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IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS Why the HDW-790P and HDW-750P are the backbone of Channel 4 documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants

Windfall Films’ award-winning documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants differs from most wildlife documentaries by telling you how an animal works rather than how it behaves. As its title suggests, the Channel 4 show relies on getting crews to the scene of deceased specimens of some of the world’s biggest animals quickly while they are still in good nick. For the latest series, the team had to move quickly to get to a great white shark which had been found off the coast of South Africa and a giant squid found in New Zealand. But as assistant producer Yvonne Bainton points out, she tries to focus the research teams on locations where Sony HD formats are widely available. Shot on a combination of the HDW-790P and HDW- 750P at 25p onto HDCAM tape, using locally hired versions of the same kit cuts out shipping costs, says Bainton. These two shoulder-mounted Sony models

form the backbone of the show’s production for several reasons. “The workflow is straightforward, plus they offer the kind of HD quality that international broadcasters demand, yet are light enough at 5.4kg to be handled by camera operators for long periods.” “The shoots can be pretty gruelling,” she admits. “On dissections, you can’t always stop and come back the next day. Our great white shark dissection, for example, took from 6am to midnight.” The series also requires live footage of animals mixed with the dissections, scenes which were shot underwater using an PMW-EX1 on Great White Shark and Monster Python. “These important shots had to be taken from the safety of a cage. We used the PMW- EX1 because the shark cage was cramped, requiring a more compact camera with waterproof housing to allow our camera operator more movement.”

Summer 2010 theproducer 21

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