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Just What Are We Doing?

It's been a while since I last wrote a blog update - things have been pretty busy over here shooting lots of VR and filming for the BBC. But now that I have some time I thought it would be a good idea to write something just to update everyone on the current state of affairs with Team Candiru. So here is a quick update on our projects past, present and future.

Token Jumping Spider

California Bees and Blooms. Sadly this is now off the table. The University of California Berkeley decided that despite already raising some funds towards the film, that they didn't have the time and manpower required for it to go ahead. So we are very sorry to everyone who was looking forward to this. We were really looking forward to this film and we really thought that we could have made something really special. But these things happen and we will have to move on. We might be able to revisit this idea in the future - who knows!

Modern Conservation Madagascar. This was always going to be a very long term and ambitious project. We are still trying to source funding for it and will keep you all updated. The good news is that we have managed to make a number of good contacts and one of us will hopefully be travelling out to Madagascar next year to get the ball rolling a bit more. So watch this space!

What is going ahead?

Well the failure of California Bees and Blooms has caused us to look back to our roots. We have decided to spend less time on big, potentially risky projects and focus more on what we know we can achieve. And so with this in mind we are going ahead with The Solitary Wasps. Initially when I was looking into making this I intended for it to be just a few sequences for the YouTube channel. But having done a fair amount of research I have now decided to turn it into a film, because there is just so much to see.

Solitary wasp. One of many.

When I very first started planning this film I was all "well I've already done it with bees, how much harder can this be?". The answer is much, much harder. Like ridiculously hard. Wasps are much more numerous in terms of species (9,000 vs 250 odd here in the UK). Harder to identify, harder to film in their nests and harder to film when they are out and about. This is because unlike bees, that can be reliably expected to come back to flowers all the time, wasps are carnivores; taking everything from shield bugs and spiders to hoverflies and bees, and you never know where they are going to find these. This has caused me to go back to the drawing board and do some serious planning.

The good news is that we already have some help. A special filming tank has been kindly donated by the good people at Custom Aquaria. I have secured the help of a number of scientist from the Natural History Museum, The University of Bristol, and Oxford University. The film itself will probably take a few years to complete given how long we want it to be and the sort of shots we want to get to tell the unknown story of Britain's solitary wasps.

Spider Island (working title). Hogna ingens is the world's largest wolf spider. A beautiful and extremely rare creature that is only found on the tiny island of Desertas Grande off the coast of Madeira. Right now the Bristol Zoo is running a captive breeding program to help save these spiders from extinction. We will be making two films on this topic. Firstly a film about the spiders life cycle, and another film about the conservation project itself; who are the people in involved? What are the doing and why? This film is being supported in part by Nature Picture Library.

Virtual Reality. This is taking up more and more of my time. Furthermore it has come along a lot faster than we ever expected it to. A few years ago I was introduced to the world of VR at the South West Virtual Reality Conference. I was sold on the technology immediately and decided that in the long term we were going to look into producing natural history virtual reality. However, I had literally no idea how to go about it until one fine day by chance I was put into contact with the good people at Focal Point VR, who were looking to film some small animals doing interesting things using 360 camera rigs. I was all "Hey I know how to film small animals doing interesting things!" They lent me a few cameras and I was away. Here is the first little clip that we have managed to make.

Youtube! Thanks to reddit we actually have a decent, growing footprint on some form of Social Media. As of writing this we have managed get around 2k subscribers and ½ a million views. If you have not already done so, do please subscribe to our channel. We will try to make as many short sequences as we can and post them up there.

Lastly Prague! The Solitary Bees was shortlisted for the Life Sciences Film Festival in Prague. Dave and I will be heading out there next month to attend part of the festival and introduce our film.

Thanks everyone for your continued support. There's some really exciting projects in the pipeline - keep checking our blog, twitter and YouTube channel for updates! I'm even on Instagram!

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