Client: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA
Background: The Carnegie is currently hosting a traveling exhibit, "Explore Evolution," and one of their most prominent paleontologists - Chris Beard - had made a discovery that the museum wanted to highlight alongside the traveling exhibit.
In addition to the display cases detailing Chris's work with micromonkeys, literally tiny prehistoric monkeys that could fit in the palm of your hand, the museum wanted to install a video with Chris talking about why his discovery was so significant to our understanding of evolution.
This was a really exciting project for us to work on, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that paleontology is just cool. The museum was fantastic and gave us an extraordinary level of access to their facilities and their fossils. And Chris, who is only stateside long enough to resupply before heading back out in search of more tiny anthropoid fossils, was kind enough to spend half a day with us filming.
The location behind the shots of Chris is the museum's "Little Bone Room," where they catalogue the smaller fossils they have discovered, which we thought made a pretty interesting and topical backdrop to his discussion about his discovery.
The micromonkey fossils in the comparative shots are the actual fossils, not casts, which was really cool; doubly so when Chris told us that foreign governments don't usually let paleontologists bring the actual fossils out of the country in which they were discovered. Because of the level of significance of his work, an exception was made for Chris.
My one regret is that we did not bring our T2i with us on the shoot. The shots we have of the micromonkey fossils are very nice, but the HVX-200's minimum focal length became something of a hindrance when we were trying to showcase fine details on the fossils. I think the T2i, outfitted with a macro lens would have helped give us much more richly detailed images of the micromonkey jaws, which actually could both fit on the head of a penny.
Overall, this was a great experience and, if you're in the Pittsburgh area between now and July 24, 2011, stop by the museum and check out the exhibit in person.
Shot with an HVX-200 and a 1 meter GlideTrack dolly system.