Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Chimpcam Project

Did you ever think someone would make a Chimpanzee film where the chimpanzee's are in full control? No scripts, no training, just chimps in action. Peep the breakdown after the jump.

By: Paul Revoir

With the fashion for shaky cameras amongst TV crews you could be forgiven for thinking they are being operated by monkeys.

That is exactly what is happening with the BBC to show the first ever film shot by chimpanzees.

Around 11 of the animals at Edinburgh Zoo spent the last 18 months filming each other as they carry around a special 'chimpcam' device.

The results will be aired on The Chimpcam Project, which airs tomorrow night on BBC2.

The footage is part of a BBC documentary about the work of behavioural scientist Betsy Herrelko, from the University of Stirling.

The chimps were introduced to video technology in a new high tech enclosure and a new chimp-proof camera was put in with them.

The device was put into a sturdy box and also had a monitor on the side so the animals could see what they were capturing on camera.

Producer John Capener said he came up with the idea for the experiment after he watched a TV show a couple of years ago which thought was so bad that the chimps could make a better go of it.

He said: 'The idea stuck in my head and I wondered if chimps really could film. They're very strong and aggressive, but I thought if we could find a way for the camera to survive it would make for some interesting footage.

'We were dealing with an average group of chimps, but they worked with us very well and gave it their best. I'm pretty sure they understood the filming.'

Miss Herrelko added that the programme tested the extent to which chimps were aware of the link between seeing and filming.

She said: 'They never got bored of filming unless the monitor died.'

Four hours of footage was filmed and now Mr Capener said he is looking a further projects like this with different animals.

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