F Percy Smith, English filmmaking pioneer, filming in a pond, c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
F Percy Smith (1880-1945) was a pioneer of scientific filmmaking. In 1907, Charles Urban (1867-1942), a major figure in early cinema, invited Smith to make motion pictures of nature after seeing one of Smith's photographs of a magnified image of a bluebottle's tongue. Smith made a series of films for Urban, including 'The Strength and Agility of Insects' and 'The Birth of a Flower', which shows plant growth through stop-motion cinematography in Kinemacolor. After WWII, Smith gained wide acclaim with his 'Secrets of Nature' film series.