By Davide Castelvecchi
At the hugely successful dedication of the new SPEAR3 light source on
January 29, the 850-strong audience had a chance to hear about the history
of SLACís synchrotron from the voices of its protagonists, thanks to the
screening of an in-house documentary production.
The snappy 25-minute movie, produced by Terry Anderson and Thomas
"Chip" Dalby of the Scientific Arts department, will be shown again at
noon and at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 in the Panofsky Auditorium.
This is an opportunity not to be missed for those who couldnít be at
the SPEAR3 dedication.
The movie features interviews with a dozen physicists and engineers who
were involved with SPEAR from the early 1960ís to the present.
It also shows images of the SPEAR3 construction site, with a rapid
succession of still images compressing seven months of work in progress
into mere minutes of video. The shots came from a remotely-operated web
cam installed by Dalby in the SPEAR3 tunnel. The web cam collected more
than 100,000 shots.
Footage from two additional cameras was provided by the construction
"The main thing was to get people to talk about what excited them about
SPEAR3," said Anderson, who was conducting the interviews while Dalby was
shooting. To make people feel comfortable in front of the camera, Anderson
would say: "Just pretend that you and I are sitting in a bar over a beer,
and you are telling me about SPEAR3." Dalby would often jump in, asking
"Give me five adjectives that would describe this project."
Dalby took five hours of interviews and edited them into a coherent
narrative. "Thatís what Chip was good at," Anderson said, "keeping the
"With some interviews," Dalby said, "we went through one hour of
footage to get the one minute we needed to use."