Behind-the-scene notes from National Geographic expeditions

Click here to meet the crew
Click here to learn about the special gear used on the shoot
Click here to read and see how the shots were filmed
Click here to read how environmental interference affected shooting.
Click here to see photographs of the surrounding area in Australia.
Click here to read how the crew spent their time when not filming.
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Photograph of the crew on the Blowfish

Photograph of the crew on the Bangudja

In depth, exclusive, information about the film Tiger Shark shot in Western Australia

Tiger Shark Jaws

To illustrate the gnashing, sawing action of tiger shark jaws, the film crew used an old set of tiger shark jaws scientist Mike Heithaus had in his lab. Prior to the shoot
Mike soaked the dried-out jaws in water to make them flexible again.


“It was the Crittercam technology”—producer Greg Marshall’s animal-mounted cameras—“that really got this film started,” said Greg. “Mike’s professor saw a presentation I gave on Crittercam at a conference and urged Mike to contact me about the availability of the tool for his research,” Greg said. (Visit
The Crittercam Chronicles for more on Marshall’s innovative technology.)

RealPlayer video: See
Crittercam in action on a tiger shark.

Filming Platform (With Emergency Motorboat)

From old construction scaffolding, the crew built a platform to maintain a 24-7 presence in Shark Bay. Roughly a kilometer (0.6 mile) from shore, it sat in about four meters (13 feet) of water.
Pairs of research videographers worked the platform in two-day shifts. As sharks approached the bait (usually mullet from a local fish-processing plant) hung from the platform, the videographers would use special goggles (see below) to control an underwater camera attached to the platform.

Virtual Reality Videography Goggles

Wearing National Geographic-designed goggles with a liquid crystal display, videographers atop the platform could direct the submerged camera to pan, tilt, or zoom in—without risking attack or injury.


Two boats were used for research and topside filming:
Blowfish for scientist Mike Heithaus and his crew, Bangudja (Tiger Shark in an aboriginal Australian language) for the film crew.

© 2000 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

Photograph of Wayman looking at the tiger shark jaws

Photograph of tiger shark jaws

Photograph of Kellett filming

Photograph of a supply boat leaving the filming platform

Photograph of the filming platform

Photograph of Heithaus testing virtual reality goggles

Click here for a list of shark Web sites, books, and more. Click here for information about National Geographic books, magazines, and videos on sharks. Click here for National Geographic online staff credits for this Tiger Shark site Click here for the Web site to download the RealPlayer plug-in. Click here for the Web site to download the iPIX plug-in.