THE SUPER SQUIRRELS

  • 1 x 60 minute episode 

  • I researched, self shot and produced contributors, actuality filming, long lens wildlife behaviour shooting and was also on screen talent for the hour.

The squirrel family is one of the most widespread on earth, so what is the secret to their success? There are squirrels that can glide through the air, outwit rattlesnakes and survive the coldest temperatures of any mammal. We uncover the extraordinary abilities of these cheeky characters, putting their problem solving to the test on a specially designed assault course.

 

We team up with some of the world's top squirrel scientists who are making groundbreaking discoveries - from the fox squirrel who can remember the location of 9,000 nuts, to the grey squirrel whose tree-top acrobatics are the basis of new designs in robotics. We also see the world through the eyes of an orphan red squirrel called Billy, as he grows up and develops all the skills he will need to be released back to the wild. It is time to meet the animal family we should never underestimate - the supers quirrels.

Researching 

- Detailed background research of animal physiology. Interrogating scientific journals and papers to uncover the stories of squirrel physiology.  Contacting world leading scientists to discuss current and future studies, planning new creative ways to highlight the science in a visual and contemporary way. 

- Setting up international and local shoots. Applying for filming permits and setting up kit lists. 

- In depth archive research both BBC and external sources.

- Media management on location and general assisting. 

Self shooting and producing a contributor 

- Long lens, off speed behavioural sequence filming. Self directing behavioural shoots. 

- Actuality filming with contributor. 

On screen 

In the programme I was cast as the witness camera operator who would put the UK grey squirrel to the test. I designed and help build an obstacle course which would test their grip, cognitive abilities, leaping power and general climbing skill. 

Slow motion photography was key to allowing us to visually show how incredible the acrobatics of squirrels really are. Filming these rapid beings fly around the course was a challenge to say the least. The speed at which they moved was baffling, but like all shoots , after a certain amount of time you begin to predict their movements.

Talking to the camera and expressing my emotions about the animals came very naturally to me and I found the experience extremely addictive.

To learn and see more follow the link below to the BBC page. 

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