Posts Tagged ‘Spotted Dolphins’

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Dolphin Dance in 3D

November 3, 2013

We are excited to share with you the first ever 3D video of humans and wild dolphins dancing together.

Chisa and Yuki with Hugs and Kisses

Click here to watch this video in 3D on YouTube.
Anaglyph 3D still of Chisa and Yuki with Hugs and Kisses

If you have a pair of good old Red/Cyan 3D glasses, you can watch this video right on your computer (and if you don’t have a pair, we can send one to you).  If you have a 3D TV it will look even better. There are instructions for 3D viewing at the end of this blog post and in the comments under the YouTube video.

Dolphin Dance in 3D: Sample

We make our films to provide an experience where you actually feel what is being exchanged and communicated between the dolphins and the dancers. The 3D effect seems to enhance that feeling substantially by providing the sensation of actually being under the water with them.

We’d love to hear what you think.  Feel free to post a comment below or on our FB page.

If you don’t have 3D glasses, or you just want to compare and contrast, you can watch a high quality 2D version here:

Ultimately, our ambition is to share this experience and its story on giant screens in educational venues like discovery centers, natural history museums – all of these almost exclusively screen 3D films. So we decided to see for ourselves, how it might look … and we built our own custom 3D rig, with two high definition cameras, some optimistic thinking, and a fraction of what we would pay to use a commercial system.

After seeing the results, we are more enthusiastic than ever about seeing this work in giant screen venues. While we build the financial support we will need to do a feature shoot with a commercial system, we are also considering how we can share this 3D experience using our custom rig, perhaps by creating installations using 3D televisions.

We recorded this footage during our rehearsals this summer (see our last blog post). In addition to Hugs and Kisses, we were joined by a mother dolphin – who we refer to as Flower – and her less than one year old baby, Buds. In the close up shot, as Hugs hogs the camera, you can see Buds making a successful loop with Yuki by staying very close to mom.

Hugs Flower Buds and Yuki

Hugs (closest) with Flower and her baby, Buds – all dancing with Yuki.

(To learn more about how dolphin babies learn to dance with humans from their moms, see our previous video – Introducing Jalapeño.)

We want to give a big shout out of thanks to our dancers. We so appreciate their talent and commitment. It is thanks to their extraordinary ability to establish a moving relationship with the dolphins and with each other, that we are able to see a connection between species we might otherwise think impossible. We also want to thank Sophie Ellen for contributing a track from her debut album as our sound track.

We are immensely grateful to our donors who helped to make this experiment possible (and also to the extraordinary high seas skills of Captain Scott).

HOW TO WATCH IN 3D:

You can watch on your computer wearing Red/Cyan glasses, but the quality of the 3D effect and the image will be much better on a proper 3D TV.

To watch on your computer with Red/Cyan glasses (If you don’t have a pair, we can send one to you: donate through our online store):

1) Open the Youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrLsn7vIlrY

2) Go to the pop up menu in the ‘cog wheel’ at the lower right hand corner and choose 3D

3) Under ‘Options’ choose ‘Full Color’ and ‘Red/Cyan’.

4) If your internet connection and computer are reasonably fast, you’ll want to view in 1080HD.

5) Be sure to watch in Full Screen. If the image is too small, you won’t see the 3D effect.

To watch on a 3D Television with the specific glasses it requires:

1) If your TV is connected to the Internet, you can use the YouTube app to watch the video. Open the YouTube app on your TV and type in the identifier: UrLsn7vIlrY.

OR

2) Otherwise, you can connect your computer directly to your TV and play the YouTube video in Full Screen. Choose the 3D option ‘side by side’ rather than Red/Cyan.

3) Use the TV remote to choose to convert 2D ‘side by side’ to 3D.

