'Deep Look' Science Video Series Kicks Off New Year with Crickets, Flies and Cockroaches - Oh My!

A variable field cricket rubs its wings together to chirp (Josh Cassidy/KQED)

After five years and more than 100 episodes, KQED's science series Deep Look has established itself as one of PBS's most popular web series. Its skillfully crafted four-minute videos about tiny animals and plants regularly get millions of views and have won numerous awards, including three Northern California Emmy awards and a Webby. The series kicks off a new year with new episodes that focus up-close on the mechanics of a cricket chirp, flies that give birth to fully-formed offspring, the little mites that keep Madagascar hissing cockroaches clean and the extraordinary jump-kick of the cute kangaroo rat.

Launched in October 2014, the series is presented on the PBS Digital Studios YouTube network and has more than 1.3 million Deep Look subscribers in addition to over 180 million lifetime views, making it KQED’s most successful web video production. Deep Look's videos are shot in ultra-HD (4K) and use macro cinematography and video microscopy to reveal small, hidden worlds in nature. Deep Look releases its videos twice a month and will produce 20 new videos this year.

"In producing for our upcoming sixth year, we're already pushing ourselves to explore more challenging macro filmmaking techniques, stirring music, humorous and thrilling writing, illuminating graphics and vivid editing.” says Craig Rosa, series producer. “We can't wait to share these episodes with our fans!"

The unusual animals and their evolutionary tricks that are featured in the first four Deep Look videos of the year are:
January 14: Cricket Chirp - Male crickets have a different song for every occasion: to advertise their fitness, woo a mate or keep their rivals away. So how do they make all those different chirps?
January 28: Tsetse Fly Mothering - A female tsetse fly pushes out a squiggly yellowish larva almost as big as herself, which she nourished with large amounts of milk. To make all that milk, she sucks lots of blood from cattle in sub-Saharan Africa, with devastating results.
February 11: Madagascar Hissing Cockroach - Most people run to buy a can of bug spray or to call the exterminator when they see cockroaches scurrying around. But not all roaches are pests. Some are pets – like the Madagascar hissing cockroach -- which comes with its own personal cleaning crew.
February 25: Kangaroo Rat Karate - They may be the cutest ninjas on Earth, but they will not hesitate to kick a venomous snake in the face faster than you can blink. Hyper-sensitive ears and super-sized legs allow them to leap right out of harm’s way.

Besides producing stunning videos, the series is also spearheading KQED’s first foray into crowdfunding with a Patreon campaign that has over 400 super-fans who contribute on a monthly basis. Deep Look recently reached its funding goal of $2,000 a month, and as a result, will be sending its producers to Oaxaca, Mexico on a special filming expedition this spring.


Deep Look is produced by KQED’s award-winning science team and is presented in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios. The entire series with accompanying articles and additional content can be accessed at KQED.org/deeplook.

The Team
Deep Look’s award-winning production team includes: science radio reporter Lauren Sommer, host and writer; Craig Rosa, series producer; Josh Cassidy, lead producer and cinematographer; Gabriela Quirós, coordinating producer, and Jenny Oh and Mike Seely, producers. Each episode has an original score by Seth Samuel, as well as additional editing and motion graphics by Kia Simon. Many episodes also include special animations by Teodros Hailye.

Deep Look has won several prestigious awards:
• October 2019, SPJ NorCal Excellence in Journalism Award for Science, Environment and Health Reporting (TV/video) for episodes about blue orchard bees, Jerusalem crickets, face mites, head lice, and nudibranch sea slugs.
• June 2019, Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science/ Environment- Feature/Segment category for Why the Male Black Widow is a Real Home Wrecker
• October 2018, SPJ NorCal Excellence in Journalism Award for Science, Environment and Health Reporting (TV/video) for episodes about bark beetles, tick bites, leeches and daddy longlegs
• September 2018, Jackson Hole Science Media Award for Best Short Form Series
• June 2018, Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science Environment-Feature/Segment category for Praying Mantis Love is Waaay Weirder Than You Think
• June 2017, a Northern California Emmy® Award in the Health/Science/Environment-Feature/ Segment category for The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp
• April 2017, a Webby People’s Voice Award in the Science and Education Film and Video category for How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood
• October 2015, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Best Limited Series – Short Form.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, the largest science and environment reporting unit in California. KQED Science is supported by The National Science Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Campaign 21 and the members of KQED.

About PBS Digital Studios
PBS has long brought the public original, thought-provoking programming. PBS Digital Studios takes that same mission and applies it to the Internet age. Working with creators from across the web, its network of short-form video series showcases the best of the Internet while also celebrating the best parts of public television.

About KQED Science
KQED Science is the largest science and environmental journalism and education unit in the Western United States. The science unit explores science and environment news, trends and events from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond with its award-winning, multimedia reporting. The unit produces weekly radio reports, the YouTube nature series Deep Look, and features posts from prominent science outlets and experts. It also engages with its audience on social media, through community events and through partnerships with renowned science centers and institutions. Discover more about the unit at KQED.org/science.


About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.