Filming the opening sequence for Episode 3 was an incredible experience. We used a mixture of drones and a specially built slider to cover the sequence.
Episode 3 - Tiger Beetles and Trapdoor Spiders
This sequence involved filming the tiger beetles in America’s Amazon actually known as Alabama. Here we filmed a tiger beetle’s story as it hunted it’s prey by running the prey down with lightning speed. The beetle then journey’s into the woodland where another kind of creature uses a different method to catch it’s prey. This sequence involved every macro lens I own, electronic moco sliders and a mixture of Red Helium at 8K and the Phantom Veo 4K for the high speed action.
We filmed a beautiful montage of weird and wonderful critters from around the world for this scene.
Episode 4 - Tranasaurus Rex Battle and Mating Aerials
I was the aerial cameraman and drone pilot for this scene filming VFX backplates and photogrammetry. The aerials also included scenics at dawn of conifer forests.
Episode 5 - Giant Water Lillies and Beetles
To film this sequence. We travelled to the land of the giants. It was an incredible journey consisting of several boat rides through the interior and a portage across to the filming lake. We then had to wade chest deep in the murky swamp surrounded by caiman, the giant anaconda and one of the top ten biggest fresh water fish in the world, the Arapaima. We would set up late evening and wait till night fall to see the beetles. Even though the thought of the giants were scary the only real danger was the vicious water lilly stems which are covered in long spines and penetrated our waders and wellies. We decided to use the Red Gemini and Sony A7Sii with various macro lenses, probes and Arri Ultra Primes for their low light capabilities. As well as filming the beetles and lillies I also shot the aerials for this sequence using the Inspire 2 and X7 kit.
Episode 4 & 5 - Forest Aerials
Some of the forest scenics I shot for episode 5 included flying through and over various conifer woodlands. Some of these shots were used for VFX back plates for the CGI.
Episode 5 - Diplodocus Hatch
DoP Jamie McPherson and I filmed the VFX scene where the diplodocus eggs hatch and emerge from the nest. I filmed all of the big close ups for this scene.
Episode 5 & 6 - Diplodocus Aerials
Filming the arieal back plates for the VFX team was great fun albeit challenging due to crazy weather.
Episode 5 - Matabele Ant Battle and Self Healing
The Matabele ant sequence was definitely one of my favourite. Two years in the planning, covid cancellations and threats of terrorist activity nearly canned the shoot forever. However we made it happen and ended up with a beautiful story. I designed and built a special rig for this shoot that enabled us to fly over the ant battles and marching armies in a way that hasn’t been done for a long time. We used every macro lens I own including; different probes lenses, micro lenses and beautiful cinema primes attached to a Red Helium we filmed the whole sequence at 8K. The filming was incredibly challenging. The armies and raiding ants were never consistent and single ants moved at incredible speeds making focus very difficult. They also delivered one hell of a sting if you got in the way. This was one of those rare times we get to help science, our lenses meant that the scientist was able to discover a new behaviour known to science.
Episode 5 - Flowers and Pollinators
This mini sequence invloved the Phantom Veo 4K and Red Helium camera's and various sliders to create a beautiful montage of flowers and polinators.
Episode 6 - Tortoise Hatch
The tortoise hatch was a very challenging shoot due to working for a solid week in 38 degrees at 90% humidity, staring and staring at a monitor. I shouldn’t have worried though because the tortoises lived up to their name. Each tortoise took over two days to fully emerge. The conditions were cramped and the extremes took their toll on my equipment with various lights breaking.