Adorable otters seem OK with unsettling otter spycam


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If I am to be reincarnated, I would be very happy to live my next life as a sea otter.


That spycam looks like it was sent backwards in time to assassinate Otter Sarah Connor.


Wot, not a lobster?


Highly recommend the monterey Bay Aquarium, the Sea Otter rescue is a must see.


Hmm, the ‘eye’ kept rotating but the footage always kept stable. I think there were two otter-cams, one for doing the filming, and a more photogenic one with robotics installed to be filmed.


You’ve been fooled by film editors again. They used “interesting” footage of the robot (ie, footage in which it’s moving) and intercut that with footage taken by the robot when it’s not moving.

Just like the rock the otter was using to break open the shellfish changed from bigger than its head to something much smaller halfway through the smashing food with a rock sequence.

ETA: step one, put the robot in the water near some otters that are near the shore/your boat and film hero footage of the robot with a telephoto lens. Step two, pilot the robot out to visit otters much further away where your telephoto lens can’t deliver the goods and get up close and personal footage using the robot. Step three, edit the two sequences together in post production.


Oh yeah, I get that the shots aren’t continuous between the POV footage and the cutaways

My point was more why would it need to rotate if they only ever used stable footage? I still contend they made a robust, workable camera-disguised-as-otter for the main footage, and a separate cutesy floating robot, that needn’t even have a working camera in it, for the cutaway shots.

Maybe I’m being overly cynical, but I’m sure the cameraman who had to sit there for months gathering the POV footage didn’t want the hassle of robotics that were sure to break down all the time. Much easier to use the ‘A’ otter that he knew would do the job, and just come in with the ‘B’ otter (the stunt otter :slight_smile:) for a week or so and film it interacting once you’re done gathering all the POV footage.

Not that I think it detracts from the narrative of the documentary at all, I’m just thinking about it logistically. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but that’s how I’d do it if I were producing the show.



(Yes, the body is a complete sentence, dear blind frustrating algorithm.)


The robot head is articulated so that it can aim its camera at what the fimographer operating it wants to photograph. The eye/lens rotates so that the camera can be level no matter what orientation the head adopts. some of what you regard as excessive movements may have been the robot’s operator checking out all the motors (while the “hero” footage was being taken) before embarking on a swim to visit the skittish otters they wanted to film with the robot.

Think about it. This is a nature documentary with a limited budget. Making two robots, one only for show, would be a huge waste of resources.


In 19-otter-4, Big Brotter is always watching.


The spy robot concept might have been a bit of a gimmick, but the series is fun to watch. I did wonder how much footage came from the robots and how much came from ordinary “disembodied” cameras with zoom lenses. Still, I can’t complain about a program that entices viewers, through any means (gimmick or otherwise), to learn about wildlife behavior.

To be honest, spy orangutan still haunts my dreams (chasing me through the jungle, frothing with soap lather and frantically jerking a handsaw back and forth).

Spy otter robot? £3,000. Learning that otter mums puff up their pups’ fur, making them into stationary otter-cotton ball buoys while they dive for dinner? Priceless.


I hate that show!
apart from the obvious bad taxidermy, they have all these cutaways that show the animals interacting with it that had to be shot from 10 feet away. Totally bunking any “spy” concept they were going for.


Unsettling Otter Spycam is the name of my Throbbing Gristle tribute band.



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