Grizzly Creek Films has used Fujinon ENG lenses for an upcoming one-hour special for the National Geographic Channel. The documentary chronicles renowned naturalist Casey Anderson’s year-long odyssey to shed light on Yellowstone National Park’s “island” population of about 600 grizzlies. The special, “Expedition Grizzly featuring Casey Anderson,” is scheduled to air May 3.
Grizzly Creek Films uses a Fujinon HA42x13.5BERD lens to capture the action.
On location, the crew paired the Panasonic AG-HPX500 P2 HD camcorder with a Fujinon HA42x13.5BERD lens, as well as a Panasonic AJ-HPX3000 P2 HD camcorder with a Fujinon HA13X4.5 wide angle lens for special segments. Aerial footage was shot by Aerial Director of Photography Gary Kaufman of Omniscience High Definition Video, who used a gimbal-stabilized Sony HDC-F950 camera outfitted with a Fujinon HA42x9.7 lens.
With a subject as difficult to locate and document as wild grizzly bears, lens selection was critical for this project, according to Grizzly Creek Films Executive Producer Thomas Winston.
“The Yellowstone grizzlies are quick to retreat at the first sign of human intrusion, so we had to have the longest and sharpest lens available,” Winston said. ”The Fujinon 42X allowed us to shoot from a distance without affecting the behavior of the bears. The lens’ built-in OS-Tech image stabilization system removed any unwanted movement, which can arise during unstable long shots.”
In order to simultaneously capture both the natural history of the Yellowstone grizzly and Anderson’s on-camera analysis and reactions, the crew devised a two-camera strategy that integrated dynamic handheld verité footage of Anderson tracking and observing the bears with more traditional natural history footage of the grizzlies. A Panasonic AG-HVX200 was used for the footage of Anderson, while the HPX500 equipped with the Fujinon lens was used to capture the natural history footage.
A Fujinon HA13X4.5 wide angle lens mounted on a Panasonic HPX3000 was also used to shoot special video segments the crew dubbed “Brutus Breakouts.” Shot with a Panasonic HPX3000 mounted on a CamMate Systems crane, these segments include up-close footage of Brutus, a 6-year-old, 800 pound grizzly raised by Anderson since birth.