wildlife videographers - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 8th, 2005, 03:47 AM   #16
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 10
Thanks a lot for the reply. I guess I just need to get myself out there and get experience in the field. Are there any techniques / books / etc. that I should study up first for finding interesting wildlife in my area? How do your long range opportunities arise? Through the internet, submitting your reel to productions or companies. I wish film school didn't focus on the useless theory of film and analysis, and acutally gave you good knowledge on how and where to best market yourself, and other practical information I have a huge void in.
Michael Goode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #17
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 10
Hi Meryem!

I couldn't resist replying after reading your message in this thread: I live in Northwest Denver, practically right down the road, and I too chose a GL-2 as my new camera due to its portability and reputation for durability.

Do you use anything in the way of lights, microphones or other goodies to help you get the goods on those backpacking trips? I know I'd like all of the above, if it can be done without needing a Sherpa to schlep it for me!

To save time I put together a little web page about what I have, what I use it for and what I'd like to add ... suggestions more than welcome! ;)

http://home.att.net/~ebw3/vidpage.html

-- Erik
Erik Bien is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 14th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #18
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
Thank you for including the following comment on your webpage, Erik. I was wondering why i took my Benbo tripod on birding holiday and never used it with the result that much of my XM 2 footage is much worse than it might have been if I had a monopod ...

<<And I find I can get good shots with a monopod, as long as it's got a tilt head (panning by pivoting on the leg is usually good enough for me).>>

BM
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #19
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
hi erik: thanks for the shout. it's nice to hear from someone in the area who shoots video the way i do: on the fly, on the go.

i looked at your website--some cool stills! what are you planning to do with your travel footage?

when i go really, really lightly, i sling my GL2 and shoot stuff in the 'hood. i live in the foothills, so there is always, always something worth shooting. even in my neighborhood. when i moved into my house, there were six piles of bear scat under the apple tree. i had to fence my yard for the benefit of the dog, so the bear disappeared. i haven't been able to shoot him yet, but i know he's out there....

when i go generally lightly, i pack a lightweight and comfy Orion Trekker camera backpack: my GL2, AT897 shotgun, MA-300 (wish i had a beachtek!), 2-ft. XLR cable, batts, tape, 'phones, lens cleaners, a coupla filters. for secondary sound recordings, i may toss in a minidisc recorder, discs, a Hoya XLR-to-minijack adapter (lets me use the shotgun with minidisk), and a 1/8'' mic. and the indispensable desktop tripod.

oh, and a snack.

i just posted some lengthy blather rhapsodizing about the charms of the desktop tripod for outdoor videographers at:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...t=spider+brace

if you feel inclined to read about my only really innovative shooting device. you might want to check it out, since your website indicates that you're exploring the problem of traveling lightly with a stabilizer.

i've been experimenting with filters and the GL2 lately, which i highly recommend, because i am trying to find a unique signature "look" for my work which will distinguish it just a teeny bit. i've also been shooting a lot of stuff in black and white, which the GL2 does spectacularly (in my opinion). Hitchcock meets the wilder-wild.

those are most of my experimental secrets...revealed!

if you manage to test out either of those wireless lav sets, i'd love to know how they worked in the field. i have one wired lav--an AT-something or other--and a 10-ft. XLR cord which i use in the field for interviews, and, plugged into the MA-300, it seems to do the trick. it's very reliable and does not add much weight--i can still toss it in the Orion pack. but i've been thinking about wireless lavs for a project which would not work with a wired mic.

i've got loads of other junk, too, dollies, stabilizers, an XL2, a gigantic Lowepro backpack which fits both cameras simultaneously. speaking of needing a sherpa! i tried to lug that huge pack and two cameras plus assorted junk up the green mountain trail the other day and failed (turned back by snow, is my excuse!)

less gear and more fitness would probably be the greatest single enhancement to my video production!

oh, here is my own lame-o website. i don't usually share it. it's perfunctory, simply to show that i have one, linked to my biz card, to reassure clients that i'm for real. no audio, no streaming media, no e-commerce and crummy cheap-o production values. but i'm not very interested in web delivery and have more projects than i need right now, so it is pro-forma, not a selling tool. but since you showed me yours, i'll show you mine. ugh. it is my secret shame.

http://www.planeteproductions.com
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #20
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 10
Thanks for the reply, M!

