Random Togetherness
January 25, 2014 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Dennis Hlynsky is a professor of film and animation at RISD whose most recent work, titled Small Brains on Mass, looks at bird behavior, particularly how they interact when flying in groups. To better understand how flying as a flock is achieved, Hlynsky filmed the birds and then stacked the images on the same frame for a set number of frames, the results show each bird’s flight as a trail, but synchronized with the flock. The results are often pure poetry.

murmuration of starlings - large

Black vultures


Data in data out

Two Buzzards


Feeding the gulls

Swallows of Essex

1 2014 starlings 00011

Birds feeding snowfall

Murder of crows

Similar experiments with insects
Ant trails

The way of ants

Fruit flies

Fruit flies (2)

Water Strider Paths

Little white bugs 1 1

Ants moving fast

49 Akashiwo Sanguinea swim paths
This is a result of data given to me by Susanne Menden-Deuer. The data is taken by recording the swim paths of plankton. It is processed in Excel and output to Maya for the render.

49bugs realtime
collaboration with Susanne Menden-Deuer, Ph.D. -Associate Professor of Oceanography - University of Rhode Island - Graduate School of Oceanography - Bay Campus - Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
This video is a visualization of Akashiwo Sanguinea swim paths. This visualization is a result of using stereo recordings to create point cloud data. This data set is then passed through Excel to shape scripts given to Maya a 3D software. A bit more work needs to be done to articulate the rotation as the "bugs" travel along their paths.
I believe the critters are moving at actual speed.

Same technique applied to snow

Heavy Snow Under a Street Lamp Over a Highway (while listning to the news)
posted by Toekneesan (12 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
That is trippy as all fuck. Hello, flashbacks.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 3:22 PM on January 25, 2014

Spelling Police: Isn't that supposed to be "en masse"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:23 PM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by HuronBob at 3:32 PM on January 25, 2014

very cool
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:40 PM on January 25, 2014

Awesome stuff, especially the starlings!
posted by dg at 3:59 PM on January 25, 2014

That is fantastic (the pure poetry link). Wow. Wow.
posted by rtha at 4:26 PM on January 25, 2014

'Feeding the gulls' is beautiful, I believe I saw a plane taking off in that one as well.
posted by islander at 4:35 PM on January 25, 2014

Actually it turns out sparrows have some surprisingly insightful things to say about the sacraments.
posted by this is a thing at 4:53 PM on January 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

When employing foreign phrases in English it is de rigor to spell them correctly.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:19 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great post. Thanks for all the links.
posted by homunculus at 7:03 PM on January 25, 2014

I saw this the other day linked elsewhere, and I love it so much that I'm considering going from my old timey Photoshop install to the nonsensical Adobe subscription just so I can have AfterEffects and make some of these of my own. I have all the other gear and lots of places to film birds.

Anyway, awesome awesome stuff and a great post to present it. Thanks.
posted by nevercalm at 8:02 PM on January 25, 2014

Here's another extraordinary murmuration, but without the effect, captured over a lake, by two women in a canoe.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:52 AM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

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