Chisa Yuki Hugs and Kisses - Left and Right images

Left and Right Images of 3D Still

posted by Ben Harley

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Thank You for Sharing the Dolphin Dance

December 15, 2011

We just returned from weeks of rehearsal with wild Pacific Spinner dolphins and wonderful dancers Jillian Rutledge, Dana Richardson and Gabriel Forestieri, new to the project, along with Kathleen Fisher, an old friend.

(you can also view this video on youtube)

In this ‘sneak peek’ from one of our rehearsals, the dolphin we know as CrossBite patiently gathers Jillian, Chisa, and Kathleen, and leads them in a slow spiral.  When Kathleen gestures and takes the lead, CrossBite follows her and guides the other two dancers to sustain the quartet’s lovely arc.

As the second year of the Dolphin Dance Project draws to a close, we are grateful for all the support and encouragement that has allowed us to achieve so much.  Our first film “Together: Dancing with Spinner Dolphins” has screened at more than 20 film festivals, pro-cetacean events and educational programs all over the globe. Our PSAs and other online clips have been viewed more than 50,000 times.  In the last six months, we organized more than six weeks of intensive training with several dancers … and thanks to the renown underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall, we have amazing footage to share in our next short film.

With your continued support, we will be able to realize the potential of Howard’s stunning super high definition video to marvel audiences on giant IMAX screens.  Interest in and development of our feature length documentary will accelerate. Please consider a holiday donation to the Dolphin Dance Project this season.  Your contributions help build awareness about who wild dolphins are and transform how our societies appreciate and care for dolphins and their habitats around the world.

… and please continue to enjoy our work and spread the word!

In January 2012 (exact date TBA), “Together” will screen at the Artivist Film Festival in NYC. We’re also very pleased to announce that in 2012 it will be a part of Earth Island Institute’s children’s cetacean education program. We are always pleased to offer this film in support of pro-cetacean events and educational programs…please contact us if you would like to screen our film at yours.

Thank you for joining us in our work – by watching, by sharing, and through your generous donations of time, expertise, equipment and funds.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of dolphins and their habitats – for becoming educated about the issues, for informing friends, family, colleagues and others and for making even small changes in your own life. A special thanks to all the organizations and individuals who devote so much of their resources to protect our dolphin friends and all the creatures of the ocean.

Most of all, we are deeply grateful to the dolphins for their inspiration and generosity. It is an absolute privilege to honor them through our work.  We would like to share our wish for the well-being of all dolphins and cetaceans:  our endeavor is for them, and we hope that our films combine with the efforts of the many other individuals and organizations dedicated to the cause of increasing harmony between humans and cetaceans everywhere.

Best wishes for a joyful holiday season from the Dolphin Dance Project to you!

Chisa and Ben with two Atlantic Spotted dolphins. Photo by Michele Hall.

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Popping the Cork on an Exciting New Year!

January 6, 2011

We’re ringing in the New Year with a sneak preview of things to come…more human dancers! Here is a lovely moment caught in an exceptional single shot last summer in Bimini by producer Ben Harley:  a sweet young Atlantic Spotted dolphin dives directly towards Kathleen Fisher and me and leads us, with a clear intention, in a basic dolphin ‘figure’ that we call the ‘corkscrew’.

Has the dolphin noticed that we were practicing moving with each other like dolphins?  Does he intend to show us?  Has his interest simply been piqued to join in?  One thing is certain, there is an attempt to engage in a moment of meaningful, shared movement – we are all listening to each other, we are all working hard to be connected.

Kathleen is a beautiful dancer, whom I met years ago, when she lived in NYC, dancing for the Trisha Brown Company. Kathleen has been living in Bimini for several years in order to spend more time with dolphins.  Following my week with Diana Reiss’ research trip last August, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her as the Dolphin Dance Project begins to explore the possibilities for composing dances with multiple humans.

