A Real Bugs Life


A Real Bugs Life

a new series for Disney+ featuring pioneering macro cinematography

An exciting adventure through 9 bug worlds around the globe seeing the world through the eyes of these mini beasts

Disney+ / Plimsoll Productions

A Busy Farm


Director: Alex Hemingway
DoP: Robert Hollingworth
Focus Puller / 1st AC: Henry Keep
Production Designer: Jamie Andrews
Grip: Dave Brice
Gaffer: Ryan Brazier
Additional Photography (in alphabetical order): Dale Hudson, Jake Morris, Nathan Small, John Waters, Chris Watts
Animal Handlers (in alphabetical order): Mark AmeyDr Tim Cockerill, Lucia Chmurova, Graham and Janice Smith & Chris Timmins
Studio Facilities: Haddenham Studio, Farm Studio & Aardman Animations


Big City


Director: Alex Ranken
DoP: Simon de Glanville
Additional Photography: Robert Hollingworth, Nathan Small
Camera Assistant: Alec Davy, Dale Hudson, Mark Langbehn
Focus Puller: Henry Keep
Production Designer: Jamie Andrews
Studio Facilities: Haddenham Studio, Farm Studio & Aardman Animations


Macro Gantry on set of A Real Bugs Life
Source 4 lights on set at Aardman Animations

Frames from the Farm

Cameras used included; Sony Venice, RED Gemini, Kinefinity MAVO LF, VEO 4k

Crafting the look

Setting the look and feel for the Farm was key at the outset which involved testing and selecting a lens kit to work from, and also a LUT for the day and night scenes.

We settled on Mamiya 645 Cine primes for the wide angle shots for their tack sharp, yet creamy gentle nature which suited the palette of the Farm for example here at golden hour on the iconic 80mm ‘Dark Knight’ lens.



Filming took place from early 2021 to the end of 2022 on location and in controlled environments to capture the breadth and depth of life on the Farm capturing everything from the smallest Aphid to the widest establishing shots, seen here with Dave Brice and his crane complete with Ronin2 and Venice camera package.


Capturing the scenes in the film relys heavily on two things: the incredible skill of our entomologists / animal experts and the precision technology used to scale down the glossy dramatic camera techniques into the world where a blade of grass is a sky-scraper.

Motion Control

The motion control gantry – a custom built 4 axis ‘robot’ designed to move cameras such as the RED Raptor, Venice and VEO with the ease of flying a drone, all while equipped with macro lenses.  This gantry is the product of 6 years of itterative designs first starting out as a working prototype on One Strange Rock (Nat Geo). It’s a collaboration with industry-leading eMotimo and Robert Hollingworth and created purely for macro wildlife cinematography.

Macro Gantry motion control


Next up is lighting and the innovations of LED technology with it’s reduced IR emmittence enabling better animal husbandry and behaviour at the lens stops and frame rates we so often use.  However, with LEDs getting bigger and brighter the heat has crept back in so additional technology is now used to further remove this.

This is where the innovative fibre optics lights come. into play – flicker free over 1000 fps and exceptionally bright with zero heat output, and all on the scale of the little heroes we are filming.


Stills from the set

Portraits of life on set, shot with Ilford 3200 and Porta 800 on Mamiya RZ67 ProII


Haddenham Studio

The Farm

Aardman Animations & Farm Studio

Plimsoll Productions

Read more about the production company behind the series


Read more about the team