Set to premiere sometime this summer, The Hunt – from the makers of Planet Earth – is a dramatic look at the circle of life, depicting contests between predator and prey, aiming to show how tough survival in the wild can be for those animals sitting atop the food chain. The series will examine the strategies employed by predators, the way drastically changing environmental conditions can impact their lives, and how skill, luck, teamwork and stamina all play a part in success or failure and by extension, life and death.
Of course, that means footage of the animals in question, a considerable challenge when you cannot disturb the creatures lest you’ll scare them off. The show’s producers – Alastair Fothergill and Huw Cordey, who also created Planet Earth – were on hand during today’s TCA panel to explain how they got The Hunt‘s stunning footage.
The production employed the innovative Cineflex system for their cameras, a gyrostabilized gimble originally developed for military uses that can stabilize a camera, even cameras with extremely long lenses, under tremendously tumultuous circumstances. Aerial photography, oceanic photography and the like make it possible, as the two said repeatedly during the discussion, for long, uninterrupted shots.
“It means we weren’t missing any of the detail, we were able to run the camera all the time,” Cordey says. Not only that, but from long distances, often, so they said, from as far as 100 meters away.
This allowed them to create much more dramatic scenes than normally appear in nature documentaries, creating almost a thriller, with animals. That was helped along by the fact that The Hunt features the predators not as villains, but as the protagonists. Audiences responded to that intensely when the show premiered in Britain last year. “We found people got really engaged in both sides of the argument,” said Fothergill.