“The Wonder List” All about the epic new documentary series I have been shooting for CNN

For the past four months I have been travelling the world filming an ambitious documentary series for CNN. We still have two months and 3 episodes to go, but I can now fully reveal what it is all about with the official launch of “The Wonder List” today.

CNN have recently been putting out some very high quality hour-long documentary series like Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” shot by world-class DP Zach Zamboni.

This series, produced in-house in New York and presented by Bill Weir, like “Parts Unknown” is a very global show. I thought I had done a lot of travel before I started shooting this, but we have really been ping-ponging all over the globe!

This from the official CNN press release

“CNN announced today that Bill Weir will bring a new Original Series to the network beginning early next year. The Wonder List with Bill Weir will join the recently announced series THE SEVENTIES and High Profits, both debuting in 2015. With The Wonder List, Weir will tell the untold stories of extraordinary people, places, cultures and creatures that are at a crossroads.

Who will be the last person to see a Bengal tiger in the wild or be baptized in the River Jordan?  Who will be the last person to savor an unspoiled island paradise in the South Pacific or hike a glacier in Montana? At the current rate of planetary change, some odds suggest that the last people who will experience these wonders are alive today. And one of them might be your child.

“When Bill joined CNN, we knew his innovative vision would be an asset to the network as we expand the definition of news with series programming,” said Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. “I am thrilled to announce that production of The Wonder List is underway and that Bill will bring his dynamic, personal and creative storytelling to the CNN audience.”

Through the lens of renowned cinematographer Philip Bloom, Weir will transport viewers to visually stunning locations from a sinking Venice, to a vanishing Dead Sea to the disappearing herds of Africa. Here, Weir will embrace amazing people, places and creatures that could be lost to future generations, including his own ten year old daughter, and discover what can be done to save them.

Said Weir, “The chance to find stories across six continents with one of the best photographers in the business is incredible in itself. But then to get eight prime-time hours to explore the forces of change that effect so many lives is the assignment of a lifetime. We’ve already captured some jaw-dropping corners of the planet and met some brave and brilliant folks fighting to save them for our great-grandkids. I can’t wait to share it all.”

The Wonder List with Bill Weir, a CNN Original Series produced by CNN, will air over eight, one-hour episodes beginning in early 2015, and joins CNN’s successful Original Series lineup that includes This is Life with Lisa LingSomebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike RoweThe Hunt with John WalshAnthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock among others.”

 

wonderlist blog posts

Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down the shoots into posts covering various topics including: choosing the right camera, audio, lighting, production devices, travelling with gear and much much more. If you wondered why my posts on my site have been so sparse lately, it’s because this coming Wednesday will be my first full day off since October 1st!

All my time has been taken up with traveling to locations for this series, filming, travelling back, and also squeezing in jobs that were booked in before I was hired for this gig. For example, right now I am sitting at the airport in Sao Paulo in Brazil after doing a talk during the weekend. I came here the day after I got back to England from Vanuatu via Australia! Plus this month I have had the added factor of making sure my Movember campaign has been fully promoted. In fact as I write right now it’s been the best year ever so far, with the total raised just under $60K!!

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SUPERMOON: Low light test for CNN’s “The Wonder List” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Mount Yasur volcano eruption at 180fps on Sony FS7 for CNN’s “The Wonder List” from Philip Bloom extras on Vimeo.

So before I write my first in-depth post below are some behind-the-scenes images and photos with a little bit of info below them explaining what they are. I have taken on this epic journey. For the past 3 episodes I have had on loan from B&H Photo the Pentax 645z, which makes the BTS photos even more epic! 🙂

It’s the greatest stills camera I have ever used, and it’s hard to use anything else after it! Huge thanks to B&H and a written review of it is coming very soon!

The first “The Wonder List” blog post is all about coming up with a style and deciding what camera/ tools should be used,so keep your eyes peeled…I actually have some time off starting this week which is a wondrous feeling! 🙂

Screenshot 2014-11-25 07.04.06

 

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The MOVI M5, used with A7s, the Sony F55 and another A7s set up with with the XLR module at the Dead Sea
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The Small HD DP7 Pro High Bright has been a godsend. Every country we have filmed in so far has been a hot one and this beast of a monitor copes brilliantly without a hood

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“Band Photo” Number 4 in India at the TaJ Mahal. We did these everywhere…a bit of fun
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Incredibly hot at the Dead Sea!
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Bill Weir Elgin Fulton (with C100) and Julian Quinones using my Movi M5
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Miller sticks featured heavily by us. I also used RSS ones on a couple of shoots

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The images out of the Pentax 645z are just beautiful! Most of the photos here are from it.
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Cassius Kim filming Bill with the C100 B camera
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My lovely Sony F55
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Guess which of these cameras gave us the best underwater results in the Galapagos??
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Julian Quinones with my A7s
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That’s a lot of GoPros!!!
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The absolute brilliant A7s cage by Movcam
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My F55 with the wonderful VOCAS rig in The Galapagos.
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Another pic of the F55 with the wonderful VOCAS rig in The Galapagos.
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The Freefly MOVI m5 and A7s has proven to be a key part of the show.

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The Inspire One on her maiden voyage at the Volcano on Tanna Island in Vanuatu

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Lunchtime with my Transformers a like pile of gear!
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The only vehicle on Mota Lava Island in Vanuatu and it had to take all our stuff (mostly mine) the four of us and 3 locals!!
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On top of the Volcana on Tanna Island in Vanuatu
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Instead of the F55 I tried my brand new Sony FS7 in Vanuatu…how did it fare? I will cover all of this!
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Band Photo 5 on Vanuatu

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