DOCUMENTARIES, NEWS — 07/11/2010 12:46 PM

Life Force Down Under

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(NHNZ)
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Filming of this massive new series showcasing the power and magic of evolution are now completed and the series is in its post production stage at NHNZ’s facilities in Dunedin. NHNZ crews have been tasked with filming two of the six hour long episodes which focus on remarkable tales of evolution in New Zealand and Australia.

Camera assistant Lindsey Davidson describes her first time in the field on a major production for NHNZ as absolutely amazing – both for the wildlife encountered and the technology used to capture their behaviors.

From arid semi-desert lands, to the cold winds and snowy peaks in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, the Mutant Planet team experienced first-hand the climatic extremes that some of the Australia’s best known and most bizarre animals have evolved to thrive in.

Wedged into a heavily loaded 4×4 and trailer, Director Rory McGuinness, Bryce Grunden (sound), Lindsey and Mary Clark spent three weeks travelling around three Australian states with six different camera rigs. This included NHNZ’s new Phantom HD high-speed camera, a tiny HD Iconix camera for attempting to film inside marsupial pouches and a Polecam jib system.

The main characters of the Australian episode are the extraordinarily varied marsupials that have dominated evolution across the continent. Filming in the arid lands of Sturt National Park in New South Wales was centred on the tough Red Kangaroo. Lindsey says the crew were amazed at how these animals could find enough to eat amongst a landscape of “rock, dust, heat and very little else”.

Within a week the environment changed completely to the chill winds and threat of snow in the Tasmanian mountains. Nearby Cradle Mountain was generally cloaked in cloud with the exception of one day when they clouds parted treating our crew to stunning views of its craggy peaks. But the stars of this leg of the shoot were without doubt the Tasmanian Devils which Lindsey describes as “tough little carnivorous marsupials with their own set of special survival adaptations”. The crew spent several evenings surrounded by feeding devils and the sound of their ferocious, eerie vocalisations.

Life Force is a co-production with NHK, Discovery Science Channel, Animal Planet and France 5.

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