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Newbie questions about Roaches actors !

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Hello everyone :)

I'm a music composer / film maker / nature lover that moved in the Philippines to shoot a TV Show (with drama, love, stories, science fiction...) where all actors will be real insects :)

Roaches will play an important role in our show, we want to give them a very cool cute image and put them in sceneries where we can make them look as appealing and nice as possible (they'll be living in some kind of other reality like some kind of magic spirits like god's insects where they'll interract with various species on earth during shamanic ceremonies :D )

Not being a roach expert at all, I have many questions and I'll start with a few :

1. We have to pick a native specie to work with. At night the big fat roaches are everywhere in the streets but I'm sure if they are the best choice since they can fly very well. I'm planning to get some good shots of what we have around here for proper identification. I understand that some roaches are good flyers / climbers and some don't have wings at all and won't climb on vertical smooth surfaces ? But the ones without wings seem to look a little less attractive to the eye :) Anyway, if anyone has species to suggest that I look into here, that would be of great help.

2. My idea so far is to build 2 things :

• A container where I can keep some roaches happily and not in survival mode (ideally where they can eat and breed without panicking)

• A nice looking scene where we can put our actors to film. (I have yet to think of the best way to build that to move the camera around without the lens being behind a glass)

One of my main concern... is light ! In order to film super macro, we need kind of a lot of light (the more light, the closer we can film) and of course Roaches aren't friend with light or high source of light ! We haven't done any tests yet but I'm assuming that if we place a roach in a scene with nowhere to hide from the light, the roach will not have a normal behavior and will just run around looking for a place to hide from the light ?

So here is my question : Are there species that are not so light shy ? And is it possible to get the roaches used to light so they can show some of their natural relaxed behavior in full light ?

Ok I won't write a book of questions yet, I think that's enough to start with :)

All suggestions and ideas are very welcome.

If you're curious about the show, you can follow our updates (pictures / video / youtube links / instagram : http://www.facebook.com/mikro.world )

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Hi, I love the sound of your project, I wish you the best of luck.

Firstly, on the subject of roaches in your location, you can do no better than to ask a local naturalist or the insect specialists known as entomologists. Local museums may be able to put you in contact with someone or you could advertise in local stores or newspapers. Amateurs may know as much as professionals, so don't discount people who look for bugs in their spare time, these may be the best people to help you. They will know much more about what roaches are available and can give advice on the specific behaviour you require.

Secondly in terms of photography my experience is that you will need many "doubles" as you dramatists say, as once a roach gets scared, it needs quiet, food and rest for a few hours to recover.

Believe it or not roaches can be tamed and trained to accept a little handling and interaction with humans, larger slower moving roaches are usually the best for this. Food can be used as a bribe to stay in one place (stewed fruit mixed with sugar and a little rum may be good, this is a food bonanza for a roach, and can be administered in small amounts so that the camera does not pick it up in the frame. Shelter in the form of a large cup or nut shell is a good bribe also (just place it over the insect on set for five minutes just as it starts to be uncooperative and you may find it is much more effective than waiting until it is really upset. Different species will need different enclosures to live and breed in, again a local naturalist will be most able to advise you.

Lights get hot, so be sure to provide rest periods for each roach in the living containers, at a temperature equivalent to a shaded area with air movement. Hope this information helps. All the best from Bill. :D

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Try different colored light and do an in camera white balence try red or blue. Possibly leds as they are cooler. Climbing tree roaches will be less afraid of light then borrowing roaches. As for shooting threw glass look into aquarium photography tips. The best was is lights in the enclosure and darkness out side to prevent glare.

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I would suggest a mixed colony of different genera of hissers. Lots of leaves and wood and substrate. Mine have begun to ignore me, and hardly bother to hiss anymore. They act natural and males clash and nymphs climb over everything, all while I'm watching them, in medium room lighting. Red goblins are very active and visible as well.

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Many thanks, will get back to you soon cause I had a filipino drink that got me drunk. But will try to post a pic of a local specie to Identify (the one that is everywhere in the street and in the house :o )

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