David Attenbrough’s – Life that Glows/Light on Earth (2016)

Produced by Ammonite Films for Terramatter Factual Studios, David Attenbrough’s Life that Glows is a feature length bluechip documentary that explores the world of bioluminescence, living organisms that produce their own light. Hosted by broadcasting legend David Attenborough the program aired on BBC in the UK, ABC in Australia and on Curiosity Stream in the US.

Crow’s Nest were commissioned to film sequences of bioluminescent organisms in Tasmania for the documentary, these included a large bloom of Noctiluca scintillans (red tide), this is a phytoplankton that lights up when disturbed allowing Andy and Fraser to get creative with water pistols and a bike.



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Crow’s Nest worked with QUT researcher David Merritt and photographers Ian Stewart and Jonathan Esling to capture time-lapse sequences of glow worms going though their daily glow cycle, this is the first time that this behavior has been captured on film. This was a challenging shoot that required filming for many days in difficult conditions.

After months of searching we also filmed Ompalotus nudiformis (ghost fungus) for the documentary, this involved a very late night shoot with Ian Stewart that utilized both video and time-lapse techniques.

Attenbrough’s life that glows has gone on to win two 2016 Wildscreen Panda Awards in the categories of science and technological innovation, these awards are known as the “Oscars of wildlife film making”. In 2016 Life that Glows also won the Golden Helix award at the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards, this award goes to the single film or media project that best exemplifies excellence in the art of inspired scientific storytelling.

Thanks to Jono, Ian and Dave for lending their considerable talents to this shoot, and thanks to Arthur Clarke for putting us up while we were down south, you were all integral to the success of this project!

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