Biopixel boasts five big-screen features in 2023

Global concern for changing environments has seen an increase in the production of natural history programming by major streaming platforms like Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and SBS On Demand. As a result, a range of large-scale productions have recently hit our screens.

Reefshot, Nature’s Wild Laboratories, Life on Our Planet, Planet Earth III and Incredible Animal Journeys are among the most-anticipated natural history releases of 2023, each featuring world-class stock vision from leading film and production company, Biopixel.

Sitting down with Biopixel’s Richard Fitzpatrick and Hannah Robertson, we are taken behind the scenes to discover what it takes to deliver top-tier natural history content for five major documentary series.

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1. Reefshot (May 2023)

Reefshot is a Stan Original Documentary that shares the incredible true story of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a group of conservationists, scientists, Traditional Owners and everyday citizens, working together to protect one of Earth’s most important icons, the Great Barrier Reef.

Biopixel was commissioned to shoot several underwater sequences, showcasing the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef team in action, as well as supplying a plethora of footage from Biopixel’s stunning stock footage library.

Reefshot is available to watch on Stan. See the trailer.

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2. Islands: Nature’s Wild Laboratories (July 2023)

Reefshot Islands is a stunning wildlife documentary series that takes viewers deep inside totally unique ecosystems; the wild, freewheeling laboratories of mother nature.

Biopixel’s Richard Fitzpatrick and Roxanne Abba spent many weeks on K’gari (previously referred to Fraser Island) over the course of two expeditions – a long drive from Biopixel’s base in Cairns. This shoot utilised all of Biopixel’s diverse camera kits (including the 1000mm Canon long lens on both the RED 8K Helium camera and the Phantom 4K high-speed system) which allowed the team to get amazing close-ups of dingo and sea eagle behaviour. The pair also used a range of underwater equipment to film the unique freshwater environments of K’gari, as well as various drone systems to film some spectacular aerials.

“One of the most challenging shoots was filming acid frogs under the full moon using low light systems. It provided us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase Biopixel’s terrestrial capabilities, when we are often mainly known for our marine filming,” says Richard Fitzpatrick, Co-Founder and Director of Photography, Biopixel.

Islands is available to watch on Sky Nature in the UK. See the trailer.

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3. Life on Our Planet (October 2023)

Produced by Steven Spielberg and narrated by Morgan Freeman, Life on Our Planet is a groundbreaking nature docuseries that shares life’s extraordinary journey to conquer, adapt and survive on Earth across billions of years.

Biopixel supplied the sea turtle stock footage for Chapter Four: In Cold Blood and did a number of specific shoots for the video too. The scene that depicts pterodactyls preying on baby sea turtles was originally shot with sea birds which were transformed by visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), post-production using computer-generated imagery (CGI).

“It was a massive thrill for the Biopixel team to know that ILM, the wizards behind every Star Wars movie, would be replacing our sea birds hunting turtle hatchlings, with flying dinosaurs. Top that off with Morgan Freeman narrating over your footage, and Life on Our Planet was definitely one for the history book for us,” says Fitzpatrick.

Life on Our Planet is available to watch on Netflix. See the trailer.

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4. Planet Earth III (October 2023)

Planet Earth III is a British nature docuseries starring Sir David Attenborough as he embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the planet Earth, documenting some of the world’s most amazing species.

Episode 1: Coasts sees various sequences of green sea turtles and some of the work being done as part of the Raine Island Recovery Project, which is dedicated to restoring the world’s largest green sea turtling nesting area. Biopixel is proud to have been documenting this government-backed project since its inception almost ten years ago and was able to provide stock footage as the basis for the sequences shown in the film.

Planet Earth III is available to watch on BBC UK and is coming soon to Channel 9 in Australia. Watch the trailer.

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5. Incredible Animal Journeys (November 2023)

Incredible Animal Journeys takes us along some of the greatest transglobal migrations and adventures undertaken by species around the world. Through danger and doubt, peril and perseverance, hardships and homecomings, we see that some journeys last a lifetime, and they all begin with a first step.

The Biopixel team spent a month in the waters surrounding Raine Island, filming a number of highly technical sequences to complement existing Biopixel stock vision of the migratory story of the green sea turtle and tiger sharks. Bringing together Biopixel’s scientific background and filmmaking expertise, the team were even able to mount cameras to the back of tiger sharks as they swam by. The success of these deployments to film natural shark behaviour, is now being rolled out to more expeditions and species by the Biopixel Oceans Foundation team.

“The chance to be innovative in our approach to filming, really highlights the strength and execution of the Biopixel ethos, which is all about bringing together the science and research with documentary filmmaking,” says Hannah Robertson, Head of Production and Operations, Biopixel.

Incredible Animal Journeys is available to watch on BBC Earth, Disney+ and Hulu. See the trailer.

With so many years of the team’s hard work hitting screens of late, Biopixel and the Soda Group are looking forward to the production and collaboration opportunities that present in 2024. The Biopixel team will continue to create world-class content, filming for the stock footage library and documenting their new and ongoing research projects through the Biopixel Oceans Foundation.

This will play into Biopixel’s mission to promote the uniqueness, diversity and conservation of nature through the development of entertaining, engaging and educational content of the highest quality.

About Biopixel

Biopixel is one of Australia’s leading production service providers for natural history and animal behavioural sequences. We seek to promote the uniqueness, diversity and conservation of nature by delivering entertaining, engaging and educational visual content of the highest quality. Since 2013, our team of highly skilled cinematographers, marine scientists, researchers and experts have leveraged state-of-the-art technology and equipment to capture high-definition content for globally renowned clients and our own stock library – the largest digital library of Indo-Pacific marine life.