Sony cameras capture groundbreaking Arctic camel documentary

Mediability has provided Sony cameras used in an unusual documentary following a Northern Norwegian family travelling to Mongolia to find and employ a camel trainer.

Documentary maker Karl Emil Rikardsen has just returned from the Gobi desert, where he has followed the family Sætereng in their quest to find a camel trainer for their two Bactrian camels back home in the high Arctic north of Norway.

“They run the Akkafjord Ecological Centre, and when their children wanted horses they opted to go for camels as this might boost their business,” explains Rikardsen.

Not easily trained

When he first heard their story a few year back, he and his Relation04 Media production company decided to create a documentary aimed at children and families about the unusual quest.

“While camels like this are used to cold and desert-like landscapes similar to what you find in the far North of Norway, they are not easily trained. And camel trainers are few and far between in Scandinavia,” says Rikardsen. 

Read more about the documentary project here

Challenging environment

His documentary centres on two of the Sætereng children, Torarin (9) and Svalin (12), and the journey to Mongolia to find someone who might help them turn their new pets into animals people could ride.
Filming in the Gobi desert was a challenge, with night temperatures falling to minus 20 degrees Centigrades. Yet the greatest issue was all the dust.

“We needed solid equipment we could trust, and approached Mediability who we have a long-running and very good relationship with,” explains Karl Emil Rikardsen.

Went for sturdy Sony cameras

In the end, Mediability equipped the Relation04 Media team with a Sony PXW-FS7, the smaller PXW-FS5 and an a7SII mirrorless, full frame sensor digital camera.

“The PXW-FS7 is a tried and tested model which is loved by documentary makers like Karl Emil,” says Stian Nilssen, sales advisor with Mediability.

“The smaller PXW-FS5 is a handheld camera which allows the documentary maker super flexibility. They are also built to withstand the most extreme environments.”

Not unlike Arctic Norway

Following the Sæterengs as they hooked up with a nomadic Mongolian family in the Gobi was extremely fascinating, explains Karl Emil Rikardsen from Relation04 Media.

“Just like the reindeer farmers of Norway’s high North they follow their animals between different grazing areas during different times of the year. The nature too was reminiscent of Finnmarksvidda in Northern Norway, only without the snow,” says Rikardsen.

In cinemas and on TV in 2018

The Sætereng family found their camel trainer in the end. He will be joining them in Akkafjord, Norway, later this summer to try to tame the camels enough for them to become safe riding animals.

Karl Emil Rikardsen’s documentary will première in Norwegian and Swedish cinemas next year, and will also be broadcast as a three-part mini-series by NRK and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR. An international release might follow.