Epic 3D on a balloon filming Grizzly bears in Kamtchatka

Wanted to share with you guys one of the coolest projects I got work on lately as a stereographer with the Epic cameras in 3D. 

 

 

I'm not allowed to give the title name and production of this project but what I can tell you though is that we filmed almost all summer in 3D with the Epics in Kamtchatka for a feature documentary about grizzly bears in Russia in which Cameron-Pace is involved. StereoCorp3D was also involved on the 3D team and on site-3D-post with a mobile Scratch and LocaRed was providing the Epic cameras for the aerial unit.

 

 

I was stereographer on the aerial unit which was using a remote controlled balloon system to approach the bears safely. We shot most of last summer on Lake Kouril (south of Kamtchatka) where grizzly bears feast on all the salmon rushing from the Pacific to reproduce in this area.

This balloon solution has been developed by the company Soulcam in France (www.soulcam.fr) with whom I partnered over the recent years to push this amazing tool towards 3D filming. And let me tell you that with the Epics it did marvels on this project bringing some stunning proximity aerial shots of the bears that as you can imagine I'm not allowed to show here. But I have some BTS footage and a 3D shot of landscape if you read below.

The production decided to use the Soulcam balloon over drones and other aerial solutions as it was the only tool that would allow us to approach the bears quietly while keeping the team at a safe distance. The balloon's freedom of movement would then help us get the full depth of these animals in 3D as they go about their daily life.

The two Epics were on a side-by-side configuration into a gyro stabilized head. A camera operator would control this gyro head to frame the shots while a pilot was controlling the balloon that was equipped with 3 large electric propellers playing along with the wind. A third technician armed with a fishing poll was keeping the balloon connected to the ground through a 200m fishing line, giving more or less length to this wire and positioning himself to help the pilot control the balloon.

One major challenge with this balloon is that since it's filled with a lot of helium (which is expensive) we couldn't deflate it. So we had to move to the various places of interest all over the lake with the balloon attached to a zodiac! Could become quite intense if the wind would suddenly turn stronger and this was a wild lake as far as wind ;)


As a stereographer I had a wireless video feed in anaglyph and a controller that would let me move the Inter Ocular (IO) distance between the two cameras dynamically during the shots to create a proper 3D effect depending on the distance to our subject and the far elements.

 

 

On this video you can see our team prepping the camera 3D head before a flight while bears are catching live salmons right behind us!

Here is a video of our team filming over a swamp by the lake at early morning and making a discovery shot over the landscape.

And here is the resulting shot that you can watch in youtube 3D (or you can select to watch it in 2D as well).

 

(Sorry no bears in this shot, production wouldn't let me show more)

I'll be trying to post more BTS stuff on this thread and put more details about this adventure onto our blog at www.stereocorp3d.com.

Also if you guys are interested I actually have most of the BTS shot in 3D as well, if you'd like I can post them in 3D, just ask!

Hope you'll enjoy it.

 

 

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