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Fourteen French cinematographers take to the air to make Winged Migration, a documentary that offers unprecedented views of migratory birds.
Instead, ingenuity, patience, and serendipity produced these results, helped by an army of 450 enablers, including 17 pilots, legions of ornithologists, animal advisors, and guides, plus the film production personnel.
Not surprisingly, the logistics were Herculean, as indicated by an email executive producer Jean de Tregomain wrote during production. In 1996 Columbia Pictures made a childrena€™s film loosely based on Lishmana€™s experience, Fly Away Home, but, again, this involved only a dozen Canadian geese. Seventy percent of the aerial footage was shot from ULMs, which were tiny enough to follow birds under bridges and down narrow river canyons, and light enough not to fall out of the sky when travelling at the birdsa€™ speed.
The cinematographers flew in other modified aircraft as well, according to the speciesa€™ flight patterns and aerological conditions.
All the cinematographers who flew with the birds a€“ Sylvie Carcedo, Luc Drion, Laurent Fleutot, Bernard Lutic, Stephane Martin, Fabrice Moindrot, plus Machado and Gentil a€“ came away profoundly moved by the experience. The wild birds, in turn, entailed a different set of challenges and a different group of cinematographers. But some of the most important accoutrements were more likely to be found in a bird sanctuary than a camera store.
When Charbonnier was in Nebraska on a feeding ground of 70,000 Canadian geese, for instance, Perrin wanted a shot of the birds waking up very early in the morning.
The filmmakers also used a lightweight crane that could be carried by hand and assembled in six minutes, as well as a variety of floating platforms. Large pony veteran & Pony Finals ribbon winner available for lease, welcome Uptown Girl. Another quality prospect from the proven young horse team at Magic Hill Farm, welcome Own It. Big updates to the Equine Agents page, welcoming Ore, Cassi & Aro + more new listings to come. 1st in Zone 2, Qualified 2013 & 2014 Pony Finals, 4,490 points for Indoors & 2183 points for Devon! Such ignorance (in the truest & kindest sense!) is not news to breeders, nor to the many young-horse professionals that make a living in these classes.
At just 3 years of age Macy has a wealth of show experience without the typically associated hard miles. Here we have an oft forgotten stage in the horse’s career where heavy investments of time and money are not required. So, as performance trainers bemoan a lack of owner support for professional rides, are we not overlooking a gateway of amateur-owner involvement with the Hunter Breeding classes? Second, all of these amateur-handled babies are approaching performance age and many have started under saddle. The project was the 35mm feature documentary Winged Migration, and the magic carpet was a modified Ultralight Motorized (ULM) aircraft a€“ essentially a€?a seat with wings,a€? according to the filma€™s director and producer, Jacques Perrin. Since migratory birds can cover well over 2000 miles, crossing continents and oceans, the camera teams were running all over the globe. Perrin envisioned something much grander a€“ a film that would explore the mysteries of flight while following the four main axes of migration. These were modified to position the extra passenger in front of the pilot rather than behind, placing him on a seat at the end of a five-foot metal plank. The production team worked with a French engineer to devise a stabilizer similar to a Westcam used in helicopters to hold the horizontal line. The second most common vehicle was the parachute, a quiet transport system that could carry two people.

