December 8, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Watch: Illustra Introduces 2-Minute Wonders

Branching off from hour-long documentaries, Illustra Media started releasing quick, shareable video jewels.

Visual appetites keep changing. As online media explodes, attention spans decrease. Many people have too many options to watch an hour-long documentary. Now, quick and short is “in.” Viewers will look at the length of a clip on social media to judge if it is worth their time; anything more than five minutes often gets passed over.

This is unfortunate, because complex subjects take time to fully explore. Illustra Media’s Design of Life Collection, consisting of three hour-long nature films (Metamorphosis, Flight and Living Waters) broke through the monopoly on nature documentaries held by NOVA, National Geographic and the BBC, which always attributed life’s wonders to Darwinian chance. Design of Life is still watchable with great value, lifting spirits with superb visuals, powerful music and excellent information conveyed with compelling narration. DVDs can still be purchased from the distributor, The producers, however, have been watching DVD sales plummet for all filmmakers in general. Blu-ray never really got off the ground.

Monarch butterfly on flower

People need a sense of awe, and nature gives it in abundance.

Facing these realities, Illustra has gone to a subscription service on its new website, The John 10:10 Project – launching from Jesus’ promise “that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” It’s a great deal for consumers. Anyone can scroll through dozens of short films for free, arranged by category. Many of the videos are repurposed segments from their documentaries made over 22 years. In addition, they are releasing new short films on a near-monthly basis, drawing on both new footage as well as a vast library of material filmed over two decades, narrated with new scripts.

One project Illustra is working on is called “Wonder-Full Life.” This will be a series of five- to eight-minute films in the tradition of the Design of Life trilogy—only shorter, to fit modern appetites. We shared one of them here: an eight-minute film exploring the implications of beauty in the world (see 26 September 2019 to watch Beauty, Darwin and Design).

Another initiative is to make even shorter films about specific subjects, called “Two-Minute Wonders.” The first one is called “A Monarch’s Journey.” Watch it on the website. It’s a real challenge to cut a nature film down to two minutes, but Illustra succeeds in communicating a lot of information within that time constraint without the viewer feeling it is hurried.

The second episode just came out this week, titled “Living Machine” about hummingbirds. Illustra is making these films easy to share on social media, so we can embed it right here:

The success of these initiatives will depend on subscribers, donors and benefactors. If you like this film and want to share it, click the paper-airplane icon in the upper right of any film to send it to friends and family on social media.

These are great tools for pre-evangelism. Most people love nature and respect science. Let’s show them the science, then, in all of its intelligently-designed beauty. These winsome films made with high production standards are bound to inspire and get people thinking. If you follow up with a link to, you can introduce them to more and more levels of intelligent design and evidences for Biblical truth. Subscribe to the page yourself, and support Illustra in whatever way you can.

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