How do you prepare to document a journey in one of the most unpredictable and inhospitable environments on the planet? Mark Leisher, co-founder of Media4Green, embarked to Antarctica as a member of the IAE 80º South on December 4th to document this expedition. The team of adventurers and researchers are currently exploring that untouched landscape and tasked with putting the amazing advancements in renewable technologies to the test.
And he’ll have numerous challenges to face while trying to film this expedition.
In our last article, we interviewed Mark just before his departure to Antarctica and he briefly touched upon some of the tech he’ll put to use to capture the trip and the challenges he may face. But because there will be no communication once the team arrives, we won’t know until he returns what the experience was like.
For now, here’s a look at some of the ways Mark will be capturing the expedition and the renewable technologies tested.
From land, the sky, and 360º
Mark will be filming the fierce and beautiful landscape and the entirety of the IAE 80º South team’s work in stunning 4K. Besides his 4K Sony camera, he’ll be catching immersive panoramic videos with a 360º VR camera set up to bring this continent to life. Not one to skimp on an opportunity to test out new camera gear, Mark will be using a 3DR Robotics Solo drone to give a birds-eye view of Antarctica. All of these different perspectives will give a never-before seen look at the last untouched place on earth and the fight to save it.
Or lack thereof. Given the nature of the Antarctic environment and landscape, it isn’t just the cold that he has to worry about. Powering his camera, VR drone, and 360º camera rig will be tough enough. There isn’t an abundant access to power in Antarctica, so he’ll have to charge up batteries in limited charging facilities, using solar-powered charging equipment, and having to be more conscious than ever about saving battery life for the most important moments. That doesn’t make it easy to film an entire expedition with all of that tech.
Aside from the lack of power, the cold and windy climate can drain batteries much faster than normal, so it’ll be a fight for battery life.
Another challenge will be the weather. Protecting the gear from the elements will be paramount and one of the most difficult aspects of the expedition. Antarctica is the coldest and windiest climate on the planet, and though there isn’t much precipitation, large amounts of snow fall and white-out conditions will occur.
He will need to keep the gear safe and dry while trekking through treacherous mountainous landscapes or when skiing on a daily excursion with the team. Rob and Barney Swan are testing the renewable technology for their 2017 expedition to the South Pole in the field, and these are the conditions that they will be seeking.
There’s no getting around the fact that Antarctica is a harsh environment. That’s why Robert and Barney are testing the technology there, to show that if the alternative energy technology can work in the Antarctic environment, it can work anywhere. Given this, safety is the most important part of the expedition and possibly the most challenging.
In Antarctica, the IAE 80º South team will need to respect the boundaries of Union Glacier Base Camp since Antarctica is an ever-changing landscape. After all, the base camp is sitting on a large expanse of actively moving snow and ice. On the daily excursions while testing the renewable technologies, warmth will be a struggle with wind speeds up to 40mph, and the team will need to follow all advice by expert guides to stay safe for the 6 days.
Imagine doing all of this and filming the expedition at the same time. Mark is in for a challenge, but one he’s up for given the important cause and incredible initiatives that will come of it.
Here is a video update from Barney Swan from Antarctica about the technology they are currently testing.