National Geographic’s series “Queens” represents a groundbreaking venture into the wild, telling the stories of nature’s matriarchs through the lens of an all-female production team. From the savannas of Africa to the icy realms of the Arctic, “Queens” delves into the lives of animal kingdom’s leading ladies, showcasing their roles as leaders, protectors, and providers.
This series is a celebration not only of the animal queens but also of the remarkable women behind the camera, including Erin Ranney, a wildlife camerawoman with a passion for the natural world and an eye for capturing its most intimate moments.
All-Female Production Powerhouse
What sets “Queens” apart is its commitment to an all-female production team. This choice was deliberate, aiming to bring a fresh perspective to wildlife filmmaking. From the producers and directors to the National Geographic Explorers and nature experts, to the camerawomen like Ranney who captured it all, women were at the forefront of this ambitious project. This unique approach offered new insights and sensibilities in portraying the lives of animal matriarchs, highlighting the strength, intelligence, and nurturing roles they play within their communities.
Behind the Scenes with Erin Ranney
The role of the nature and wildlife camerawomen like Ranney in “Queens” was pivotal. With over two and a half years spent filming wildlife across the globe, her dedication to the series is evident. Ranney’s approach to wildlife cinematography is deeply personal. She views the camera as an extension of her connection to nature, a tool that allows her to explore and share the intricacies of the natural world without intruding upon it.
In the exclusive video clip shared here, Ranney expresses that her work on “Queens” was not just a job but an opportunity to grow as a camerawoman and to engage with cutting-edge technology that enabled her to capture the essence of her subjects.
Exceptional Equipment for Exceptional Shots
The technology Ranney mentions in the clip, particularly the Red cameras and Canon CN20 lens, played a crucial role in the production of “Queens.” These pieces of equipment are celebrated for their advanced features and capabilities, enabling cinematographers to film with unprecedented clarity and flexibility.
The Red camera, known for its high resolution and dynamic range, offers filmmakers the ability to capture detailed and vibrant images in a variety of lighting conditions. Its Helium 8K sensor, in particular, provides an extraordinary level of detail, making it possible to see the world from the perspective of its animal subjects without disturbing their natural behavior. This sensitivity to the environment is crucial when filming wildlife, as it allows for the observation of natural behaviors and interactions in a way that is respectful and non-intrusive.
The Canon CN20 lens complements the Red camera’s capabilities by offering a versatile zoom range, which is essential for wildlife cinematography. Its ability to zoom from 50mm to 1000mm without sacrificing image quality allows camerawomen like Ranney to capture close-up shots of animals from a safe and respectful distance. This lens is particularly useful when filming skittish or dangerous animals like bears and elephants, as it enables the cinematographer to remain far enough away to avoid influencing the animals’ behavior while still capturing intimate moments.
Capturing the Natural World
Ranney’s work on “Queens” showcases the power of combining passion with technology. Her description of filming subtle interactions between bears and their young highlights the series’ aim to provide a closer look at the relationships within the animal kingdom. The advanced, precision equipment she used allowed her to observe these moments in stunning detail, offering viewers a window into the lives of these majestic creatures.
“Queens” is a testament to the strength and resilience of both its subjects and its creators. It demonstrates the importance of perspective in wildlife filmmaking, proving that a team comprised entirely of women can bring new depth and sensitivity to the portrayal of nature.
Through the eyes of Erin Ranney and her colleagues, we are given a rare glimpse into the lives of some of the animal kingdom’s most fascinating leaders, captured with equipment that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in wildlife cinematography. “Queens” stands as a celebration of the natural world, the animal matriarchs that rule it, and the remarkable women who bring their stories to light.