Martin Dohrn awarded for natural history films at Wildscreen 2008

The filmmaker received awards for two of his films shot using Panasonic’s VariCam

Natural history filmmaker and Panasonic VariCam user Martin Dohrn was the recipient of two awards at the annual Wildscreen Festival held in Bristol, UK.

Dohrn's "Smalltalk Diaries," a co-production between Dohrn's company Ammonite and the BBC, won the Best Series Award, and his "Predators" won the Parthenon Entertainment Award for Innovation.

The Wildscreen Festival is one of the world's largest international wildlife and environmental film festivals, featuring screenings, seminars, and film competitions. This year, Panasonic used the occasion to introduce its new range of P2 tapeless VariCam products to the natural history community.

Shooting with Panasonic’s VariCam, Dohrn used the camera’s variable frame rate features to expand the storyteller's lexicon as he set out to explain the miniature world of insect predation to younger viewers. The judges gave the Innovation Award for Dohrn's imaginative deployment of camera techniques and the use of his own custom-built lenses, specially designed for shooting very small creatures.

"As a longtime VariCam user, I have come to rely on the versatility and creative features they offer," Dohrn said. "In the past, I've worked with VariCam tape-based cameras, taking a tape deck to the shoot and digitizing each day. The new P2 range of tapeless VariCams is going to make shooting so much easier and more efficient, especially for wildlife work. With no need to change tapes and 10 hours of shooting time on the camera, there's much less chance of missing a crucial shot, and with the solid-state recording, you get exactly what you shoot, with instant in-camera replay of effects like slow motion. It means you can decide immediately whether or not you have the shots you need."

The Wildscreen Festival included a panel discussion of IT-based production in natural history filmmaking, with contributions from eminent directors and cameramen including Mark Linfield (Great Ape Productions/BBC), Marc Baleiza (Support Partners/BBC Bristol), Martin Dohrn (Ammonite), George Panayiotou (Films at 59), Alastair Fothergill (Great Ape Productions/BBC) and Richard Mills (On Sight).

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