In 2011, our goal is to develop this work and for several humans to dance with each other like the dolphins dance amongst themselves – fluid groupings of synchronous members gliding and twirling, often in unison, sometimes in tender physical contact. I am  eager to experience the dolphins’ reactions. How will they dance with us if we can show them that humans can be cooperative and harmonious underwater, just like them? Will it mean something to the dolphins? As dancers, we can also explore the emotional impact on us of moving this way together.  We will be asking questions like these and documenting them on video as we develop the material for the feature length dance film and documentary we aspire to make.

As we work on the next phase of our project, we will offer more of these previews … and we will continue to let you know about additional screenings of “Together,” our award-winning debut film. In January, we have a few screenings in NYC:

On January 15 between 4 and 8.30 pm, “Together” will screen during the Japanese American and Japanese in America (JAJA) New Year’s party at the Japanese American Association (JAA) Hall at 15 West 44 Street, 11 floor. Admission is free and you will enjoy many performances and exhibits by Japanese and Japanese American artists living in NYC.

On January 27th at 6 pm, our festival tour continues with a screening of  “Together” on the Big Screen Project, a huge new outdoor screen near 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets in NYC as part of the 39th annual Dance on Camera Festival. The best viewing will be from Bar Basque, which will be hosting the Dance on Camera short film celebration that evening; but “Together” and the other short dance films in the program will be visible from the street, the Eventi Hotel plaza and Foodparc.

If you can’t join us on the 27th, the Big Screen Project will show “Together” and the Dance on Camera shorts program several times following the celebration. For specific dates and times, please check their calendar.

As always – thank you so much for continuing to support us through your Facebook ‘likes,’ Tweets, word-of-mouth and your attendance at our screenings.

Happy New Year!

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An Introduction to Dolphin Field Research

September 7, 2010

My task was a ‘focal follow,’ filming a group of 2 – 4 dolphins for 2 – 4 minutes while they are doing whatever they are doing so my footage could complement video data shot by Daisy Kaplan, the graduate student of my scientific advisor Diana Reiss, PhD. In the lovely turquoise waters around Bimini, Diana and Daisy were collecting data for research correlating acoustic and physical signals in Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis). Several students from the Hunter College Animal Behavior and Cognition program, where Diana is a professor, had joined the trip to assist in the research. I went to learn something about field research on dolphins for Dolphin Dance Project; and what better way to learn than by contributing to the data collection? So, although my camera could not record the high frequency sounds (audible to dolphins but not humans) that Daisy’s special rig did, I volunteered to to capture additional ‘focal follow’ footage for her. Well…I volunteered to TRY to capture ‘focal follow’ footage…

As I entered the water for my first attempt at filming, I was immediately approached by four calves, young Spotted Dolphins less than 4 years old, who had not yet gotten their spots. Tilly, a dolphin well-known to the dolphin boat (captained by Al Sweeting) and one whom I recognized from my trip here in June was in the lead. Tilly  is very recognizable as she has almost no dorsal fin, thanks to a run-in with a shark. As often occurs with Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, Tilly came up very close, eye to eye, inviting me to play (see video).

 While normally, I’d follow the invitation by diving down, in this instance I was only allowed to follow…no ‘dancing’ that might skew the data collection, so I just swam along side her, the camera pointed at her face. Tilly was so close, I knew the shot was not at all what Daisy wanted, but I didn’t feel as though I could move away and yet also stay ‘connected’ enough to follow with the camera. As I was pondering my dilemma, one of the other dolphins came up under Tilly, inverted, and started rubbing pectoral fins with Tilly. Tilly kept her eye on me, even as I moved away just a little, trying to get both dolphins’ faces in the frame. Ignored, the second dolphin swam away and Tilly started to dive down. Great, I thought…I’ll stay on the surface as instructed and this will put a little distance between us. But when Tilly saw I didn’t follow, she rose up again next to me, made a burst of bubbles from her blowhole and and slapped her tail three times on the water’s surface.

