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Under Water, Over Land
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 05:30 PM   #1
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Review of 2007

Happy New Year filmmakers, I hope everyone had a safe and successful 2007. I'll share a few highlights from this past year.

January found me hunkered down in my studio editing my last SD wildlife documentary, a salmon film entitled Journey Home of the Chinook Salmon. I shot it over 8 spawning seasons on the greatest salmon producing river in the world, the Fraser river. According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, it is the first film produced on the returning Chinook salmon to spawn. They proofed the script for this production and rate the movie 10 out of 10. The film is 90 minutes in length, has 10 chapters covering subjects like under water spawning action, hatcheries, grizzlies at the top of the food chain, Fisheries and Oceans role, the life cycle of the salmon and so much more. All in all it took 14 weeks of post production to complete and I'm so excited to finally release it on DVD.

From time to time I left the studio to film wildlife near our country home here in the Rocky Mountains using the Canon XLH1. Capturing close-ups of different species of woodpeckers, brown creepers and red squrriels feasting on the Mountain Pine Beetle that's attacking the pine forest here in British Columbia was a welcome break. On one such trip I tracked a lynx ( his tracks looked smoking fresh in the snow ) and located him feasting on a freshly caught snowshoe hare. Capturing 30 minutes of him eating, burying the left overs, interacting with a female who came in later, grooming, etc. was incredible. There was fresh snow on the trees, perfect lighting, and great action, the distance was about 50 feet, what more could I ask for? By springtime every opportunity away from marketing DVDs was spent filming grizzlies, black bears as well as bird life. Capturing intimate footage of a nesting wild Canada goose with her newly hatched youngsters peeking out for the first time was exciting to say the least.

On a different note I was pleased when I received an e-mail in May from the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula Montana stating that I had won an Honourable Mention Award for Cinematography. I had entered ( Vol. 5 ) Sheep and Grizzly Country which was a 2006 release. My distributor just recently hammered out a deal with a TV station from Finland for 2 broadcasts on this title.

In June Global TV here in Canada broadcasted a film entitled Places of Green which is a story on trees. It was shot on HD and much of the wildlife in the film was shot by me using my Canon XLH1.

Summer went by oh so fast. A lot of time was spent raising my 2 little boys, picking wild berries, gardening, installing a new metal roof on the house, marketing and filming. September found me filming the elk rut. I was charged at close range at one point, however, I quickly ran behind a tree, even managed to film the bull's angry behaviour as he came up to the tree. I'll never forget a 3 hour battle between 4 bald eagles on the spawning grounds. A large spawned out salmon was the reason for their fighting and I was well hidden in a brush blind just 40 yards away. They never locked talons, however, they were awful close to doing that. Shooting 60i with 1 / 120 shutter speed, the footage is stunning and some of it will someday be in my first HD movie. In late September I received CBC radio coverage about my salmon film, a 5 minute interview at prime time, 8:30 am. Exposure is everything in marketing and every bit helps.

Late October and into November is spawning time for small Kokanee salmon where thousands leave a large lake and spawn in a creek near where I live. Filming a grizzly bear feasting on these 10 inch landlocked salmon was exciting.

November is the rutting season for mule deer which I focused on for three weeks. Many special moments were filmed. A 30 minute battle or actually a series of battles between 2 small 8 point bucks was recorded. A very large non-typical buck sporting 16 points ( 8X8 ) and a heavy antlered (4x4 ) with a spread of about 30 inches was also highlights for me.

December came and went all too quickly with marketing, short day trips and family time.

2007 also marks off my 10th year of wildlife filmmaking full time. Despite the huge undertaking of filming my series alone and often in dangerous situations, it has been the best 10 years of my life.

Let's praise God for His wonderful creation. Happy filming everyone.

Leon Lorenz
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 10:10 PM   #2
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What a great year of outdoor life, oh yea and the editing part too!!

Today I stumbled into wintering golden eagles and got a small amount of slope soaring footage in 50 to 70 km winds. The new year begins.

When will your dvd be marketed???

I thank god for the wonder of it all every day!!! We only need to open our eyes.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 03:31 AM   #3
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Hi Leon,

Thanks for your comprehensive update of the previous year, I sincerely hope 2008 is just as rewarding for.
Like you I am at present editing away, this edit is of our recent trip tp India. Although I have plenty of tiger footage, trying to find real good stable clips is a challenge as a lot was filmed from the back of an elephant. Prodad Mercalli is working overtime!
I wish all here on this forum a successful 2008 with all the challenges and endeavours you set yourselves.


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Old January 3rd, 2008, 07:27 AM   #4
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Congratulations on a great year, and best wishes for the trend to continue!

Not to try to hijack the thread, but are you working on a documentary on tigers Mick? Because I was recently trying to find one, and didn't find to many options that were what I was looking for. I would love to be able to hear from you if you have plans for being finished anytime in say the next three months! Please PM, and again, best of luck with 2008 Leon!
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 01:12 PM   #5
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Hi Mike Happy new year

Is that Prodad Mercalli worth getting

Ian Thomas.
Thomas Video Productions
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 03:29 PM   #6
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Hi Daniel,

I seem to have a problem trying to PM you. If you would care to e-mail me with what you need to know I will do my best to help you.

Hi Ian,

And a happy New Year to you.
The programe is not bad, but at times there is a trade off in quality. I have found though that on clips with small amounts of movement it is very good.


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Old January 3rd, 2008, 07:30 PM   #7
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Dale, to your questain...Journey Home of the Chinook Salmon was released in early summer and is usually marketed along with my earlier releases. I now have the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the BC Wildlife Federation very interested in using this film for fund raising.

Getting golden eagle footage in the winter would be very rewarding.

Mick, it must a real challenge to film from the back of an elephant, at least your safer up there. Is it possible to fasten a small platform on either side of the elephant's back to rest your tripod?

All the best,

Leon Lorenz
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Old January 4th, 2008, 01:39 AM   #8
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Leon, happy new year to you.
Enjoyed reading about your 2007 :-)
I'm considering ordering some of your DVD's, you got some great films and picture at your website, it's an inspiration to look at other works, keep up your good work Leon!

2008 will be my first year full time wildife filmmaking! Hope to write successfull report in the end of this year myself, it look nice so far!
- Per Johan
Vimeo Site and Stock Footage Library at Pond5
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Old January 4th, 2008, 02:15 AM   #9
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Hi Leon,

The problem with supports from an elephant is I would need exclusive use of it for filming approx $680 U/S for half a day. Also the elephants do move a lot when they are trying to stand still!

There is a well known Indian cameraman Alfonse Roy, who has worked extensivly at Bandhavgarh NP he has a tripod made from long scaffold poles with a small platform on the top and tripod head bowl attached. He attaches it to the side of the ele when searching. When he films he sets it up from the back of the ele and steps across from back of the ele to sit on it to film. Very effective. He is a proffesional cameraman and works a lot for the BBC and therefore has good budgets.



Last edited by Mick Jenner; January 4th, 2008 at 05:34 AM.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 05:30 AM   #10
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Hi all,

Happy New Year Year to you all.

Hi Leon - I enjoyed your 2007 review and the clips on your website.

Hi Per - 2008 will also be me first year of full-time wildlife filmmaking - fingers crossed eh.

Wishing everyone a successful year in your wildlife film pursuits.


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Old January 5th, 2008, 08:29 PM   #11
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Thanks guys for your replies. For everyone stepping off into filmmaking full time... I found the first several years the hardest. Was always pulled between marketing and filming. I have since learned to make hay when the sun shines, therefore now always make full use of the windows of opportunity that arise in filming.

May God bless,

Leon Lorenz
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