I’ve always loved nature and wildlife. Watching old 8mm movies at my parents home, I’d watch myself still in diapers trying to feed and apple to my rocking horse or giving an inflatable elephant a hug.
When I was eight, I shot my first “real” photograph of a walrus at Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago. Looking at it today, it really wasn’t that bad of an image.
I was given a 35mm still camera as a gift when I lived in Japan and learned a great deal about form and presentation.
That’s when I really started trying to capture on film what I saw and felt in nature.
They say a photograph is worth a thousand words but it wasn’t long before I realized that I had a lot more to say. Luckily for me, digital video was just around the corner and that has allowed me to express what I never could in photographs.
Filming nature and wildlife is a incredibly small niche. I’ve travelled to Yellowstone almost every year where I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of photographers but have only run into two filmmakers, one who was shooting for the BBC.
Until recently, I understood the hesitancy for many to shoot video. The biggest reason I would hear is how do you show your footage to other people? It’s easy to carry around photographs in your purse or wallet, not so easy to lug around a TV and a video player.
Shooting Nature and Wildlife Video is Easier Than Ever!
Things are different now. When Apple came out with the first iPod Touch, I knew filmmaking would never be the same.
I realized that I could have a portable theater that I could carry with me anywhere I went.
As technology progressed, video cameras became cheaper, iPods, iPads and iPhones all had cameras that could record video. Video however, never really caught on and I can only speculate as to why.
My best guess is that there are too many steps. You shoot the video, you transfer it to your computer, you load it up in your editing program, edit the video, add music, narration and then export the whole thing to YouTube.
But even that has been made easier. You can shoot edit and upload a video all from your smart phone.
Which brings us here, to this post.
My goal is to help you shoot better nature and wildlife video.
Video and photography share many of the same “rules” so even if you’re not interested in video you might still pick up a tip or two as we go.
So before we get into the how’s and why’s of shooting better video, I want to give you something to think about before my next post, what to shoot.
Your goal is to come up with an idea that you’d like to film. It could be documenting the birds that visit your feeder, your garden as it comes to life this Spring, even the wildlife you encounter on vacation. Whatever it is, think about the story you want to tell and share.
You can shoot the most incredible imagery but if you don’t have a story to tell, your videos will fall flat. Ask any successful filmmaker and they will tell you it’s all about the story.
I’d also like to know what you’d like to see in this series. Do you just want technical tips and tricks? Need to know how to develop a story? How to edit your video? I’d love to hear from you.
One More Thing
Before I close this post, grab my gear and head out to film, I thought I’d share with you some footage I shot several years ago. Looking at it now, I can see there are quite a few things I would do differently if I were shooting this video today.
Like all things in life, we should constantly strive to improve. I hope in the coming months I can help you share your love of nature and wildlife with others though video and like I am fond of saying at the end of my posts…
Keep shooting the ordinary but make it extraordinary .
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