When I popped my head up, the crew were yelling warnings to me to stop following Tilly (even though I already had). I can’t blame them. Big bubbles and tail slaps are a dolphin’s way of indicating displeasure. I was feeling a bit shocked. I didn’t feel I was chasing Tilly, we were maintaining constant eye contact. In fact, I felt that I was trying to keep more of a distance than Tilly wanted to allow. As the dolphins swam away, I could see that Tilly had been with me, separate from the other three dolphins. I think if she were trying to get away from me, or didn’t want to be near me, she would have been with the other three dolphins. Back on the boat, I was chastised for being too close to Tilly…and I didn’t argue. But inside, I couldn’t help feeling that it was actually the opposite…that Tilly had expressed her dissatisfaction at my unwillingness to play.

Regardless who was ‘right’ about the interpretation of Tilly’s behavior, I knew that I had to keep a bigger distance between me and the dolphins if I wanted to get footage that could contribute to Daisy and Diana’s research. So the next day, I tried following a dolphin who didn’t approach me first. I thought maybe eye contact and proximity meant something to Tilly…and perhaps dolphins in general. I guessed that they meant, ‘let’s play!’ or at least, ‘let’s engage’. So I tried to avoid those signals from the beginning of the next ‘focal follow’.

As a young adult dolphin and calf came up to surface, I followed them first from behind where they couldn’t see me. I then maneuvered to their side, but far enough away so that their entire bodies were in the frame. The calf took ‘baby position’, swimming synchronously with its head under the adult’s belly. So sweet! I felt we had negotiated a very satisfactory distance for acquiring useful data.

Just as I was feeling very good about my ‘scientific’ footage, however, another bigger calf came between me and my subjects, peering into my eyes and into the camera lens. And then, appearing tail-first in my viewfinder…as if she had been waiting there for me to catch up…just in the right position to ‘ruin’ my ‘focal follow’…the chopped off dorsal fin…it was Tilly! There she was again, peering into my eyes. How could I not interpret her look as mischievous?

Tilly ‘ruined’ my shot, but I was happy and a bit relieved, of course. I felt as though Tilly was still my friend after I had not followed her invitation the day before. I know these are interpretations that cannot necessarily be validated scientifically…they are difficult to avoid when interacting with dolphins who are so engaging.

Later as we talked about how challenging the encounters were for me, Daisy responded with a comment that gave me pause. “Well, of course,” she said, “if you let the dolphins determine the distance, they’ll be right in your face.”

So then, I understood. As the researcher, YOU – the human – have to be the one to determine the distance (and if possible, type) of interaction, if you want to get the footage best suited for your data gathering. It can’t be left up to the dolphins. No wonder I had so much trouble…my usual intent is to negotiate a ‘leaderless’ dance of cooperation. If the dance must be led (and it sometimes is), I always want the dolphins to lead. To get a good ‘focal follow,’ however, I have to be more in the lead, even if it looks like I’m just following from a distance. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that…that’s not the kind of relationship I want to develop with the dolphins.

For the next couple of days, I filmed mostly Daisy. I shot footage that she can hopefully use for her grant applications – showing her in action, gathering data. I felt much more comfortable following Daisy. With the dolphins, I felt a bit like a sociopath – constantly avoiding interactions.

I learned not only about field research but a lot about dolphin biology and cognition during the trip. Each day before we set out on Al’s boat, Daisy and Diana  gave ‘lunch and learn’ lectures about dolphins. I was incredibly impressed with Diana’s enthusiasm when speaking and teaching about dolphins. After decades of studying them, dolphins are obviously still absolutely fascinating to her. Indeed, she struck me as having a mind much like a dolphin’s – quickly moving from one profound observation or topic to another. Like a dolphin she is also very gregarious, easy to approach, and so supportive – engaging her students in conversations that really seemed to feed their new and growing interest in dolphin field research. I had some great conversations with Diana, too…and I am looking forward to our continued work together studying dolphins in our respective ways.

Chisa behind the camera