Growing Up Animal. Wall to Wall, National Geographic & Disney+
May 16th, 2022

Growing Up Animal features heart-warming stories of baby animals on the magical journey from the mysteries of the womb to the challenges in the wild. Each episode sees the incredible transformation of a different iconic animal. RED worked with the wildlife documentary filmmakers of National Geographic’s docuseries sharing how they pushed the boundaries of their craft and the technology used to get the shot to capture their magical moments. Experience of the filmmaker's work and the risks they take to bring these baby animals’ stories to the screen in this collection of stories.


Episode 1: A Baby Grizzly's Story


Brown Bears by Boat, with Director of Photography Matthew Hood

“We filmed from a boat with the RED Helium mounted in the Cineflex on a jib arm to get the camera as low to the water as possible. This setup allowed us to give movement to the shots and the low angle helped to bring the audience eye to eye with the grizzlies and into their world. We knew we had to put in many hours to tell the story properly, which meant long days on the boat waiting for those little slices of life that reveal what it means to be a young grizzly cub. Having the ability to pre-roll on the Helium was a crucial piece in capturing intimate moments between a mother and her cubs. We shot much of the film between 48fps and 75fps, which helped to slow down those little moments and give them a longer presence on screen for the viewer to absorb.” - DOP Matthew Hood

We would like to express our warmest gratitude to the Tsimshian community for allowing us into their territory for this project.

DOP Matthew Hood
DOP Jeff Turne
DOP Sam Elli
Additional Photography, Beau Llewellyn

Boat Crew:
Production Assistance, Phil Timpany, Nakina Adventures

BC Parks

Dr. Fakhar-I-Abbas
Dr. Dave Garshelis

Episode 2: A Baby Sea Lion's Story


Growing Up Animal: Orcas Hunting Steller Sea Lions, with Director of Photography Justin Maguire…

“After our first shoot without seeing any Orca, we knew how important it would be to see and film them by the time of our last trip. Our daily schedule aboard our boat was up at first light to start the daily schedule of orca spotting. It was almost completely dark outside as I made my way from my cabin up to deck, the first thin line of dawn on the horizon mirrored on a calm sea. And in that moment, the stillness of the reflection was broken by none other than the dorsal fin of an orca! It was quickly followed by others. The orca pod was circling the boat and keeping close. That morning at anchor we were not alone. In fact, it was the continuation of a most extraordinary couple of days spent with these animals as they hunted. We had an amazing 36 hours with his family! How lucky I felt, as I’m sure did all the crew.” - DOP Justin Maguire

…and Camera Operator Ryan Tidman

“Our crew relied heavily on RED cameras due to their immense adaptability. We chose the #HELIUM8K for the Cineflex gimbal for its substantial sensor size to ensure we had the opportunity to adjust framing options to work within post-production. The team also used the #GEMINI5K for filming in low light conditions at dawn and dusk. While working with elusive wildlife like the orca, one always needs to allow themselves to film early in the morning and late into the night. Filming in the RED ecosystem makes it easy to offload and back up at the end of the day. We were always able to download quickly and securely, giving us more time to rest before orca watch the next day.” - Photographer, Ryan Tidman

DOP Justin Maguire
DOP Ian McAllister
Additional Photography, Ryan Tidman

Boat Crew, Dave Bell
Boat Crew, Hayley Crozier
Boat Crew, Marlie Temple
Boat Crew, Cheri Herbert
Boat Crew, Carmen Daigle
Fixer, River Road Films

Pacific Wild

Dr. Carrie Goertz, Alaska Sealife Center

Dr. Gregg Adams
Dr. Michelle R. Shero
Dr. Kathy Burek Huntington
Dr. Amy Bishop
Dr. Takanori Horimoto
Dr. John M. Maniscalco
Michael J. Rehberg
Wakana Yamada

James R.D. Scott

Episode 3: A Baby Elephant's Story


Growing Up Animal: Baby Elephant Stuck In The Mud, with Director of Photography Alex Vail

“We were filming the herd next to a boggy watering hole when the ever-curious baby Arya decided a little mud bath might be fun and slipped into the pool. She initially seemed to quite enjoy the mud, but her mother and the matriarch knew babies can get dangerously stuck and raced to her aid, sloshing away the mud and pushing her out onto dry land with their huge legs. The pre-roll, compact size, and huge dynamic range of the RED #GEMINI5K made it the go-to camera to capture the action on this shoot.” - DOP Alex Vail

DOP Alex Vail
DOP Max Kölbl
DOP Louis Labrom-Brown
DOP Bobby Neptune

Location Facilitator, Namib Film
Location Producer, Red Earth Fixers
Production Assistance: Erinid Private Game Reserve