Gentil ticks off the challenges: a€?We had to deal with the birds; are they going to fly or not?
That day the wind had finally calmed down, and he was preparing to fly alongside a huge glacier. In addition to Machado, there was Michael Benjamin, Laurent Charbonnier, Philippe Garguil, Ernst Sasse, Michael Terrasse, and Thierry Thomas. Typically, the geese ate in the fields during the day, then flew back to the river to spend the night. To follow sea birds as they plummeted to the Arctic ocean from their nests high on a cliff, Machado attached his camera to a kind of bungee cord, using 200 meters of elastic and wood stabilizing wings to keep the camera from spinning when it hit bottom. Every argument towards the value of a Hunter Breeding education has been shrugged off by the performance crowd, and the chasm between in-hand and astride yawns on. Training schedules are light, horses can go barefoot, and a $5000 custom French saddle is not a barrier to entry.
Most of these amateurs were also owners who paid a professional to otherwise show the baby, stable the baby, and prepare the baby at home.
And now, just like that, all these Hunter Breeding clients are now Baby Green Hunter clients. Rising costs strain the traditional school horse program and kids seem to be evermore strangled for time. Next up is a story from the west coast, where amateur owner Leslie Scharf talks about bringing young hunter Bohemain all the way up the levels, from Baby Green Hunters to Reserve Champion in the $10,000 International Hunter Derby at the Memorial Day Classic, without ever once riding him into the show ring. Take off was perfect, the birds fell into formation around the aircraft, and they gradually found an altitude at which the birds were confident. Some had vast experience shooting nature films, such as Charbonnier, an early hire who had shot over 30 nature documentaries. At the other end of the scale was a three-wheeled robot a€?like a moon machines,a€? says Perrin. And, unless something went drastically wrong, your trainer never exits the show ring on his own 2 feet. But, in discussing the Hunter Breeding experience with ehj client Danielle Semerad, who proudly exhibited her 3 y.o. A product of the young horse program at Magic Hill Farm, she has been professionally handled by specialist Emily Belin for most of her career.
It is the perfect level of horse ownership for all kinds of amateurs, be they cash-strapped working adults or starving college students, and the Amateur Handler classes go a step further to offer an affordable horse show fix. The timeline is perfect for a junior that can’t stand giving up the horse dream through college, or a new mom that’s plotting a return to the saddle the second that little terror goes off to pre-school. Maybe it's time to realize "young" and "old" are all most people can afford, and start structuring some opportunities around horses in those stages of life.
It would fly with birds over famous settings a€“ the Grand Canyon, Mont Saint Michel, the Twin Towers a€“ and past magnificent landscapes as various as the Sahara desert, the icy Arctic, and Monument Valley. Since 14 cinematographers ultimately came on board and were shooting separately, a€?the main problem was having a homogeneous image,a€? says Gentil, who had previously worked with Perrin on an Ousmane Sembene feature. But when wea€™re on the ground, I also wanted movement, throughout the documentary,a€? the director explains.
Then we built a very sophisticated traveling car with mini-scaffolding to put the camera in multiple places. The only solution was come to the river while the geese were away eating and install a blind on a sunny spot in the middle of their arrival area.a€? So while the birds were gone, they dug a large hole in the sand and camouflaged a blind, oriented towards the east for their preferred camera angle.
As Carbonnier relates, a€?I asked Perrin and his director of production to build a robot in August 1999, after we shot some waders in Germany who were very aggressive.a€? When Charbonnier shot the waders in Mauritania a few months later, he came with the robot.

Ia€™ve seen birds migrating over Paris, looking for a stop for the night, and I never used to notice that.
But, thanks to the Amateur Handler classes, owner Danielle has not been resigned to the vicarious sidelines.
Maybe there has been too much focus on the juniors, whose time with us is often fleeting, and whose career trajectory directly contradicts that of the young horse. While he had managed to create a cult hit with Microcosmos, his close-up examination of the bug world, precedents for the kind of bird footage he envisionsed were rare as hena€™s teeth.
Over 1,000 eggs a€“ representing 25 species a€“ were raised by ornithologists and students at a base in Normandy where Perrin also rented an airfield.
On occasion, the cameramen also made use of balloons CUT and, on occasion, model airplanes and model helicopters a€“ better for petite birds and small video cameras (which Perrin is currently utilizing for a television documentary on carrier pigeons).
Far below the crevasses sped by: all my good resolutions were forgotten, and we were now flying over the glacier, right in the middle,a€? a much more dangerous flight path.
It held an Aaton on an external arm for shooting the birds, and a video camera to view its path.
The first man to successfully fly with birds was Bill Lishman, a Canadian ULM pilot who in the mid-eighties had hatched some eggs and trained 15 goslings to follow his motorcycle, then an aircraft, using the principles of imprinting first explored by Austrian scientist Konrad Lorenz.
It would include intimate scenes of birds feeding, nesting, coddling their young, and partaking in bizarre mating dances. We had one kind of lens for everybody, one kind of zoom, and only Kodak film stock,a€? primarily Vision 5246 250D and 5245 50D. If wea€™re just fixed, we dona€™t have that sensation.a€? More importantly, he wanted his cinematographers to be as close as possible to their subjects. During incubation and early life, the chicks were exposed to the sound of motor engines and the human voice, then were trained to follow the pilot a€“ first on foot, then in the air.
But in the end, we removed all of that and used an ordinary pick-up, attached the camera and operator to be safe, then we did the shot very simply. After that, we had to bring the birds to the site we wanted filmed: Monument Valley, Mont Saint Michel, the Eiffel Tower, all those places. The camera operator stood about 500 meters away with a monitor, guiding the robot and adjusting the zoom and iris by remote control. If wea€™re just fixed, we dona€™t have that sensation.a€?A  More importantly, he wanted his cinematographers to be as close as possible to their subjects. It would show the life-threatening hazards they face a€“ injury, exhaustion, avalanches, agricultural incursion into nesting areas, industrial pollution, and hunters, both man and birds of prey.
The next morning there was fantastic light, and I was in the middle of 70,000 geese, the closest less than 11 feet from the lens! To do all this, it would need a storyboard, a guide drafted in close consultation with a professor from Francea€™s Museum of Natural History. And that brought about some of the cinematographersa€™ greatest challenges, both in the air and on the ground. The rest of the footage would involve thousands of wild birds, filmed in their natural environments. All the geese left to eat at 9:30, and I waited until they were gone before calling my assistant to come rescue me. The scene was done in two hours, but it entailed location scouting, preparation, a night of dampness and patience.

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