of penguins, marine plants and animals and new data on the ozone hole.

Met with enthusiasm
The film took a year and a half to make, including a great deal of editing of the approximately 1000 hours of footage. “I feared that the scientists would feel that they were underrepresented in the film, but they have all been surprisingly encouraging,” said Mr Terry.

The almost two-hour long documentary has won seven international film awards, and was the only film invited to screen to world leaders at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December.

After this success, Mr Terry will be embarking on a new documentary that will take him and his crew to the Arctic on a scientific expedition crossing the Northwest Passage. “I will get to go to areas of the Arctic Ocean that have never been visited before,” Mr Terry concluded enthusiastically. 

Last updated: 12.06.2010