Behind each thrilling film scene there is always a cameraman - unseen by viewers and often exposed to mortal danger. CAMERAMEN WHO DARED will take you behind the lens with the incredible documentary filmmakers who will risk their lives to get the perfect shot. Follow these fearless professionals as they dive with deadly sharks, come nose to nose with polar bears, record shocking scenes from Vietnam, and climb Mt. Everest to its summit. Discover what drives these people to pioneer with their cameras where limits are unknown.
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The unsung heroes of the National Geographic Society, which was founded in 1888 to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge, are surely the photographers and camerapeople who have brought images from far-flung corners of the world into our homes. They have been so successful at capturing life in motion that we scarcely think of the people who had the guts to stand their ground while a violent volcano erupted or an elephant charged. Meet the Cameramen Who Dared. The first National Geographic television special, in 1964, was Americans on Everest. It was two years in the planning and was documented on 16 millimeter film. But before and since camerapeople have been going out on a limb, literally, to get just the right shot. One cameraman decided to climb into the 115-foot-tall trees in Borneo to film primates face to face. It had never been done before. "They peed on us," he says with great humor. "And what could we do?" Fabulous footage shows the cameraman way up in the trees while an orangutan below tries to untie his rope. In Yukon Passage (1977), four young men retrace the 1897 Klondike Gold route through rapids. The cameraman was bored with the uneventful expedition until the raft smashed into a rock, and he knew he got the shot on film. The raft is on the verge of sinking but the cameraman is happy and seems unconcerned that he too could have sunk. The video also explores the history of cameramen--and women--in the field. The team of Martin and Osa Johnson (Osa wrote I Married Adventure) made several films, including Congorilla. Also shown are underwater-photography pioneers and cameramen at war whose "bang-bang footage" was unprecedented. There were cameramen who died in the line of duty from exposure to the elements or from stray bullets. Though Cameramen Who Dared is loosely organized, it is a worthy depiction of dedicated naturalists and camerapeople who do not view their often-times dangerous assignments as work, but as a lifetime commitment. --Cristina Del Sesto
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