Steve Backshall – Deadly Predators – Bullet Time
All of us in the office have grown up with a love of BBC wildlife shows, especially the behind the scene sections that have become more prevalent in the last decade. Needless to say when an email comes through from the BBC Natural History Unit you pay attention.
The best part was how serendipitous being contacted was as we were already in the process of arranging a bird of prey shot for fun/portfolio in Northumberland.
None of the other birds we were planning to shoot even came close to the pure unit of a creature we met at Warwick castle.
Nikita is believed to be one of the biggest Eagles alive on Earth at this time, and has spent many years working with her handler/trainer Chris O’Donnell.
We used 60 DSLR’s and two Blackmagic 12k’s to create the sequences we needed for the show.
We had to start setting up in the dark and damp to be ready on time, we only had a shooting window of between 10-11am and prob a max of 4 chances to get the shot, before the bird looses interest and flies onto the top of the castle.
It was also due to rain at anytime and bullet time rigs like ours are not waterproof!
There was also the unknown element of the bird not wanting to fly at attack speed into an area surrounded by a wall of camera’s.
Thankfully for us! All our efforts were not in vain and to the amazement of Steve and the crew we got both key shots first time by hand instead of using any motion triggers. Which allowed us time to get some extra shots of Nikita on Steve’s arm etc..
Working with Steve and his crew was a breeze, he is as nice a bloke when off camera as he is on. He even offered to do some video messages for our young son’s (see below) then went over to talk to a growing crowd of kids and parents that had come for a castle tour but spotted the filming.
Eagle frozen moment
Eagle flying off arm.
Eagle with sequential movement.
Eagle perched on arm.
Behind the scenes footage getting the shots.
Even thought the show clip at top of page has an awesome amount of BTS.
A video message for Nik
A video message for Leon.