Crosslake, MN – Evidence. Existence. Our need to know the truth. The human desire to document the unknown has never wavered, and lately, has manifested itself in the form of very real video verification, thanks to specialized “trail cameras.”
Count the Discovery’s channel’s Les Stroud among the inquisitive. Through vast time and travel in the bush, Stroud has experienced unexplained phenomena convincing him not only of the possible existence of Bigfoot, but of the creature’s intelligence. So when Stroud set out to capture footage for his new TV series, Survivorman: Bigfoot, he knew he’d need the stealthiest surveillance cameras available.
Having worked with Aqua-Vu Underwater Viewing Systems on numerous past projects, Doug Hajicek, wildlife researcher, television producer and Tech Director for Survivorman: Bigfoot, immediately consulted with the popular marine optics company. Ultimately, Hajicek secured and equipped eight Micro 5 underwater camera systems for filming of the new hit Discovery Channel series.
“All previous trials with traditional trail cameras have failed,” noted Hajicek, President of Whitewolf Entertainment, who has produced over 200 TV features since 1987.
“It’s known that many animals in the wild possess acute hearing and vision capable of detecting or sensing light in the UV and even infrared spectrum. The Aqua-Vu Micro cam has proven ideal for capturing potential Bigfoot footage because it is so stealthy, totally silent and compact enough to allow us to conceal the acorn-sized optics within natural objects.”
Stroud, who has filmed wildlife and challenging outdoor environments with numerous camera brands, has been impressed by the Micro systems. “The Aqua-Vus performed incredibly well under tough weather conditions,” Stroud said. “They were the perfect cameras for the task at hand, and have greatly enhanced my ability to incorporate unique and stealthy camera angles during the making of Survivorman: Bigfoot. The ability to quietly record outside, well away from a tent, and then to watch live from the inside gave me story content I couldn’t have captured any other way.”
While traditional trail cameras consist of larger boxlike units that often give off audible noises and flash with small lights, the Aqua-Vu features a tiny camera connected to a handheld monitor via 100 feet of ultrathin cable. During show filming, this configuration allowed Hajicek and Stroud to hide multiple cameras in benign objects such as stuffed grouse mounts, tiny tree knots, duck decoys and even inside artificial water lilies. In each case, the camera cable was buried while the LCD/recording unit was concealed 100 feet away, keeping any potential light or sound well away from the vicinity.
“It’s pretty interesting that the best stealth trail camera design on the market is actually one designed for aquatic applications,” says Hajicek. “Even though it’s used mostly for fishing and underwater observation, the Aqua-Vu Micro gives us the best possible chance to record footage of a live Bigfoot.”
Utilizing the Aqua-Vu’s motion-sensing function and built-in DVR, any movement or heat signature passing in front of the optics triggers the unit to record, automatically employing invisible IR lighting, as necessary.
Hajicek also said that during TV filming, each Aqua-Vu was connected to an auxiliary 12-volt battery—in addition to the unit’s built-in Lithium-ion battery—for almost unlimited runtime beyond its internal 8-hour cycle. For maximum resolution and viewability, Hajicek also extolled the Micro cameras’ auto Color/B&W function for capturing clear footage in low-light conditions.In addition to six new episodes of Survivorman: Bigfoot, Hajicek has employed Aqua-Vu cameras for numerous other TV shows and scientific studies. “Right now, we’re planning to use Aqua-Vu Micros in another Bigfoot show pilot. But we’ve also used Aqua-Vu cams to record and document never-before-seen beaver and bear behavior in their dens, as well as eagle nests and other fascinating applications.”
Perhaps most remarkable was a project in which an Aqua-Vu cam was actually “worn” by a Humboldt squid, used to attract giant squid, which often prey upon the smaller species. Hajicek captured footage of the largest live, free-swimming squid ever recorded, at over 54 feet in length. The resulting video has aired on the History Channel, providing numerous breakthroughs in squid research, as well as some of the most compelling underwater video ever seen.
“Aqua-Vu’s aren’t just for fishermen,” says Hajicek. “Even with hundreds of trail cameras on the market, the Aqua-Vu Micro gives us the best chance to capture video of a live bigfoot.
“If he’s out there, it could be just a matter of time.”