Emmy award-winning underwater cinematographer Richard Fitzpatrick talks about the science and filming challenges of filming complex behavioral sequences for the largest broadcasters and streaming services on the planet -from plankton to whales and everything in between! Working in severely challenging conditions with dangerous, rare and venomous animals requires nerves of steel plus the patience of a saint and has led to numerous visits to the ER department!
Richard Fitzpatrick talks about his tagging and mapping the movements of Tiger and reef sharks on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. This work now includes the tracking of Whale sharks and Mantas on a newly discovered aggregation site on an isolated reef off the Far North Cape. Most recently he has worked on a scientific response commissioned by the State Government, following a spate of shark bites in the Whitsunday’s area of Queensland.
Richard Fitzpatrick is an Emmy awarded cinematographer as well as being a Research Fellow at James Cook University where he specialises in sharks. He has shot more than 120 films for clients such as the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channel. Richard is renowned for filming unusual complex behavioural sequences – (using 3D, High Speed, Time Lapse, Motion Control, Drone and Underwater) many never seen before.
Extreme environments are no problem with Richard having filmed all over the world, from the deserts of outback Australia to the jungles of the Amazon to snow-covered Alaska. With over 15,000 hours underwater, he has filmed in the crystal-clear coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef, the murky waters of the Amazon, and everything in-between. In the process, he has won numerous international awards. Richard started out as a Marine biologist, learning how to work with sharks in public aquariums around the world, including: Oceanworld - Manly, Maui Ocean Centre - Hawaii and at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef HQ in Townsville.
Currently based at James Cook University in Cairns, Richard, and his team at BIOPIXEL, manage one of the largest marine stock vision libraries and dedicated biological filming studios in the world. Many of the complex behavioural sequences for shows such as ‘Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef’, ‘Welcome to Earth with Will Smith’ and the soon-to-be released James Cameron's – ‘Supernatural’ series, were filmed in Biopixel’s Aquarium studio at JCU, Cairns Campus.
Richard’s current research through the BIOPIXEL OCEANS FOUNDATION has contributed to over 20 scientific publications. This research includes a scientific response to shark bites off the Queensland coast for the State Government – satellite tagging and tracking Tiger sharks, Bull sharks and other Reef sharks along the Great Barrier Reef. The foundation has also had recent unprecedented success with a new discovery, identification, and tracking of under-researched Megafauna, (Whale shark, Manta, and Whale) aggregations in the Far North of the Great Barrier Reef.
Stories of his underwater adventures and career highlights are catalogued in the University of NSW publication ‘Shark Tracker’ – The Confessions of an Underwater Cameraman’.