Television

Wherever they go, Spy cams follow

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MUMBAI: Taking natural-world filmmaking to an unparalleled scale, Animal Planet’s new series SPY IN THE WILDbrings most engaging and secret stories of some of the most intriguing and charismatic animals present on this Earth. Award winning teams of directors and cameramen employ remote-controlled buggy-cameras, buried periscopes and state-of-the-art technologies to bring forth the lives of world’s famous animals.



Starting May 1st, every night at 10 pm on Animal Planet, SPY IN THE WILDgives a new perspective on the behaviour, emotions, intelligence and extreme survival tactics used by animals. Specially designed cameras and the latest technology allow the viewers to really get to know the species that include lions, elephants, polar bears, tigers and penguins.  



For the first time, state of the art ‘SpyCreatures’ infiltrate the dolphins’ underwater world, often interacting and engaging the curiosity of the dolphins themselves, offering a unique glimpse of their intelligence and personalities.   The sensational ‘Bouldercam’ takes viewers to within a whisker of the lion. The programme also introduces ‘Dungcam’ and applies the revolutionary brand of photography to perhaps the most popular of all animals – the African Elephant.  Using the‘Tuskcams’ and ‘Trunkcams’, the crew uses intelligence and sensitivity of elephants and seeks support to carry the cameras on their tusks and trunks to film the tigers wherever they go, even on the move.With bouldercam’s revolutionary sound system, the television vibrates to the purrs, roars, yelps and barks of these highly vocal animals.The team also uses mini-cranes, buried cameras and tracking vehicles to grab the action.



Production Facts

1. For the three-part special Penguins – Spy in the Huddle, 1,000 hours of intimate behaviour were recorded – almost nothing that happened on the colony was missed. With emperor penguins, this proved to be the longest continuous shoot of emperors ever made – more than 330 consecutive days. The overwintering crew was totally  isolated for 8 months, with no contact with the outside world beyond a satellite uplink, in temperatures as low as -60?C. There were only 10 days when they didn’t film.

2. Humboldt penguins are shy birds and have hardly ever been filmed. Spycams played a key role in the 165 days of filming.

3. For Dolphins – Spy in the Pod, 900 hours of intimate behaviour were recorded over the course of 1 year, in countries as diverse as Mozambique, Canada, Florida, South Carolina, Honduras, Costa Rica, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

4. In the course of the filming period, they dived over 1500 times and spent nearly 3000 hours at sea filming with the Spy Creatures and dolphins in all weathers. Over half of the filming took place via free diving (as opposed to using scuba gear), in depths ranging from shallow coral reefs to nearly 70 feet deep!



Episode Details:



Tiger – Spy in the Jungle:   The elephant camera crew reveals the incredible story of four cubs growing up in this previously unseen world.  By following the tiger, the camera-carrying elephants uncover a wildlife world every bit as rich as that of Africa, encountering sloth bears – a rarely filmed bear with a unique character, famous for carrying its comical babies on its back – and leopards, the tiger’s major competitor. The episode also brings to light the extraordinary red dogs. These fearsome creatures race through the jungle in huge packs, striking fear into anything in their path.



Polar Bear – Spy on the Ice: Shot mainly using spy cameras, this episode gets closer than ever before to the world’s greatest land predator.Icebergcam, Blizzardcam and Snowballcam are a new generation of covert devices on a mission to explore the Arctic islands of Svalbard in Norway. Backed up by Snowcam and Driftcam, these state-of-the-art camouflaged cameras reveal the extraordinary curiosity and intelligence of the polar bear.  The cameras also follow the bears as they hunt seals, raid bird colonies, dive for kelp and indulge in entertaining courtship rituals. Icebergcam even discovers their little-known social nature as seven bears share a washed-up whale carcass.



Elephants – Spy in the Herd: Elephants show many human similarities – life span, social structure, wisdom of age and emotional bonds – which allows this series to connect even more strongly with the audience.  The cameras are disguised as elephant dung.  These come in different versions and use different lenses.  Shots are captured as the cameras are carried by the elephants or even kicked like a football. The intimacy of the ‘dungcams’ images reveal the subtleties of elephant life in a way that has never been seen before.



Dolphins – Spy in the Pod is a magical underwater adventure. Dolphins are one of the most social and playful animals on the planet. Using the trademark blend of extraordinary imagery,analysis of behaviour and moments of humour, the episode looks at thesecret lives of one of the world’s most popular and charismatic animals.



Lion – Spy in the Den makes us imagine sitting just a whisker away, watching lion cubs growing up learning to be lions themselves, and getting into all kinds of trouble. Out on the African plains, right under the lion’s nose, ‘bouldercam’ – a state-of-the-art mini camera and buggy with surround sound, all hidden in a ‘boulder’ – trundles along.



Penguins – Spy in the Huddle: The amazing technical wizardry of the penguincams allows them to blend into these penguin colonies, allowing a closer view of the creatures than ever before as they immerse themselves in the penguin world, both on land and at sea.Penguins – Spy in the Huddle spends nearly a year in their close company, deploying 50 spycams to capture as never before the true character of three very different, yet equally charismatic, birds

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