Filming animals in the wild is notoriously difficult, as documentary makers can spend weeks waiting for that elusive shot. Filming outdoors, in typically difficult surveillance conditions presents an extra challenge, and since many animals travel or feed under the cover of darkness, film crews need to make sure the footage they capture at night is every bit as dynamic and effective as that they capture during the day.
The BBC recently aired a documentary entitled "Great Rift." The program focuses on the diverse wildlife in Africa's vast Great Rift Valley and in particular on a troop of approximately 100 baboons who have made their homes inside hollow volcanic lava tubes along the rift. These lava tubes protect for the baboons from predators, particularly big cats which will prowl the baron landscape in search of prey.
Filmed in June 2009, the BBC crew used 10 of Bosch's IR illuminators for the Great Rift documentary. The crew installed the illuminators inside the lava tubes when the baboons left to feed, then crawled inside and awaited their return. Working in such dark and cramped conditions proved quite a challenge, but the illuminators made the film crew's commitment worthwhile, enabling them to capture previously unseen video footage of baboons in their natural habitat. As an added bonus the crew were also able to film the nocturnal behavior of a large colony of bats which also inhabit the lava tubes.
Bosch's illuminators were selected because they are compact and discreet and powerful enough to enable broadcast quality night-time filming. Series Producer Phil Chapman said, "With HD programs like Great Rift, image quality is all important. The degree of detail in our IR material was outstanding, you can see the fine detail of the baboons' fur and even tiny parasites crawling on the foot of a baby bat."