Pay The frontier of traditional wildlife filmmaking is Bertie Gregory, a National Geographic explorer bent on fusing the latest technology with wildlife storytelling.
Sun was lucky to talk to Gregory about it Epic adventures with Bertie Gregorythe new Disney+ original series built from the young filmmaker’s goal of telling unusual and realistic animal stories by taking viewers with him at every beat of the action.
The five-episode series took about two years to complete, as Gregory traversed several different continents, from rugged African terrain to cold Antarctica.
“I think it was so critical when we were evaluating where we were going in this episode, we needed an incredible wildlife event,” Gregory said.
The BAFTA award-winning cinematographer explained that the team wanted something that had never been filmed before, and something they could handle uniquely through the use of entirely new technology.
“We also wanted to choose sites that had really interesting environmental stories, so we could not only show incredible behavior in wildlife, but also showcase environmental issues.”
Threats and challenges to the natural world are often overlooked in nature documentaries, and this was something Gregory and his team also kept in mind when going into production for the series.
“There are great examples of how when wildlife is given a chance, they will come back. Gregory pointed out that fin whales in Antarctica are a good example of this.
“It was a really rare thing that we saw, as it was a wildlife event that was happening now that is better than it was 50 or even 100 years ago. That is extremely rare, thanks to the ban on commercial whaling.”
From traditional to modern
Over the five episodes, Gregory and his team deployed many of the current cutting-edge and cutting edge technologies in order to elevate the series from being “just another documentary” to something cinematic and up-to-date with the real world.
As for Gregory, he sees it essential to learn about new technology, as it helps tell animal stories in new and exciting ways, such as drones and fixed cameras.
“Because many of the wildlife scenes that we’re trying to film happen at a great distance, and these animals are moving around, we want to be able to move the camera around with the animals so that viewers really feel like they’re a part of it,” he said.
This effort can be seen in the episode “Tracking Ocean Giants,” where Gregory photographed a fin whale gathering in Antarctica.
“Seeing that from the water and from such a low level is amazing, but only when you go up in the air do you realize the scale of the gathering; 300 fin whales together, in a feeding frenzy with thousands of birds and penguins.”
What are the odds
The gear Gregory and his team brought to the field come at a hefty price, including half a million dollars from the team’s first gyroscopic military camera.
In the traditional natural world of documentaries and filmmaking, the lives of filmmakers are usually valued more than the actual equipment they bring to the field. But in this new world of drones and equipment worth thousands of dollars, suddenly, the finances of the whole situation must also be taken into account.
Asked how he would weigh and assess the risks of introducing cutting-edge technology into the field, Gregory said it’s more about pushing boundaries.
For example, he noted that launching a drone from a sailboat in rough seas was a huge challenge, and perhaps the hardest place for him to pilot a drone.
“[Mitigating the risks involve] Get plenty of time on these pieces of equipment in benign situations, so that when the phrase “Go, go, go!” And it’s a hairy situation, all I can think of is ‘How do we do justice [filming] This animal?’ And not ‘Will the technology work? How do I fly this drone?’
Gregory admits that they put these expensive cameras in ridiculous situations, but nevertheless they take care of them.
“We also work with huge teams and with people who really know how to move in these landscapes without harming people or equipment.”
ambition Epic adventures with Bertie Gregory Broadcasting on Disney+ Hotstar starting today, it will take viewers from the cool waters of Antarctica to the moody terrains of Zambia.