BTS: How National Geographic Captured a Cheetah Running at Full Speed

Back in June, a National Geographic crew was given the task of filming and photographing a cheetah running at full speed. While there are plenty of videos and photos out there showing this, the magazine wanted to track alongside the cheetah as it ran (rather than simply capture it from a fixed location). The short behind-the-scenes video above shows how they went about doing this.

Basically, they spent a good deal of time and effort building a giant 410-foot dolly track. This allowed them to pull a camera quickly alongside the running subject — much like those cameras and tracks we saw this past summer at the London 2012 Olympics.

A tricky aspect of the build was that the entire track needed to be precisely made and extremely smooth, lest the resulting imagery be degraded by vibration and wobbling.

The crew ended up capturing the whole thing using a Phanton high-speed camera for super-slow-mo footage, and three Canon 1D X DSLRs for high-FPS still photographs as well.

Sadly, the magazine didn’t provide any look at what the final slow-motion video or burst-mode photos look like. To see what they captured, you’ll need to pick up the November digital edition of National Geographic off a digital newsstand near you when it’s released next month.

(via National Geographic via Doobybrain)

Update: Here’s the resulting slow-motion video:

Image credits: Video and stills by National Geographic magazine.

  • sierrarobba

    1DX c and still we dont have it.

  • brandon

    they aren’t sharing the footage? what? punks. also, that dolly didn’t look all that smooth to me.

  • Alwayshavelikedcheetas

    I’m no gearhead. Thanks for trying to catch a cheetah at speed.
    They got the shot-we’re talking about it.

  • Carin Basson

    Any idea where they filmed this?

    From the earlier shots it looked like they weren’t pulling the lure fast enough, it’s amazing to see the speed as the rig flashed past the stationary cameraman.

  • lasitajs

    I know this is kind of cool and all, but millions of children go to sleep hungry every night while we enlist so much talent and money into this rather anti-climactic video.

  • TheBrain

    Than why are you wasting your time on a Photo Technology site, go feed them.

  • lasitajs

    You should change your name to “no brain” and no heart.

  • perceptionalreality

    “This video has been removed by the user.” :(

  • Ferdinand Alexander

    What makes you think a human is more important than a dog, a cat or even an insect? It is nothing but belief passed down over generations. It is this kind of self-aggrandized thinking that is killing off hundreds of thousands of other species on this planet. By the way, humans blow billions on many other silly events, Rose Parade, Dancing with the Stars, SuperBowl, etc. So what! Kids have been starving for years and there always will be starving kids. Cheetahs will more than likely because of us be gone in the next 15 or 20 years. Maybe then you’ll be happy.