|Written by Tanya Petersen|
|Monday, 04 August 2008 07:33|
Richard Fitzpatrick is one of Australia's leading underwater cinematographers as well as a qualified marine biologist. He has shot more than 30 films for clients such as the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channels. With over 8000 hours underwater he has filmed in the crystal clear coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef to the murky waters of the Amazon. In the process he has won a number of international awards including the 'Best Underwater Photography' award at the 2000 World Wildlife Film Festival.
With a background as a biologist in public aquariums Richard has worked at Oceanworld - Manly, Maui Ocean Centre- Hawaii and at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Reef HQ in Townsville. He also wrote and produced the marine biology training manual and videos 'Reef Understanding' for Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Richard's current research activities include a long-term reef shark monitoring program at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea and the satellite tagging of tiger sharks in the Far Northern Section of the Great Barrier Reef. This research will be featured in the 2008 Discovery Channel Shark Week 2hr special ‘Expedition Shark'.
Where are you based?
What is it that you do in the film industry?
Director of Photography, Director/producer
How would you describe your job/s?
Natural History - Blue Chip, Natural History/Science documentaries, Scientist/presenter
Who or what inspired you to work in film and why cover nature and conservation issues?
It was a natural progression after becoming a Marine Biologist - in terms of film making - my major influences where the BBC Natural History Unit, Mike Degruy, Howard Hall, Ron and Val Taylor
What is the favourite programme or series you've worked on?
Discovery Channel - High Definition Equator series
What has been your biggest challenge filming in the field?
How has technology changed your job? Has it hindered or enhanced telling the conservation story?
Now that High Definition has caught up with having all the tools once available to standard definition like HD mini cameras, it is now enhancing the story with more remarkable images.
What is your favourite place in nature?
Raine Island off the north eastern coast of Australia
With all your field experience, what is your biggest concern when it comes to the environment?
Global warming - it doesn't matter how well you manage an environment like a marine park it is going to be affected by this global event. It is very frustrating
How do you think the media industry should be addressing environment and conservation issues?
In terms of documentary making - the broadcasters and commissioners have not been allowing conservation messages and bad news stories in their films - they have been too focused on entertainment. We know we have to be making entertaining and interesting films - they should trust the filmmakers more to weave the real stories through.
What are you working on at the moment?
A blue chip multi part documentary on Australia's Great Barrier Reef
Where are you going next?
What would you like to remembered for?
My scientific research and conservation work on sharks.
Video Show Reel (QuickTime):