John Ott's fascinating boyhood hobby lured him into the production of scientific films that are box office magic.
Thousands of gardening fans across the nation have become familiar with a TV program that starts with real flowers dancing to the strains of Tschaikovsky's Waltz Of The Flowers. The man who puts the dancing vegetation on film is an ex-banker named John Ott, who gave up banking five years ago because his job was interfering with his hobby. His hobby was a special kind of film-making, known as time lapse photography. The effect of time lapse photography is the reverse of slow motion; time lapse films speed up slow action such as the, growth and movements 6 plants. One of Ott's films shows the growth of an orchid, a process that takes eight years in nature, but only about 15 minutes in the film: He has photographed the maturation of countless other kinds of vegetation, everything from banana trees to alfalfa roots. Ott films also trace the spread of tooth decay, show the splitting of cancer cells, the life and death of the dysentery amoeba, and the method by which pollen fertilizes flowers.