For more than two years, Bertie Gregory, a nineteen-year-old wildlife videographer from England, shot the fauna on Vancouver Island, Canada. This island, the largest in the Pacific in North America, is not only home to black bears, one of Gregory's main focuses, but wolves, pumas, and whales can be found there as well. The young filmmaker recently finished his documentary short, West Coast Adventure, in which he also narrates and presents about black bears on the island.
Gregory shoots the black bears from a rubber boat so that he can keep a safe distance from the animals while still remaining close enough to capture detailed photos. The best time to film the bears was at low tide, when the water in the inlets receded, exposing rocks that the bears roll over to find crabs. "I filmed everything from the boat, except for the aerial footage. This, of course, made the project particularly demanding, as any small wave makes footage useless.”
Since he did not want the bears to feel threatened or scared in their habitat, he shot from a boat with his Nikon D7000. He supported the camera with an Ace M tripod system by Sachtler.
“That's why I always tried to film in narrow bays or in the particularly quiet morning hours," says Gregory. "The key feature of the Ace M, for me, is the compact construction. I was easily able to put the tripod system on my shoulder and sometimes run 100 meters with it. This way, I was always able to get to the right place quickly. This is indispensable for wildlife documentaries."
"I usually film all by myself, as I work with a very tight budget. Ace M easily fits into my luggage when I fly to the filming location. The design of the tripod system is fantastic, and it is fun working with it. The counterbalance and the damping perform amazingly well and feature ergonomic and simple operation. This way I can, for example, set the damping while following my subject at the same time," says Gregory.