"Shark Week's Impossible Shot," which aired Sunday, saw wildlife cameramen travel to Gansbaai, South Africa, where they attempted to capture an aerial view of a great white breaching the ocean's surface.
Brooke Runnette said in a phone interview that the crew used a Phantom camera to capture this unprecedented shot. Capable of recording up to 1,000 frames per second at full resolution, this device allows filmmakers to slow high-speed footage down to the 30 frames per second that most television broadcasts use. The result is an immersive slow-motion documentation of the event that enables viewers to peruse each detail of the shark's behavior.
The camera was suspended above the shark with a balloon to capture the desired moment. A decoy used to attract the shark was synched to the Phantom, allowing filmmakers to work around the whims of the animal; sharks, after all, are not known for taking direction.
Prior to the digital revolution, such dynamic footage would have been impossible to achieve.