The Making of • 2015 • episode "Part 4" • David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies

Category: Nature
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From the steaming rainforests of Borneo to the freezing fossil beds of China, the arid canyons of Spain and the remote cloud-forests of Ecuador, this series spans the globe and travels through time to explore the thrilling and surprising story of how flying animals came to conquer the skies. The team used ground-breaking 3D cameras, high speed filming and stunning CGI to immerse the viewer in an astounding aerial world. 3D demands that subjects be filmed relatively close to the camera – far from ideal in a wildlife documentary. This represented an extremely tricky task, so the team liaised extensively with UAV designers, macro-rig engineers and directors-of-photography who helped us to develop entirely new systems that took 3D to places it had never been before. The Octocopter is a multi-rotor UAV with customised gimbal capable of carrying 2 Red Epic cameras in order to shoot 3D. The octocopter was developed to help the team film in 3D in places no other 3D rig has ever got to, but it also posed many challenges. Its weight meant that flight-time was severely limited, and in volatile environments like the rainforest, where conditions can change rapidly, every flight was valuable and any failed attempt would have been costly.

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