IMAX/IMAX DOME (70mm) CREDITS
The Imax logo is recognised world wide as a film format capable of giving the viewing audience the most realistic cinema experience possible.
As a Director of Photography on two successful Imax films "Antarctica" and "Australia Land Beyond Time", Malcolm Ludgate ACS is fully conversant with the unique optical and technical challenges associated with using large 15/70 cameras, to shoot both Imax and Imax Dome formats. He has sound hands-on experience with most of the Imax inventory including: the MSM-9801 camera system, the IW-5 and IW-5A systems and the rugged MK-II camera package. He is also familiar with the Imax HD 48 fps, the 60 fps camera and the IW-8-96fps hi-speed camera systems and the majority of Imax accessories.
Malcolm regularly visits the Imax factory in Toronto to complete further practical training courses and to keep abreast of the latest developments in large format cinematography. Each visit also enables him to maintain his close professional working relationship with the Imax camera department personnel.
"Australia Land Beyond Time" DOP/Cameraman (2000/01)
"Australia Land Beyond Time" was produced and directed by David and Sue Flatman, of Living Pictures, in association with the Museum of Science, Boston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Cincinnati Museum Center and Museum Victoria (Australia)
This beautiful film explores the continent of Australia and examines some of the many techniques Australia's unique inhabitants have developed to survive in this land of extremes.
In his latest Imax film "Australia land Beyond Time" Director of Photography Malcolm Ludgate ACS used both the IW-5A and MSM-9801 70mm camera systems to great extent. His experience as a blue chip wildlife documentary cameraman enabled him to capture, exceptional images of Australian and its unique animals in their natural environment for the film.
Working from a specially developed and modified aircraft, he also successfully filmed Australia from the air with stunning results. The Aircam aircraft, customized to position the pilot at the rear, and hold both camera and operator on the nose, allowed for spectacular unrestricted filming of the continent.
During the making of "Australia Land Beyond Time" we spent a lot of energy trying to get close to kangaroos, birds and other fast moving wildlife in their natural habitat. We wanted to shoot from up close rather than be forced to use telephoto lenses to record their behaviour. To do this, we developed a mobile hide and mounted the Imax camera in the back of a specially modified four-wheel drive vehicle so that we could manoeuvre it into position and then hydraulically raise the whole thing off the ground for stability. Despite having to work in a cramped space, the system worked quite well and when the animals eventually moved on, we just simply lowered the vehicle and quietly followed them to the next location with the minimum of disturbance. We captured some wonderful sequences using this rig.
Australia is a huge country and travelling by light aircraft was essential to get our crew to many of the remote locations. This meant landing on many small isolated dirt airstrips, which had limited or no resources. We often had to be totally independent, but to us, camping out in the desert under the stars is one of the benefits of working in this job. For one sequence we camped on a small sand island in the middle of Lake Eyre. This huge salt lake, in the heart of the South Australian desert, only fills with water every ten years or so. Migrating birds somehow know when it's full and arrive there in their thousands to breed when the water, fallen as rain thousands of miles away, fills the lake. The Imax footage we recorded here looked fantastic, with the oily calm water of the huge salt lake reflecting mirror images of the birds flying above. Other birds, feeding in the shallows with golden evening light on them looked equally gorgeous.
For most of our aerial filming, our engineers Henry Shultz and Mal Brookes built and modified an extraordinary twin-engine aircraft called an Aircam. They moved the pilot to the backseat and mounted the Imax camera (along with me) right on the nose. This gave the camera a perfect birds eye view and I had the best seat in the world for aerial filming. Flying in this configuration however did have its drawbacks. The cold wind directly in my face often caused my eyes to water quite badly, so we developed an unusual storm trooper style helmet to fix the problem. The extra drag created by our modifications naturally added some vibration to the aircraft, so that had to be isolated by our team. One thing the engineers never did quite get around to fixing, was reducing the wind chill factor our pilot Kevin Warren and I experienced, sitting out in the airstream on those chilly dawn shoots!
"Australia Land Beyond Time" is currently showing in Imax theatres to audiences around the world
"Antarctica" DOP/Cameraman (1989/90, 1990/91)
To make this highly respected and financially successful Imax film, Malcolm was commissioned over two years as Director of Photography. For this role he underwent extensive factory training in operating, servicing, troubleshooting and maintaining the Imax camera systems used on the project. He was initially 2nd unit DOP but was soon elevated to Principal Director of Photography for the second half of the production.
During the creation of this motion picture, his team worked under some of the most extreme sub-zero and challenging conditions imaginable. Given the reduced crew size and the isolation experienced in Antarctica, he personally maintained and serviced the two Imax camera and accessories packages during this period.
As the Director of Photography and camera operator Malcolm was not only responsible for shooting substantial sequences for the film topside but also made more than 70 dives under sea ice and captured unique, never before seen, underwater footage inside the moving Chaos glacier.
During the last thirteen years, "Antarctica" has become one of the most internationally successful Imax films ever produced, and is still screening in large format theatres around the world today.
FEATURE: Ice Diving