I’ve just completed filming this prestigious documentary series on the Migration of Wildebeest across the African Plains. “The Great African Migration” is a 4 part 1 hour documentary series produced by Renegade Pictures for Five and BBC Worldwide. The documentaries are presented by Ben Fogle and produced by the same fantastic team that make New Lives in the Wild, led by Series Producer Natalie Wilkinson with Series Director Livia Simoka and AP’s Jo Young and Sophie Oliver.

The series took a whole year to film and was made up of 5 filming blocks. Most of the filming took place in Tanzania with 1 filming block taking place in Kenya’s Masai Mara to film the dramatic river crossings.

The series was a combination of Natural History filming and Ben’s Journey, meeting the scientist, the local people and the local tribes as the migration crossed¬†from Tanzania into Kenya, then finally back to the birthing plains of the Serengeti. I shared the DP duties with Pete Allibone, I concentrated on the Natural History filming while Pete filmed the Documentary elements to the programmes.

The series was shot on the Sony F55, this was the perfect camera for the shoot, not only for the 4K sensor but for the high speed filming options. A lot of the wildlife filming was shot at 125 – 150 frames per second, filming at high speed gave Livia the Director some great slow motion footage of the Wildebeest, this was particularly dramatic on the river crossings. We also captured a Lion hunt as well as a Hyena hunting a Wildebeest all in high frame rate. Lens wise I had the new Canon CN20 with it’s amazing 50 – 1000mm zoom range, the lens was hired from VMI and gave the most amazing range to capture the Natural History sequences. On earlier filming blocks we went with a Canon HJ40 with a B4 to PL adaptor, this again gave the most amazing zoom range and the quality of the pictures held up well with the PL adapter. Thanks to VMI for supplying the long lenses for the production.

A truly amazing filming experience, it was a great honour to be the Director of Photography on this prestigious series. The series is scheduled to be transmitted in 2016 on Five and then Internationally through BBC Worldwide. Watch this space.

GM-6

Filming with the F55 and the Canon CN20. We had a custom built Land Rover filming car with a tripod mount integrated to the vehicle.

GM-5GM-3The Team!

Presenter: Ben Fogle

Series Producer: Natalie Wilkinson

Series Director: Livia Simoka

AP: Sophie Oliver

DP Natural History/ Documentary: Me

DP Documentary: Pete Allibone

Camera Assistant: Ross Pimlott, Jackson Wardle

Sound: Lanny, also Olly Astles Jones, Simon Koelmeyer

Line Producer: Claire Bugden

GM-2 The dramatic River Crossings in Kenya.

GM-4 GM-7The Ngorongoro crater, part of the conservation area in Tanzania.