Life on Our Planet


From executive producer Steven Spielberg and the Emmy® Award-winning team behind Our Planet, this is the story of Life on Our Planet.

Silverback Films

Time lapse photography 

Filmed on location at Ventnor Botanic Gardens I designed a built a 10m square XYZ motion control gantry with a pan and tilt head, with focus to capture time lapses of the giant water lily flowering.

The 6 axis motion control system spanned the pond allowing for fluid motion both in time lapse (Nikon D800) and live action (RED).  

The whole environment was lit for night in a way that enabled me to reactively capture whichever flower was due to open regardless of where it was in the pond.


We filmed with a variety of Nikon prime lenses and live action was filmed both above and below water using the waterproof probe lens, all without re-rigging over the camera since I was able to drop the camera into the water on the Z axis of the gantry.

the giant water lily opens at night falls…

complex and dynamic camera moves were quick to setup to capture different shots as the flower opened…

moving from a wide to a XCU, with an orbit thrown in and focus pull was quick to setup and run with the design of this system, in fact every shot could feel as if it were being filmed on a mini drone

it’s all in the planning…

I designed the custom rig months before the shoot to ensure I could cover all the possible areas of action both in time lapse and live action.  A scale drawing was done and then parts of the system custom-built where required.

I collaborated with Brian Burling of eMotimo who supplied an early St4 unit with some new firmware to enable the shots we were planning.


Ventnor Botanical Gardens

Silverback Films

Read more about the production company

Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Visit the gardens