Kristie introduces the actors to passalid beetles.

Last year, we were asked to be ‘bug wranglers’ on a television commercial shoot.  Intel was filming an ad highlighting their new rugged laptop series, the Clamshell Classmate PC. These cool laptops are able to withstand lots of bumping and rough handling and they have some really useful attachments like a microscope lens that can be used with the laptop’s webcam!

The producers of the shoot needed insects that were easy for children to handle.  They also needed insects that were large enough to see on camera, but looked like they could be found outside in a school playground.  We chose our passalid beetles, also known as bess beetles and our praying mantis for the job.

Intel specialists help the actors to focus the microscope on the laptop.

We placed the beetles on the ground and the kids (who were very professional young actors) used the microscope attachment on the computer to film them as they crawled along.  When it came time for our praying mantis to be on camera, Kristie had to teach a mini workshop to the kids, showing them the raptorial legs and telling them how to handle the mantis so she wouldn’t get hurt.  They did a great job and the mantis was very still and accommodating.

This video shoot was a full scale production! We learned a lot while we were on set and drooled over the fabulous camera equipment.


Being on a “real” set was eye-opening.  When we film our videos, we’re lucky if we have another person to press the record button for us!  We got a little taste of what goes into filming something that is broadcast ready. There were outdoor lights, four cameras, grips, technical experts, sound mixers, acting coaches, directors, producers, and make-up people! Everyone was very respectful of everyone else’s roles and we had a lot of fun chatting with the folks from Intel and the crew.

Many thanks to the CMD Agency in Portland for hiring us for the job!  To see some of their incredible work visit their website.

You can watch the finished commercial here: Intel Learning Series