The polar bear's investigative and often destructive nature required a device that was polar bear proof. Snowball cam was the solution. Its large spherical shape prevented bears from getting a firm bite or hold. Its tough reinforced shell protected it from most polar bear encounters making it perfect for front line filming. Snowball Cam has no visible moving parts but was able to roll across most terrains, even up hill. It could also film on the roll thanks to a self-leveling high definition camera. Having the ability to dock and undock from Blizzard Cam was essential for safe and effective deployment into the thick of the action.
Drift Cams were specifically designed to film autonomously without the need for a camera crew. Drift Cams are triggered by detecting infrared heat. Their sensitivity could detect a polar bear from a distance of 50 metres. Once deployed, they can remain in standby for up to a week, even at minus 30. This proved crucial for filming mother and cubs emerging from their maternity dens. Each Drift Cam was fitted with a solar powered satellite phone that alerted the crew every time it was triggered. Drift Cams made it possible to capture the emergence even when the crew was snowed in by severe blizzards.
Designed to operate in extreme arctic environments ranging from the perilous sea ice, frozen glacial fjords and treacherous snow covered mountains. Speed and stealth was achieved by its two powerful electric motors that quietly propel it on skis to 40 mph.
Blizzard Cam’s robust camera turret was designed to resist temperatures below minus 30 degrees C. The onboard high definition camera was remotely operated over a distance of 1 km. The very real threat of attack from polar bears was thwarted by an onboard decoy device "Snowball Cam". This could be deployed remotely from Blizzard Cam for front line camera operations, allowing the more vulnerable Blizzard Cam to retreat from dangerous situations.
For the bears on the sea ice, a very different spycam was needed. Iceberg Cam was designed to blend seamlessly amongst the ice flows. It’s powerful thrusters produced enough speed to keep up with swimming bears. Iceberg Cam was decked out with two cameras for above and below water filming. This remarkable spycam captured revelatory footage of hunting and scavenging polar bears in breathtaking detail never before seen.
Thousands of world-class natural history videos from BBC programmes.Watch polar bears in action
An adult polar bear
An adult polar bear takes a dip
A polar bear cub
Polar bear mother and her two cubs
- David Tennant
- John Downer
- Philip Dalton