Meryem,

Believe me, I really appreciate your reply with its nitty-gritty specifics. It is extremely helpful to hear what other people are using, especially other folks stubborn enough to drag video gear where it has no business being!

I hadn't given much serious thought to a desktop tripod, largely because most of them I've ever played with were pretty chintzy, but what you're describing is maybe better than the monopod I was thinking of -- I had already been contemplating some sort of jury-rigged "color-guard belt-hung flagpole pocket thingie" for the end of the leg to do just as you describe in your other post, only with one leg instead of two. But being able to set the camera DOWN once in awhile might be good too ... ;)

Does your mini-tripod mount a standard claw & ball head, or does it have a reasonably-decent head of its own?

As far as what I'm *DOING* with all that travel footage, well, the short answer is "not as much as I should" ... family and friends who tagged along on our last trip are still waiting for their DVDs ... (D'oh!). My step-son is an editor at Fox Sports now, though, so maybe I can con him into taking on some of the post-production responsibilities, especially after his mother and I take him on his first trip to Thailand at the end of the year, and let him use my single-chipper!

We have actually given some thought to organizing such trips professionally, since by now we've built up a pretty good arsenal of what to see, where to stay and so forth (I've been going to Southeast Asia more-or-less annually since 1988).

Before that, though, I'm going to help a friend make her indie feature for "deferred payment," a.k.a. for free this summer -- most likely putting together a 'making-of' documentary and schmoozing the camera crew to get my sweaty paws on the Sony CineAlta they're using, but I'm 1.) pretty resourceful and 2.) none too proud, so who knows what my screen credit might eventually read?

Finally, I tried to visit your website but I ended up at some internet provider's splash page in French (?).

Thanks again for your helpful answer!

Cheers,

-- Erik
Erik Bien is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #21
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
sacre bleu!

it helps to actually know one's own web address. here, try the real one instead:

http://www.planeteproductions.net

just goes to show how often i invoke the silly thing!

my little tripod is nothing fancy, just a simple and inexpensive promaster 6030. the head doesn't have to be anything expensive, because the panning ability of the tripod coupled with the axis of your body motion provides plenty of movement to the head and it is quite smooth, because it is "attached" at your own center of gravity, at hips and waist instead of through hands, arms, shoulders, etc. the nearest analog is probably a steady stick but with the camera still closer in to your chest.

y'oughta do something with your stuff! there are so many small venues in this area for showing groovy travel footage, especially of that region.
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2005, 10:20 AM   #22
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,135
Hello all. As I said before, you don't have to travel to exotic countries to video wildlife. You just need to be in the right place at the right time. This week I was passing a sign to a Wildlife refuge in Alabama and decided to swing in for a few minutes. I parked my car and walked 50 yards to a little viewing station. Well as I started to walk back to my car I heard a noise, looked up and actually got to watch a young redtail hawk fledge. Thats right, I ran to the car, got XL-1s, 1.6 extender and tripod and spent the next hour recording a redtail hawk take to flight for the first time. The really fun part was that the parents kept flying around carrying mice and other food in their beaks to entice him out of the tree. It was so awsome, and, I was less than a two and a half hours from Atlanta. So much to see and video. Just get out there and do it!!!! Bob Safay
Bob Safay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2005, 11:02 AM   #23
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
wow, bob, you have awesome bird karma. i have been trying to get decent hawk footage for a few weeks now. they fly around NCAR up here in boulder, so i've been lurking about trying to get some footage. they are out there every day, in droves, but i can't seem to catch them. birds are really challenging for me. i go to shoot hawks, and instead all the deer and a coyote and a bunch of squirrels show up. so i have cool footage to show for my outings, but no birds. darn it. i have more affinity with the furry critters than the feathered ones, i guess.

