Of Happy Feet and Penguin-Cams: An Intimate, Incredible Glimpse into the Lives of Penguins

by Carolyn Sotka

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Photos by Frederique Olivier and CatersNews

Marine biologist and photographer Frederique Olivier and wildlife documentary producer John Downer have spent countless seasons in the Antarctic filming the lives of penguins from never seen before angles. In this series of shots reminiscent of the movie “Happy Feet”, Dr. Olivier has captured the flightless Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) mid-air as they ‘leap’ out of the water onto the ice.

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Photos by Frederique Olivier and CatersNews

Olivier teamed up with John Downer Productions to film emperor penguins using a robotic penguins and fake eggs with hidden cameras for a 24-7 glimpse into the life of penguins.

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The stealth penguin-cam, one of over 50 penguins, eggs and rocks deployed by Olivier and Downer

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The result was the wonderful 2013 BBC episode “Spy in the Huddle” but also loads of additional b-roll was filmed from penguins behaving badly and having ‘wild sex’ to intimate moments such as grieving over lost mates or taking care of the chicks.

Two film shorts that stand out are probably the first ever shot; one of penguin ‘bloopers’ and the other an aerial view of the penguin colony – shot by a bird of prey.

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Watch the rest of the touching and funny footage at John Downer Productions YouTube page.

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