Conservation Research
Dr Med Vet Barbara Drews, ETH Zurich
Dr. Imke Lueders
Dr. Angela Stoeger Howarth
Dr. Fiona Stansfield
Prof. Michael Garstang
Veronika Beeck
Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone

Episode 4: A Baby Wild Dog's Story


Growing Up Animal: Wild Dogs on the Run, with Director of Photography Louis Labrom-Brown

“Filming African Wild Dogs was always going to be a challenge. But we hadn't anticipated just how rough the terrain was that they could navigate with ease and at speed. In order to capture the action, we deployed the gyro stabilised #GSS516 combined with the @reddigitalcinema #GEMINI5K and @Canon #CN20 which not only allowed us to track them on the move, but also by utilising the low light capabilities of the #GEMINI5K, film them either side of the sunset and sunrise with a wide variety of frame rates and focal lengths. The amazing low light performance of the #GEMINI5K made it the go to camera and the #GSS516 was essential in navigating the difficult terrain.”

DOP Louis Labrom-Brown
DOP Kim Wolhuter
DOP Neil Fairlie
DOP Bobby Neptune
DOP Alex Warham
Aerial, Dillan Prinsloo

Supported by Nick Murray
Fixer Zimbabwe, Catherine Blinston
Fixer Kenya, Red Earth Fixers

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

Dr. Jasmine Fusi
Dr. Vicki Meyers-Wallen
Prof. Henk Bertschinger
Hallie "Reena" Walker
Frankie Jackson
Daniel Chavez
Canine Embryology Atlas/Cornell University
Cole Du Plessis/Endangered Wildlife Trust

Episode 5: A Baby Chimp's Story


Growing Up Animal: Youngest Baby Chimp Ever Filmed, with Producer Nick Smith-Baker

“We were on the hunt for a very special event. Max and I had been following a heavily pregnant chimp through the forests of Uganda for nearly a month. According to the scientists, she was overdue, but she was working to her own schedule. Filming chimps is a challenge; their rainforest home is a contrasting mix of dark shadows and bright clearings and the chimps themselves move fast, walking more than 10 km a day through thick vegetation. That requires a camera that can perform in low light but must also be tough enough to meet the rigours of such a demanding environment. The RED #GEMINI5K fitted the bill perfectly, meaning that when she did finally give birth, Max was able to capture truly intimate images of the first hours in the life of a new-born chimpanzee, which had never been done in the wild before.” – Producer Nick Smith-Baker

DOP Max Kölbl
DOP Bill Wallauer
Aerial Camera, Geoffrey Mulongo
Fixer Ayubu Kasasa Mago

Uganda Wildlife Authority
Paddy Musiime
Kibale Chimpanzee Project
Kibale National Park

Dr Emily Otali
Dr Zarin Machanda
Dr. Elliott Simpson, Aquila Veterinary Services

Episode 6: A Baby Lion's Story


Growing Up Animal: Sleeping Lions, with Director of Photography Russell MacLaughlin

“Working with lions takes a lot of patience when they are sleeping up to 20 hours of the day, so it’s crucial that you have the right kit to capture the right shots and that’s where the RED #HELIUM8K paired with our Canon CN20 on our Miller Skyline 70 on a modified wildlife filming vehicle put us in the right places at the right time. Lions really do test your patience but nothing can me more exhilarating than watching them strategically hunt, but my absolute favourite is their family bond and how the prides dynamics work in order to survive and bringing up the next generation.” - DOP Russell MacLaughlin

DOP Russell MacLaughlin

Professor Dr Thomas Hildebrandt
Dr Craig Packer
Dr Natalia Borrego

In Utero Models


Growing Up Animal: Homemade Underwater Housings, with Director of Photography David Barlow

“We filmed all our in-utero models in a hemispherical tank of warm water, so had to waterproof our kit to move around the models. We opted for the Laowa probe lens as it was narrow and the business end is already made to be waterproof. However, it is short and the camera end of the lens is not waterproof and neither is the camera, #REDDRAGON #DSMC2. We swamped one lens early in the shoot and it had to return to China for repair - it was nearly six months before it came back, far too long for a shoot already delayed shoot by COVID. So I had to get another one and that survived! The end result was a real ‘Heath Robinson’ mix of a plastic bottle with the bottom cut out and a jacket of heavy-duty plastic bags all held together with duct tape and self-amalgamating tape. It took so long to put together and test to make sure it WAS waterproof that we then never removed it for the next 5 months of production!” - DOP David Barlow

DOP David Barlow

In utero models made by Lifecast UK
Lead sculptor, Eugene Bizarre
Lead paint artist, Dordi Moen


All 6 episodes of #GrowingUpAnimal are now streaming on Disney+.

Special thanks to:
Wall To Wall
Warner Brothers Production UK
Narrator: Tracee Ellis Ross
Composer: Laurentia Editha
Music Studio, Bleeding Fingers Music