Fujifilm Optical Division Blog

Welcome to part two of our Q&A with one of the world's premier wildlife cinematographers, Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, also known simply as Andy Casagrande.

We all know you are the camera-rig-master. What’s your latest?

I'm always trying to find ways to film wildlife from new and different perspectives. My latest gadgets include compact aerial quad-copter drones equipped with micro-gimbals and GPS-enabled flight support. These little drones are amazing and allow me to capture unique perspectives from the air, but at a tenth of the cost of a real helicopter…and they are so fun to fly! I have to admit, I have had a few crashes, but I'd much rather crash my quad-copter than a real helicopter.

Shark Week is always one of the biggest and most anticipated TV events of the year. This year, you worked on several programs, including “Spawn of Jaws,” “Top 10 Sharkdown,” “Serial Killer,” and “Sharkpocalypse.” What were you biggest professional accomplishments, lessons learned, and favorite moments?

Shark Week is what I live for! Ever since I was a kid, I have been watching Shark Week and every year it just keeps getting better. This year, I had the opportunity to work on four different projects; all were different and all were a lot of fun. In "Sharkpocalypse," I was able to attach my "SharkFinCam" system to the dorsal fins of Great White Sharks and Tiger Sharks in Africa and the Bahamas. This captured a very unique hunting perspective, directly from the Shark's dorsal fin, giving the viewer the exact POV of what it's like to hunt alongside some of the world's greatest marine predators. It was awesome!

Do you think, because of your great love and admiration for sharks, that you take a different approach to filming them than some other cinematographers? If so, how?

There are many wildlife cinematographers out there, but not that many that specialize in sharks. I definitely try my best to film sharks with a different mindset. Depending on the shot, I might act like prey in order to get the sharks to "chase" me, and sometimes I act like a predator if I'm looking for a competitive perspective. Whatever it is I'm looking to capture on film, I 100% always respect the sharks and look to present them in the most glorious light!

Tell us about Shark Angels.

Shark Angels is an amazing shark conservation organization. You can learn more about it here.

If you had to give one piece of sage lens advice to a rookie wildlife cinematographer, what would it be?

Always keep your lens clean! And protect the glass with your life! ;-)

To learn more about Andy’s work, visit his website: http://www.abc4explore.com/

Posted: 9/17/2013 12:26:40 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, also known simply as Andy Casagrande, is one of the world's premier wildlife cinematographers, who has shot award-winning wildlife documentaries, television commercials and feature films. He’s also a friend to Fujifilm Optical Devices. Despite his busy schedule, which includes wildlife filming across the world, he took some time to talk to us about his life, his work and his love of Fujinon lenses.

Fujinon: We follow you on Twitter…you are constantly posting photos from your wild adventures. What are some of the projects you’ve been working on this year?

ABC4: I've been very busy this year with various wildlife films around the globe, from Alaska & the Bahamas to Palau & New Zealand, on to South Africa & Australia. I have been working on a number of Shark films for the BBC, National Geographic & Discovery's Shark Week.

Fujinon: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced shooting this year?

ABC4: The overall biggest challenge this year has simply been scheduling! I never seem to have enough time to fit everything in! I've been trying to figure out a way to clone myself so that I can work everywhere at any time. Considering my wife, Emma, and I are having our first baby boy this September, maybe that is exactly the clone I have been waiting for!

Fujinon: Congratulations! Looks like a lot has changed since we last interviewed you. At that time, you’d been using the Fujinon 25x lens to capture footage of polar bears in the Arctic. Have you tested out any of the new lenses?

ABC4: I have been very lucky to have tested out the new Fujinon 19-90mm T2.9 Cabrio PL mount lens, which is a stunning piece of glass…super compact digital zoom and captures razor sharp images with an amazing range. I love it!!!

Fujinon: Speaking of polar bears, you tend to put yourself right on the frontlines of some of the most dangerous animal territories known to man. Lions, sharks, cheetahs…these are challenging subjects, to say the least. Do you have tricks for prepping your equipment so you can get “the shot” and get out of Dodge quickly if need be?

ABC4: The trick to filming "dangerous" wildlife is doing your research and always being ready for the unexpected. Whether it's King Cobras or Killer Whales, Great White Sharks or Grizzly Bears, you must always understand each animal’s specific behaviors. Every animal has its own unique personality – some sharks are "nice" and some are "not-so-nice" – and being able to understand which ones might try to bite you and which ones just want to "cuddle" is very, VERY important! I always do my homework and do my best to understand every possible scenario when it comes to getting close and getting the shot!

Stay tuned for Part II of this interview to learn more about Andy’s work with sharks, and creating new rigs.

Posted: 9/4/2013 11:21:14 AM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


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