Definition September 2020 - Web

T I NY CREATURES | WI LDL I FE

at the animal’s eyeline and be at their level was enough without embellishing it. So, a lot of the lenses I used were classic macro glass, 50mm, 35m – much more as if it was a movie. It was much more of a cinematic approach rather than putting something like a specialist periscope lens there.” THE LOCKDOWN POST Tiny Creatures couldn’t escape the pandemic lockdown as, when it hit, the grade was being completed by Cheat studios in London – luckily, two of the episodes were already graded. The studio had to decamp to the artists’ homes with a remote set-up that was quickly purchased. Jones recalls: “We managed to get the HDR set up and I was working remotely from my home. Toby [Tomkins] and I were working every day to complete it. We’d never done this type of remote working before and it was a massive challenge. We got a great monitor set-up between us and I was able to review things each day. Through Streambox we were able to have a

resolution was perhaps more important,” explains Jones. “So we were around 36, 40fps. Real time doesn’t read with animals like it does with people – when you film insects, for instance, you can film them at 60fps and they look normal speed – you have a bit of creative licence. We played around with the 50/60 frame rate or we were at the 500/600 mark. Bear in mind that some of the animals, like the flying squirrel in Louisiana, are some of the hardest animals to film, because they will not sit still. If you make a scratch noise on the floor, it darts and tries to find a place to hide. We had to work so carefully and creatively that all the portraits are shot at around 1000fps.” Previously when shooting down in the dirt with critters, Jones used specialist periscope lenses, but for a more cinematic programme, he went another way. “There are a couple of shots done like that, but I was much keener to make this show more classic, so I didn’t want to use any gimmicky lenses,” he says. “I felt that to be

live link, so every time he made a change, I was seeing it on my HDR monitor. We also had to do one of the voice-over sessions, episode 8, in lockdown with Mike Colter, the VO artist. We recorded it in his child’s closet – we managed to get him some new technology and he recorded it to his iPhone. He was great to work with and very invested in the subject – he plays Luke Cage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” As with all Netflix programming, there are no running audience figures and so nothing to measure audience feedback, apart from the echo chamber of social media, which is best ignored. But the drama genre of Tiny Creatures could expand to other parts of the world, and because there’s no synch, it means it’s possible for audiences around the world to enjoy the lives of these curious critters. TINY CREATURES IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX WORLDWIDE AND IS PRODUCED IN THE UK BY EMBER, BLACKFIN AND MOMENTUM

SEPTEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 27

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