16 October 2023

Capturing the Thin Green Line expedition with cinema-quality footage

Thin Green Line supporter Amanda Dudgeon utilises the Atomos Ninja V+ to capture breathtaking footage of her solo expedition around Australia.

By Atomos

The Thin Green Line Foundation aims to raise awareness and support for rangers working in conservation across Oceania. Amanda Dudgeon is a Thin Green Line super-supporter and long-term volunteer who has worked as a ranger in some of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes, from islands on the south coast to the central Australian desert.

In 2022, she embarked on a solo 366-day expedition – to Walk the Thin Green Line – a journey of over 94,500 km around Australia to document the work of the rangers, including interviews and footage for a feature documentary. Her goal was to tell their compelling stories and to bring awareness to their role in protecting natural and cultural heritage across the region.

Video content played a critical role in the expedition. She needed to be able to film ranger interviews and environmental footage while travelling solo through remote areas under challenging outdoor conditions. With support from Atomos, Amanda captured cinema-quality footage in varied environments across the continent. She is now using the extensive digital content collected during her travels to produce the documentary, set for release in 2024.

“The light, adaptable design of the Ninja meant I could shoot handheld and nimbly set up interviews anywhere across my route, even when conditions varied.”

Unrivalled recording with Ninja V+

To meet the video production needs of her expedition, Amanda used the Atomos Ninja V+ external monitor-recorder along with a Panasonic LUMIX S5 mirrorless camera.

The Ninja enabled her to record 5.9K 12-bit ProRes RAW video directly from the S5’s HDMI output, providing maximum quality while maintaining manageable file sizes.

The bright 5-inch HDR touchscreen of the Ninja was invaluable for monitoring footage in sunny outdoor settings. Amanda was able to change settings and view audio levels at a tap of the screen, while its lightweight and adaptable design let her position the monitor optimally whether standing, sitting or holding the rig herself.

Fast SSD drives gave Amanda the essential capacity to capture hours of footage without worry. The speedy AtomX SSDmini reader/writer helped her efficiently back up the footage on her laptop, while overall, the Ninja gave Amanda flexibility and confidence to get the shots she needed in diverse, uncontrolled environments as a solo and inexperienced videographer.

Amanda said: “The Ninja was an absolute game-changer for capturing cinema-quality footage on my solo expedition. The bright HDR screen allowed me to monitor shots in harsh outdoor light. Recording directly to ProRes RAW with the super-fast SSDs gave me unparalleled quality from my LUMIX S5. What’s more, the light, adaptable design meant I could shoot handheld and nimbly set up interviews anywhere across my route, even when conditions varied from 45 degrees C to -4 degrees C. It gave me the flexibility I needed to film as many ranger interviews and external footage as possible.”

She continued: “Without the Ninja’s portable power, I simply could not have filmed the extraordinary stories of Oceania’s rangers to the quality I required. In addition, I certainly would not now be studying for a Diploma in Film at SAE Creative Institute whilst working full time as a ranger and making the documentary without having had the support and belief in my abilities from the Atomos team from the very beginning.”

Atomos technology enabled Amanda to collect professional-level content that will allow her to effectively share the stories of Oceania’s rangers, from the scorching remote deserts of Australia to the freezing Macquarie Island, half-way between Tasmania and Antarctica.

Using the Ninja, Amanda captured over 30TB of ProRes RAW interviews and environmental footage during her Thin Green Line expedition. She is currently reviewing and shot listing the footage in preparation for a feature-length documentary slated for release in 2024.