Draft protocol for videorecording pollinators

Here is a draft for the video protocol. I’d love any useful comments you may have; it is definitely a work in progress, so if you read something and it isn’t clear, please let me know and I will change it. Thanks, A.M.

Protocol for recording pollinators:
v.1.0 (Jun 27 2007)


List of heads to video
A few (~5) pin flags
Five 3 x 5 in. cards and a sharpie
Set of camcorders and battery packs
A radio

1. Get a list of heads that need to recorded from Andy the evening prior to the actual recording date. Each person will be responsible for 3-4 heads for that recording day.

2. Get to the farmhouse at 8am sharp so that you can start recording for sure by 9am.

3. Make a list of ‘cue cards’ for each head that you are to record. This involves writing:
plant location (row and position), color of twist tie and date on a 3 x 5 in. card. This is the first thing you will ‘film’ when going out to the CG, so that we can match up videos to the correct file.

4. Go to each head on the list and make sure that it is still flowering. If not, then add another plant (we’ll supply > 5 heads per list), and make a note that the originally selected head is not flowering. If the plant IS flowering, then place a flag next to it so that you can find it easily. Go to the next head on the list.

5. Next, get the correct camcorder and battery (labeled A-J), put it on a tripod and put it in position over the inflorescence (head). The ideal distance is about 1 ft. away from the head with the camera zoom at about ½ max. zoom. You should be able to see the entire head; try to imagine identifying bees using your recorded image and adjust accordingly. Take a quick video of your ‘cue card’ for each head and then turn off the camera.

Set up all of your cameras first, before starting to record for pollinators. We want to start them all at the same time, so you will need to coordinate with other members of TEAM VIDEO to start synchronously (using your radios).

Make sure that there are no big branches, stems, twigs, etc. that could possibly wave in front of the camera, thus obscuring the inflorescence.

6. At more or less the same time, go to each camera and press the red ‘record’ button. Then, skedaddle away so that you don’t influence the pollinators!

7. At 4pm, go and stop each camera. Disconnect the batteries and return the camcorders and batteries to Andy. He’ll upload the video to a PC and re-charge the batteries for the next round of filming!


2 comments to Draft protocol for videorecording pollinators

  • GA McC

    So, are you going to do spot check “rushes” on each vid to see that the cams are operating? No way to review 70 hrs of capture now… (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. right?)minimum. I’ve forgotten, but didn’t you guys scale the size of an hour’s vid production as to Gbytes? I wonder if you can upload that much to an online storage site, as an additional backup to the harddrive? Also, maybe you could burn a dvd a day for each cam…if it’s under 5 Gb or so? Always good to have extra backup, eh. I’m wondering if has a huge drive or a fast dvd burner; of course, in either case, it will depend on the usb or firewire output from your laptop to transfer vid files. Also, it’s a bit risky, but I wonder if you considered a compression algorithm, aka software prog, to save space on dvd or harddrive? The caveate is to know if it distorts or drops frames to save space; i.e., if the scene looks too similar from frame to frame, it may drop them in lieu of a changed scene — still, that would take some really good artificial intelligence in the compression engine, which is unlikely at a cheap price. Sigh! Good luck, crew!

  • This is a great plan. Did Team Bee tell you about their new idea? It will mesh very well with these video observations.

    Here are some comments about the protocol:

    1. Instead of writing down head ID, you could print stickers in a sufficiently large font. This would save time and avoid a possible reading or writing error. Each day you would need 10 stickers. Each sticker could be affixed to a 3×5 card. These cards could be reused. Stick er should have hd_id, date, and camera.

    2. Arrive at 8 and start cameras by 8:15, before most of the action begins.

    3. We have good lists and should _know_ which plants are flowering on a given day.

    4. I think you are thinking of a clapper or slate, not a cue card.

    5. I think two people could set up all tripods, cameras, film the clap card and then run around and start videos synchronously enough.

    6. What direction should the cameras point? Considering shadows, glare, etc, I imagine there are better and worse orientations.

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