This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


What technologies do you love the most?

By Matin Durrani

Here at Physics World, we’ve had a regular programme of videos since 2009, when I led the way into a brave new multimedia world by interviewing the director-general of CERN Rolf-Dieter Heuer. What Heuer had to say was pretty interesting and the question-and-answer format is a common genre among  online videos, but I have to admit that a film of two guys talking to each other while sitting on chairs in an office isn’t the most riveting thing you could ever watch. Even if the chairs were at CERN and one was occupied by the boss of one of the world’s top physics labs.

Since those early days, Physics World has developed and diversified its multimedia efforts, thanks in part to the ideas and inspiration of my colleague James Dacey, who has the rather grand job title of multimedia projects editor. Our content now includes a rolling programme of video documentaries, our 100-second-science strand and even an animation.

What we’ve been trying to do in all cases is to make sure that videos make the most of the format, by having something happen that’s visually arresting, telling a story, showing human emotions, giving a sense of location and – ideally – having some wit or passion. We’ve also started commissioning videos, such as this film about astronomers’ quest for dark skies.

Another thing we’ve done is to buy a decent quality video camera of our own – along with LED lights and a microphone – that we can take when we’re out and about at conferences or events. We’ve used our kit recently at the launch of the International Year of Light in Paris, where we talked to some of the delegates, including the Nobel laureates Stephen Chu and Bill Phillips, in what is known in the trade as a “vox-pop”. My colleague James did most of the filming in Paris while I rounded up people to talk to, but how hard, I wondered, would it be from a technical point of view to record some footage myself?

To find out, James and I headed out one afternoon a couple of weeks ago to Corn Street in the heart of Bristol, where Physics World is based. My goal: to grab members of the public and ask them what technology they love the most. (It’s a question that’s vaguely science-related and one, we thought, most people would have a view on.)

As you can see from the film above, we came across a cast of interesting characters. (All the boring people were presumably at work stuck in offices.) My biggest problem was actually getting the tripod sorted out and remembering to turn the microphone on in time. I also realized how important it is in online films to take plenty of “general views” – footage of where you are that you can cut in between people’s answers and give a flavour of where you are. Then, of course, I had to remember to encourage people to be pithy and concise to camera. It’s also surprising how much attention you get when you set up a tripod and camera in the street.

So while I’ll be the first to admit the film isn’t going to win any Oscars, even if James did edit it, I’m posting it for posterity and to give you a little insight into our approach to film-making.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

One comment to What technologies do you love the most?

  1. S. N. Tiwary

    The technology which I like the most is
    Educational Technologies making the classroom captivating.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text