Jamie McPherson Interview: ‘Our Planet’ cinematographer
Veteran nature cinematographer Jamie McPherson “couldn’t not be involved” with “Our Planet.” Netflix‘s eight-part documentary series narrated by David Attenborough takes viewers through some of nature’s greatest wonders, so he was intrigued by the “huge scope” of the series and “the stories they wanted to tell,” which had “conservation at the heart of it.” Watch our exclusive video interview with McPherson above.
McPherson traveled around the globe for the show, and everywhere he went he was tasked with capturing the native wildlife in a unique way. For instance, in the opening episode, “One Planet,” he shot wild dogs and wildebeests in the African Serengeti and “wanted to show people what it was like to be on the hunt with a pack of wild dogs,” he explains. It’s “an amazing thing in itself. You see them running, they’re so fast; they’ll run at 40 miles an hour across the roughest terrain you can imagine.”
In order to capture the feeling of racing with the dogs, “we took a helicopter-mounted camera and put it onto a vehicle” and drove alongside the pack. “The idea was to make people feel like they’re with the dogs when they’re on the hunt, so it’s very dynamic, very exciting, and it’s very difficult.”
All that hard work was in the service of a message about the dangers of climate change. McPherson credits the producers with finding stories that “showcase these amazing environments that we’ve got.” He adds, “We need to save these places. We need people to be excited by seeing desert elephants and realize there’s so few left in the world.”
McPherson won News and Documentary Emmys for “One Life” in 2014 and “Human Planet” in 2012, and was additionally nominated for “Nature” in 2010. He also received a BAFTA TV nomination for “Wye: Voices from the Valley” in 2008. And he has worked on other such shows as “The Hunt,” “Natural World,” and “Life Story.”