there is a giant fat woodpecker down the street who i want to catch while he is whaling away on my neighbor's metal chimney pipe or on a nearby hollow tree, which echoes all over the neighborhood. that bird gives great audio. every time i walk my dog, he is out there banging away, and every time i think to bring my camera on the walk, he just sits there and looks at me.

when i was in hawaii, the turtles came out in droves. that was really cool. i have superb turtle footage.

one of the things i notice about shooting wildlife is, what you love, will come to you. i find it to be very spiritual, actually.
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2005, 01:00 PM   #24
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
You did well Bob.
Me next, ok?
Well next year maybe.
BM
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2005, 06:53 AM   #25
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,135
Thanks. I am planing to go to Colorado over the 4th and then take a side trip to Mesa Verde to do a little videoing. The hummingbirds out there are spectacular. For all you guys in Colorado, I will be down in the little town of South Fork close to Wolf Creek Pass. Like Eric and the others I have hours of video from many wild places, all I need is more time to edit. I told my wife I can video for a few more years, retire and spend the rest of the time editing all the footage. I can probably do a few hours of just birds or insects. Life is very good, especially if you have a camcorder (ANY CAMCORDER) in your hands. Bob

Last edited by Bob Safay; May 26th, 2005 at 07:25 AM.
Bob Safay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #26
Tourist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3
This is a great thread. I too searched in vain for Nature Videographers forum to find nothing. I am doing a documentary on Western Ghats in India. It is a biodiversity hotspot. I made two trips and rented my friend's TRV900. In most cases I was using the on-board mic to record and as expected not the best sound I can get.

I don't have experience in using mics. Is there anyone with experience shooting in a rainforest who has recorded sounds? I have ordered an SGM-2x so that i can record ambient sounds using the short barrel and directional sounds using the long barrel. I will be using it on GL/2 with MA-300 in my next trip.

Thanks a lot for this thread.
Rajesh Mohan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2005, 11:18 PM   #27
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South Bend, IN
Posts: 301
Rajesh-

I noticed this is your first post. Welcome to Dvinfo.net!

My wife and I are wildlife videographers and do most of our work in the rainforests of Central and South America. As you can appreciate, it is very hard work with long hours, nasty (but fun!) conditions, and can be down right exhausting. But, all it takes is capturing a few moments of amazing animal behavior on tape or recording some new animal vocalizations to turn a terrible day into an exhilarating one :)

You, like others who have posted to this thread, mention that there is not a forum dedicated to nature videography and sound recording. I will address that in a post in the coming weeks. However, as I'm sure you're discovering, DVinfo.net is a goldmine of resources for technical solutions, industry news, and just plain old fun. You should continue to use and support this forum.

Now, on to your question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh Mohan
I don't have experience in using mics. Is there anyone with experience shooting in a rainforest who has recorded sounds? I have ordered an SGM-2x so that i can record ambient sounds using the short barrel and directional sounds using the long barrel. I will be using it on GL/2 with MA-300 in my next trip.
You seem to be on the right track. Recording audio for movies, documentaries, industrial applications, and commercials is definitely different than recording professional-quality, ambient nature sounds. You have purchased a decent shotgun mic and the MA-300 XLR adapter for our GL/2 is a wise choice.

However, you should be aware of five major issues:

1. First, most DV cameras generate noticeable noise from their mechanical parts. Although today's generation of cameras are much quieter than several years ago, when recording natural-history sounds that tend to be soft to begin with, the seemingly minor noise can become a problem. Therefore attach your mic to a pistol-grip shock mount and hold it at least three feet away from the camera. By the way, many pistol grips can by attached to a tripod for hands free operation.

2. Use a wind screen at all times.

3. Omnidirectional and supercardioid microphones are great at capturing ambient sounds. However, sometimes they capture too much sound when all you really wanted to capture was a small audio arc in fron tof you--say a rare Indian cat. The best choice in this case is a highly-focused microphone such as a parabolic dish to house your microphone. The dish will allow you to capture the desired audio will minimizing the unwanted, extra sounds coming from the rest of the forest.

