SciCast – Film School


Filming the wave machine

You’re aiming to make a film that tells a simple story in a couple of minutes, that’s visually interesting and dynamic, and that explains some aspect of science, or reveals something about the natural world. There’s an easy and familiar shortcut to all of that, and it’s the traditional classroom demonstration. They’re perfect: quick, dynamic and familiar, and they keep things simple, which is particularly important if this is the first film you’ve made.

Demonstrations range in complexity, from utterly simple and easy-to-repeat kitchen table experiments to huge great things that could only be done in a research laboratory. But they all tend to be focussed, clear to understand, and quick — perfect material for a SciCast film.

The fundamental SciCast mantra is: start with something simple, then make it your own. A familiar demonstration will give you the first part, making the second more straightforward.

The demonstration illustrated at the top of the page is the terrific Jelly Baby Wave Machine. You’ll find that film here, and there’s an extended film about it, intended for teachers, at the National STEM Centre eLibrary.