Canon helps Offspring Films to see monkeys in the dark

January 5, 2017

Factual and natural history production specialists Offspring Films implemented Canon’s low light ME20F-SH camera to capture tarsiers in extremely low light for the 2016 Christmas Day special Monkeys: An Amazing Animal Family.

Offspring Films wanted to strike the right balance between capturing the highest possible quality images of its subjects whilst remaining unobtrusive in the tarsier’s natural habitat. As tarsiers are nocturnal animals, living deep in the Indonesian jungle, DP Mark Payne-Gill and the producers implemented the Canon ME20F-SH for the job.

The ME20F-SH is a professional HD video camera capable of capturing full colour images in environments of extremely low-light with an ISO of up to 4 million (+75dB). With this capability, the production crew could shoot at 45db – the equivalent of 144,000 ISO – using an older Canon 150-600mm f5.6 EF-mount lens, and document the tarsiers at night time in full colour HD without the need for intrusive lighting that would have scared the animals away.

“I pushed the ME20F-SH to a very high ISO and we were still blown away by the results,” says Payne-Gill. “We got close-ups of the animal’s faces with their massive pupils in full colour. Being able to capture them in this way meant we could really tell their story.”

VMI worked with Payne-Gill to customise the camera set-up into a handheld configuration. The Canon ME20F-SH was mounted on a Vocas 15mm bar support with Hawkwood battery mount, TV Logic Alphatron viewfinder and a Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q recorder.

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