4. Buy the best XLR cables with the best XLR connectors you can afford. It really does make a difference. Read these Dvinfo.net threads to learn more about XLRs:

-http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45960&highlight=XLR+cables
-http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=42833&highlight=XLR+cables

5. Finally, monitoring and controlling the sound level through your GL/2 can produce decent results but does not allow for the fine tuning required to capture exceptional natural-history audio. Many times natural history sounds start soft then suddenly grow loud, or vica versa. It is similar to an actor who all of a sudden yells into the mic. Without a quality field mixer, it is virtually impossible to adequately control sound input level. You may get lucky from time to time, but don't take the chance with your hard work, expensive trips, and rare recording chances.

Remember, recording natural-history sounds is the hardest type of audio recording IMHO. Orchestral and operatic recording is on par but even then, there is not a rainforest of other players out there trying to be heard at the same time! Recording the human voice, while with its own challenges, is still a far easier task, since their are clever ways to make good audio great. But with nature recording, it is extremely hard to make good animal sounds great. Record the sound the proper way the first time. Besides, it is often the only chance you get.

Good luck, and enjoy the Western Ghats!
Jeff Sayre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #28
Tourist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3
Hi Jeff,

Thank you very much for the detailed response. I couldn't agree with you any less on the challenges. And of course, dvinfo.net is a great place and a key driver for me to buy GL/2. In fact, the post from Meryem Ersoz on GL/2 over XL/2 was very helpful to me.
I have hiked the rainforests in Western Ghats under extremely rough conditions and my cameras take a beating. My last trip was a 24 hour hike in rain and highly humid environment, many times crossing hip deep streams. And I felt GL/2 would be much simpler than an XL/2 (that I cannot afford right now). And as you say, the rewards are great. I got some never heard before footages of behaviors of various critters. But if I can have a great sound in those circumstances, then the footages would be extraordinary.
Like the challenging and varying light conditions, rainforest have equally varying sound conditions. Only experience and learning from others can help. I look forward to a wildlife video forum.

How do you work with focusing? Do you use manual or auto? Especially when a crested hawk eagle circles over the canopies how do you keep it in focus?
I had limited success with TRV100 by focusing to infinity on manual. But I was recently shooting Ospreys hunting and couldn't achieve the same in GL/2. Any thoughts?

Thanks again,
Rajesh
Rajesh Mohan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #29
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 1,327
I run a video studio as my day job here at The U of Michigan and am a wildlife videographer and film producer the rest of the time. My partner and I co-produced and co-directed "An Osprey Homecoming."

http://www.anospreyhomecoming.com

A movie that deals with an osprey reintroduction program here in
southern Michigan, but the film's sub plot is about biodiversity.
I LOVE being a wildlife film maker!!!

We recently won a Finalist Award at The International Wildlife Film Festival
beating submission by the BBC, CBC, Disccovery Channel and other
big money corporations.

My partner and I used (burned it out and need a new camera now) XL1, EOS
adapter and Canon EF 100-400 USM lens as our long 'gun' and VX2K for
interviews and other short shots. Audio is a combo of Neumann USM69i
for stereo background audio and schoeps MK41 and Sennheiser 416 for
distance audio and camera mics when there was no other way.
__________________
Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
Jacques Mersereau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17th, 2005, 08:32 AM   #30
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,135
Jeff, so you video in the rain forests, so do I. Have you ever beeen down to Belize? As a Peace Corp volunteer there from 1976- 78. One of my assignments was to explore and document several areas (including two reefs) for possible inclusion as a National Park. One other person and I spent over a week hacking through and photgraphing the Bladen River area and its wildlife. Remember, most of these animals have never seen a human and had no real fear of us. This area was eventually selected for National Park Status. If you ever get the oppertunity to go there remember, I was there before it was a park. My God it was magnificent!!! Bob
Bob Safay is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:36 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network