Working with National Geographic

When National Geographic USA approached me requesting my assistance to help them make a film about predators in the eastern Carpathians, of course I jumped at the chance. This was part of a larger project called the Secret Life of Predators filmed in several locations around the globe. I am always looking for opportunities to raise awareness about Romania's bio-diverse ecosystems as 65% of Europe's remaining virgin forests can be found here, supporting all the top predators/carnivores/omnivores including lynx, wolf and bear. NAT GEO were also interested in the coexistence between man and predator in the context of a stunningly beautiful and natural environment.

Filming with National Geographic
Shane Moore (NAT GEO) with tracker Gál László looking on
I have to say we were very impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the NAT GEO crew, and the endless hours they put in everyday to gain the best footage for their documentary. We can also see why they are so fit, as the amount of equipment they carry on their backs was quite phenomenal!

National Geographic cameramen preparing for another shoot
NAT GEO cameramen carrying their equipment into the forest
Shane Moore - Demonstrating steady cam
Shane Moore (NAT GEO) demonstrating use of Steadicam with a Canon 5D
We have been in fabulous company with cameraman Shane Moore, who has worked on many infamous projects such as 'Planet Earth' with David Attenborough (BBC); 'Deadliest Catch' (Discovery); and 'Survival with Ray Mears'. This documentary will go a long way in highlighting the uniqueness of the flora and fauna of the Carpathian region.

Shane Moore - Cameraman
Shane Moore (Cameraman)
Talking to transhumance shepherds gives you a good indication of local bear and wolf activity, as these hardy men and their dogs have regular interactions with predators whilst protecting their livestock. Because they live outdoors from April to October (24/7), they are the local eyes and ears on the ground. As they spend most of their day watching sheep, mostly in silence, this was a good opportunity for them to have a chat and show the NAT GEO guys how they live around their transitory camp. This shepherd was demonstrating how he gets into his sleeping hut which was only slightly bigger than a coffin! However, this enables him to be close to his sheep at night and if the dogs raise the alarm to an approaching predator, he can be on his feet within seconds.

Jon Betz filming Transhumant Shepherd
Jon Betz (NAT GEO cameraman) filming transhumance shepherd demonstrating sleeping arrangements
NAT GEO - Transhumant Shepherd
John Cullum (NAT GEO producer) and Jon Betz (NAT GEO cameraman) with transhumance shepherd
National Geographic - Setting up
NAT GEO film crew setting up for a shoot
Shane Moore - National Geographic
Shane Moore (NAT GEO) filming in mountain stream