This Filmmaker Wants to Protect Taiwan’s Purple Butterfly Valley

  • Chia-Lung Chan Is Using Video Data to Help Protect the Purple Butterfly Valley

Taiwan is sometimes called the “kingdom of butterflies.” The Purple Butterfly Valley — one of Taiwan’s most beloved natural wonders — sits thirty minutes away from Kaohsiung in the Maolin district, which is known for its special butterfly season that occurs from late spring until summer.

As part of an effort to save the valley, conservationist Chia-Lung Chan is bringing his new documentary, Purple Butterfly Valley, to a global audience.

Butterflies have been a way of life for Chan for over 30 years. “When I was in fifth grade, I decided to protect butterflies,” he remembers. “Since then, butterflies have become a part of my life.”

With his film Purple Butterfly Valley, this lepidopterist — or butterfly researcher — hopes to raise awareness of the fragility of the ecosystem in which the butterflies survive.

“Maolin’s valley was once home to thousands of butterflies, during my high school years,” he recalls. “A parking lot now sits in the valley. The realization dawned upon me that the butterflies will very likely become extinct.”

Some butterflies native to Taiwan are already extinct due to human development, and the Butterfly Valley is at risk of disappearing. Through his documentary Chan hopes to highlight the beauty of the butterflies, as well as to change the public’s attitude towards conservation.

A freeway runs through it

Through his relentless efforts, Chan was instrumental in convincing the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau to implement the world’s first “Butterfly Safe-Corridor Initiative” to create a contiguous passageway allowing butterflies to travel across and throughout their natural habitat, undisturbed by the freeway that traverses it.

The freeway is both a place of congregation and a death trap for the butterflies

“The freeway is both a place of congregation and a death trap for the butterflies, due to the large number of vehicles passing by,” says Chan. “Creating a safe pathway for the butterflies will protect them from passing traffic.”

The footage he captured for the documentary is beautiful, but also acts as historical testament to the butterflies and to the conservation efforts. He believes it’s essential that it can be shared with the world for years to come, as there’s no way to be certain when these magnificent creatures might cease to exist.

“The documentary is about our disappearing beautiful scenery. The footage is not only precious,” says Chan, “but also historical. While we might be able to see a million butterflies this year, it’s also possible there won’t be any left in the butterfly valley next year.”

Advanced storage technology to safeguard documentary footage for posterity

“Shooting an ecological documentary in 4K resolution at 1000 fps — which adds up to about 1TB for just 20 clips — was not previously possible,” says Chan. To enable the project he needed reliable storage and lots of it; he’s been happy to find that Seagate Exos enterprise hard drives are exceeding his expectations.

4K resolution video at 1000 fps amounts to about 1TB for just 20 film clips

“The best storage device is the one that can be relied on, leaving you to focus on your creation,” says Chan.

Seagate Exos drives have long been recognized by IT leaders as best-in-class in terms of reliability, innovation and performance. They’re optimized to handle the largest, most complex datasets quickly with a 550TB/year workload rating and 261 MB/s data transfer rate, which makes them a perfect fit for this project.

Having access to over 100TB of reliable Exos hard drives means Chan can store not only the final documentary, but also maintain all the raw clips that were captured for future generations.

To preserve what’s important, we must take action

Chan believes that regrets are pointless, when there are no actions taken. He wants to preserve this beautiful scenery. “We are able to keep our footage, to serve as evidence we can share with people around the world of the existence of Taiwan’s beautiful Butterfly Valley.”

Hear the story and see Chan at work in the video below:



About the Author:

John Paulsen
John Paulsen is a "Data for Good" advocate, with nearly 20 years in the data storage industry. He's helped launch many industry-firsts including HAMR technology, 10K-rpm and 15K-rpm hard drives, drives designed specifically for video and for gaming, Serial ATA drives, fluid dynamic HDD motors, 60TB SSDs, and MACH.2 multi-actuator technology.