How to film a predator on a hunt -part 1

Wildlife Cameraman Masterclass

When you spot the predator inside your viewfinder, ready to launch an attack , You know you only have a few seconds to make the right decisions that can transform the scene into a spectacular wildlife sequence.




Filming a successful hunt is the ultimate prize for any wildlife cameraman. For most it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. (unless of course you have worked for the BBC in their mega series like `Planet Earth’ or `The Hunt’).

Filming hunting sequences has evolved leaps and bounds since its days of tripod and telephoto lenses. Today the technology has come so far that I’m convinced we can’t get any better in the future. We are at the pinnacle of wildlife filming - All this because of one incredible gadget.

This gadget has raised the level so high that no one can reach it, except for the BBC or Netflix because it is so so expensive to rent and operate. On the brighter side, shooting an action predation sequence without it is still possible. It requires utmost human skill but something that anyone can master. I will talk about this in the second part of the article.


Ok this magic equipment is called the cineflex.

Why is it so special?
It a one of a kind , all in one unit - It is a gyro stabilisation system that makes the shot rock steady and you can attach high resolution cameras and zoom lenses that can - from 200ft -zoom into the face of running cheetah.

What does that mean? – you can get shots with mind-blowing detail, all in slow-motion and zoom into the action from a helicopter . the cineflex system was a game changer.


The cineflex came into limelight when Planet earth-I was released. It was jaw dropping footage that had the world enthralled and made every wildlife cameraman in the world turn different shades of green. Ever since that, it has been used in Planet earth II , The HUNT, Netflix’s One planet and many other productions. These behind the scenes videos show the Cineflex in action and the spectacular results from it.


This is an incredible hunt sequence shot using the cineflex. Courtesy: BBC - THE HUNT



Behind the scenes of how the previous sequence was shot.


Another spectacular scene shot with the Cineflex. You can see why it is a game changer. Courtesy: NETFLIX- ONE PLANET


The Cineflex system have given us some magical hunt sequences, so spectacular that they will remain timeless. However most international productions still depend on the skill of a cameraman on the field to deliver a well shot predation sequence and that is one of the greatest challenges , even for the highly experienced. It needs you to draw upon all your experience, your years of practice and your ability to read the animal. Only if all these come together can you hope to be successful.


I will be talking about this in the next article.


Shooting a hunt without the cineflex

.. to be continued


Also read -

FILMING LEOPARDS IN MOONLIGHT


TIGERS OF TADOBA - FILMING FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC