We live in a world of unseeable beauty, so subtle and delicate that it is imperceptible to the human eye. To bring this invisible world to light, filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg bends the boundaries of time and space with high-speed cameras, time lapses and microscopes. At TED2014, he shares highlights from his latest project, a 3D film titled “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” which slows down, speeds up, and magnifies the astonishing wonders of nature.




  • intersect – (of two or more things) pass or lie across each other
  • restless – unable to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom
  • ingenious – (of a person) clever, original, and inventive
  • patrol – keep watch over (an area) by regularly walking or travelling around it
  • unveil – show or announce publicly for the first time
  • go about something – to do something that you normally do in your usual way


Think about it

Answer the questions below

  • What does time-lapse video enable us to see both at the small and grand scale? (pause @ 1:29)
  • What can we view thanks to the data gathered and time-lapse technology? (pause @ 2:28)
  • What kind of equipment is necessary to do the opposite of time-lapse? What can we do and achieve thanks to such equipment? (pause @ 3:00)
  • What can a dragonfly do with its wings in terms of movement? What can we as humans gain from studying how dragonflies fly? (pause @ 3:31)
  • What have you learnt about your eyelashes? (pause @ 4:11)
  • How can nano technology befit us as humans in the future? (pause @ 6:02)


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

There is movement which is ________ slow for our eyes to detect, and time lapse makes us discover and broaden our perspective ________  life. We can see how organisms emerge and grow, how a vine survives ________ creeping from the forest floor to look at the sunlight. And ________ the grand scale, time lapse allows us ________ see our planet in motion. We can view not only the vast sweep of nature, ________ the restless movement of humanity. Each streaking dot represents a passenger plane, and by turning air traffic data into time-lapse imagery, we can see something that’s above us constantly but invisible: the vast network of air travel over ________ United States. We can do the same thing with ships at sea. We can turn data into a time-lapse view of a global economy ________ motion. And decades of data give us the view of our entire planet as a single organism sustained by currents circulating throughout the oceans and by clouds swirling through the atmosphere, pulsing with lightning, crowned ________ the aurora borealis. It may be the ultimate time-lapse image: the anatomy of Earth brought to life.


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