Teapots from Space - the final abduction

Over the past year I have been working on a series of science video podcasts (or vodcasts), with Jon Yardley, Haley and my sister Olivia. There are lots of vodcasts available in the world of science but I wanted to make some which were fun and accessible but did not turn down the volume on the science. The idea of the Teapots from Space came into being as a vehicle for telling different scientific stories. The Teapots are like a cross between a sci-fi B-movie and Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Fortunately all the scientists involved had good senses of humour and didn't mind being abducted!

I started this project in the Summer of 2008, when I obtained an STFC small award to produce science vodcasts in High Definition. HD was the a key part of the bid because other vodcasts (particularly HubbleCast HD and Spitzer's Hidden Universe) had shown that when you move from SD to HD you can really grab lots more views. This seems to have been because there were lots of HD ready TVs about but very few people had HD things to watch on them. I think we have now missed that bubble because although we make Teapots available in HD, there has not been the sort of flocking to them, that I had hoped.

It has been great to see these little Teapot beasties come to life but I was completely unprepared for how much hard work it has been. The editing takes a huge amount of time (approximately an hour for every minute). Then I had to write the storyboard script, to decide which order the selected clips should be in. Then I would scribble some drawings that Jon Yardley magically turned into fantastic graphics. Olivia and Jon sorted out the lower thirds and text pages. Then chuck it all together, for a first cut. Watch it back, change most of it, and after a couple of iterations you have your final video.

I have to say a huge thank you to Jon Yardley for all of his help with this project. He is a creative genius, and a superb musician. I can honestly say that without him on this project, it would not look anywhere near as fancy.

Have a look at our latest creation, if you would like to know more about exploding stars (thanks to Dr Andy). You can subscribe to the HD version of the videos in iTunes or through feedburner, or by going directly to the website, http://teapotsfromspace.org

Update 23 Dec 2010, 0900 - I've just been told that the Teapots from Space have been featured on Universe Today. Thanks Nancy!