Saturday, November 12, 2011

Controversy over that Viral 'Murmuration' Video

© Screenshot of 'Murmuration' on Vimeo

by Jeff Kart - Science / Natural Sciences

Here's a new word for some of us: Murmuration. See the video for a view. It's a sight to behold. A river of nature. A flock of starlings flying together above the water in Ireland.

What does the term mean? Murmuration is a collective noun for starlings. Like a murder of crows, just less well known.

The Vimeo video, posted by Sophie Windsor Clive, is two minutes long, with some still shots mixed in. It has close to 600 comments so far, most of them a variation on "Wow!"

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Just like the birds, this video has taken flight on the Internet. MSNBC notes that Liberty Smith also was part of the experience, and that the film, taken on Ireland's Shannon River, was submitted to a World Wildlife Fund competition.

But ... there's a question as to its chances of winning.

The WWF competition is called "Life. Nature. You. Make the Connection." The contest is now closed, but entries can be found on WWF's Vimeo site.

A discussion on the Vimeo site revolves around the possibility that the murmuration video was edited to meet a 2-minute time limit for the contest. A longer version of a video, also by Clive and Smith, and also called "Murmuration," was submitted to other contests, which appears to break the WWF contest rules requiring original content.

So it's being speculated that the magical starlings won't win the prize (at least in this case). An 8-minute "Murmuration" video by Clive and Smith was part of the London Short Film Festival in 2010, among other contests.

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