Filming frog species took brothers across globe

Wildlife filmmakers Vijay and Ajay Bedi shot ‘The Secret Life of Frogs’ for Animal Planet.

Vijay and Ajay took three years to make ‘The Secret Life of Frogs.’

The award-winning third generation of wildlife filmmakers – Vijay and Ajay Bedi’s latest ‘The Secret Life of Frogs’ on Animal Planet, is the first-of-its-kind documentary film to be made on frogs and their behaviour. Taking the brothers to the most remote corners of the globe, the film took them three years to shoot.

In an interview with Metrolife Ajay Bedi shares the experience of shooting the documentary.     

What kind of research has gone into making this documentary?
We have grown up seeing frogs, learning and listening to stories about them. We also realised that people had very limited knowledge about frogs. They just knew that frogs live in water and that they are very slimy. Later when we spoke to scientists, we found out many more things about them, especially certain frogs which are around from the age of dinosaurs. It was the right subject for us to showcase as it is something which has never been filmed before. 

How tough was it for you to spot these creatures?
It was extremely difficult. Initially, we thought this film could be done smoothly, but as we progressed, it became more and more difficult to work in an environment which was not conducive. At the same time, we also had to observe species which were as small as the thumb. One needed to be very cautious and careful because a frog would jump and vanish in a blink.

Of all these creatures, which of them fascinated you the most and why?
All of them actually. We have covered species like the purple frog, the torrent frog, the Bombay Night frog and the Kumbara frog which is also known as the Nyctibatrachus kumbara (scientific term). Each one of them is unique in their own way, and they have beautiful ways of doing things. 

What inspired you to come up with a show like this?
It was Vijay’s idea. He said that we should do a film on frogs as we have worked on bigger animals. When looking for a subject, we came across frogs, and we thought it was a wonderful idea to work on as there was not much work done by anybody. One more important reason was the conservation aspect; we feel that frogs are very important for our ecosystem, and it is very important to conserve them. 

What are the places that you went to? Were they easily accessible?
We extensively found them in Western Ghats and some parts of central India. Filming in the wild and national parks is not that easy; but filming the frogs was also challenging. We filmed in areas which were close to forests and also inside the forests which took a lot of understanding and we worked with the scientists as well. We had to be very careful about filming them without actually disturbing them because species like the purple frog are from the age of dinosaurs, and they have been discovered only recently and not many things are known about them.

What kind of equipment and logistics were needed for the shoot?
We were definitely not using very heavy equipment; we used compact high-end cameras. We had to use such cameras which were sensitive to light as we were filming in almost pitch dark with conditions which are almost not favourable for any camera. We tried and failed many times, using different kinds of equipment. Finally, we found cameras that produced good results. 

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