My name is Peter Nelson and I’m the director and cinematographer of The Pollinators. Which is a feature film about bees in our food system. This was a complete passion project
for me because I am a beekeper and I love shooting. I was really interested by the fact that many people did not know that people move bees at all and that there’s a small group of hardworking interesting characters that do it. They’re like cowboys and ranchers and truckers all wrapped up in one. They’re plain spoken kind oficonoclastic, wonderful people. But one out of every three bites of food that we eat is something pollinated by a bee. There are 400 crops that are common, that are pollinated by bees that we eat every day. And it’s the most healthy and nutritious elements of our diet. So I use the EOS the C300 Mark II and the 17-120 zoom was my go to combination. Having a camera that I’m very comfortable with, used to using and intuitive allowed me to focus on the storytelling and focus on the characters. One of the things I love about this camera is I don’t have to take my eye away from the viewfinder to figure out which button to push. I want the wave form, it’s there If I want to change the ND it’s there and I know where
those buttons are. And for shooting something that is verité on the fly and very quick having the ability to have those functions readily accessible is super important. I wanted to show bees in a way that most people had not seen them before, and so macro was really important to me. I cannibalized a beehive and I used that and I’d stick the lens right in the beehive. It was really challenging almost a Zen experience to focus on a bee antenna and then rack to their eye. Very satisfying for me to be able to get that close. One of the things that I really loved about working with these beekeepers at night was how it looked. I love the magical realism of it with the red light and the amber light and the smoke. I used flares a lot as a truck would drive by or a forklift would pan and turn towards the camera. I would just let it go. I felt it brought me more into the story. It’s very realistic and I wanted to try and share that with people. There was one day when I was driving and I looked in the rearview mirror and I saw a perfect rainbow where I could see both ends of the rainbow. I almost drove off the road. I was so excited and I got out, pulled over. And because I had the camera built, ready to go I was able to get that it was gone in a matter of two minutes, but I was able to capture it. I look at it as a great privilege to be able to jump into somebody’s life and learn about them. I love the idea of going into that world of commercial migratory beekeepers and farming. The passion that those people have for what they do, the pride for what they do, and their willingness to let me, as a backyard beekeeper in to try and tell their story.