Earth Unplugged: Slow Motion and Time Lapse

2014, Science  -  233 min Leave a Comment
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2 min read

This collection of Earth Unplugged episodes features a mix of extreme slow motion and time-lapse footage of various events and subjects. Common themes throughout the series include birds and bugs in flight, cute animals be they wild or domestic, flames, and explosions/impacts. Each topic is typically accompanied by informational narration by hosts Sam and Si, interviews with experts, and on-screen text.

In one particularly adorable clip comparing the landing techniques of kittens and puppies, we see that kittens land with both paws in front of them, while puppies first land on one front paw and then the other. The kitten lands gracefully with an equal distribution of weight, whereas the puppy bears more weight towards the front, clumsily landing on its face while rolling to one side. The "ultimate wet mammal shake" is another cute contribution, featuring a mouse, a dog, and a hedgehog as they rid their coats of water. Other highlights of the series include "Cheetah vs. Greyhound," "World's Fastest Punch" (as demonstrated by a mantis shrimp) and "Lightning Explosions."

Though primarily informative and with a focus on the science of what's being shown, each video is thoroughly entertaining as well. They even provide a few good laughs, most notably in the episode where subjects are recorded reacting to difficult tastes. In another episode the hosts combine their interest in fire with kitchen experiments by alighting the juice of an orange peel and igniting a sliced grape in the microwave. Feats of human flexibility are showcased in episodes focused on circus performers and Shaolin warriors as they demonstrate acrobatic and combative maneuvers.

An aesthetically hypnotic series, the footage itself could easily stand alone as eye candy. From fire tornadoes to spun paint, the visuals are always complemented by an educational element that draws upon the moment being studied. By taking an action that occurs within a split second and stretching the moment out in slow motion, the audience is privy to the movements not ordinarily captured by the naked eye. Featuring almost four hours' worth of slow motion experiments and investigations to choose from, Earth Unplugged offers no shortage of options for curious viewers.