Editing wildlife movies - Page 3 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 March 10th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #31
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 157
Thank you for your lengthy post, Anthony. Interesting points.

But if a scientist calls an elephant Boadicea it is kind of humanizing, isnīt it? Or is it only to make the animal an individual? I think it is a very smart thing to do when an author wants to make people interested in the beast, as long as it stops with the name.
Sverker Hahn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 10th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #32
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sitka Alaska
Posts: 470
I agree with you Anthony. I have lived in rural Alaska for 25 years. I see it everyday. Right out my window. Whether it's in the ocean or on the land. It's eat or be eaten. Natures cruelty is unforgiving, and just about the time you think you have something figured out, you get blind sided by some animal behavior that should not be taking place. Do deer eat fish? Most would say no. But, it has been recently discovered here in Southeast Alaska, as bazzar as it sounds, that deer do sometimes eat salmon. Every June in my area, the Bald Eagles kill over 90% of all the young waterfowl. In the fall the Bald Eagles and Gulls feed together on fish. In late winter the Eagle eats the very same Gull. In the spring the Brown Bear feeds along side the deer with it's fawn. A month later the Brown Bear is hunting both of them. The real world is cruel, and very unforgiving. I quit reading the professional produced books because, they are so inaccurate.
David Rice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 10th, 2010, 04:03 PM   #33
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California
Posts: 8
I agree Sverker, giving an animal a name to ditigush it from another is perfectly human, espesialy when telling a story. The problem is when a person sees an animal as a individual and has an emotional connection to it from the rest, applying anthopomorphism.They then loose their objectivity when it comes to animal behavior. More often than not the SCIENTIST writing these books are tring to prove that aniamls have human like emotions, not studying animal behavior, and science with a pre determend oppinion is not valid in my book. To believe that animals have complex human emotions such as empathy and forgivness, sympathy and kindness, based on what someone wrote in a book is ignorant.
I'll be curios to see what human emotion they give the captive Orca that just kill his female trainer last week at Sea World...could'nt have been he is a wild thinking animal.

Ahmen David, consider yourself lucky to live in such wildness as Alaska.

Cheers guys...Anthony
Anthony Maxwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 10th, 2010, 05:48 PM   #34
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
Thanks for the reply Anthony and also David for your contributions as well.

Anthony, I am sorry you think I am ignorant for reading that book. I absolutely do not believe something just because another person wrote it. On the other hand, I do feel it is useful to listen to what others think and consider the evidence in the wild as well as from my own experience. Just for the record, I do not believe animals have a human sense of morality or a human sense of empathy. However, I do think those charactersitics in humans came from somewhere. It makes sense that the roots are in the animal kingdom no matter how tough a life they have.

What a great documentary subject this would make: An examination of how trying to interpret wild animals' actions from a human position is misleading. The problem will then be how should a documentary interpret the actions. What is the story the documentary should tell? What does it mean when a deer eats salmon? In fact, why is that bizarre anyway, it just is. Maybe the story is also about making documentaries and how tricky it is to get it right.

Animal "intelligence" presumably suits the needs of the animal's place in its environment. The animal is not smart because the animal is partly human. To interpret this animal intelligence as human is -- just as you point out -- completely incorrect. To deny that some animals are smarter than other animals, however, is just as incorrect. But that "smartness" is not necessarily even similar to human smartness.

I am equally sure you could describe many examples of what a wild dog (or David could describe what a wolf) considers fair in the distribution of food within the pack. It is not the same as a human for sure, but there is a sense of "fair play" in many animals. There are also in those same animals, individuals who do not play fair (they cheat), and in the case of wolves if that individual continues to cheat, it will eventually be shunned by the pack. So in a sense the pack insists on a kind of wild justice -- certainly not a human justice, but a wolf justice instead. The documentary could examine what that means to the wolves and point out that this is not human justice.

Even the word cruel is one that comes from a human sense of moral behaviour. If an animal has no moral sense, it cannot be "cruel" -- intentionally causing suffering for the sake of causing suffering. A lion bringing live prey back to youngsters who then look like they are "playing" with it might seem "cruel" to someone who does not understand that the lions are simply teaching the young to kill the prey they will need as food when they are adults. Although the example may seem gruesome to some, it does illustrate that the adult lion is planning ahead and in some animal way understands the notion of teaching and learning.

And there are examples of animal cooperation ranging from pride and pack attack strategies on prey to cooperative tending of babies by one mother while the others go off to feed or catch prey.

However, the basic question of how a documentary should be presented both from the perspective of accuracy and the best way to present the story would make a great documentary. As Sverker remarks allowing the animal to have an "identity" as an individual can make it easier to present the story as long as it doesn't go any further than a name.

A delicate balance indeed.

Alan
Alan Emery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 10th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #35
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California
Posts: 8
Bravo Alan, Very valid points and a great idea for documentary.I think your correct, there is no cruelty in the animal world. Everything that is done has some purposeful explanation, although I have seen herds of goats killed by one line in one knight in apparent blood lust. But this must have some rational meaning in the mind of the lion, certain it is not killing for the fun of it or to be cruel, which is alone a human trait, just like the other human emotions we try and attribute to animals.Everything that happens in the natural world is so complex to us but so simple the animals that live in that environment and the only way we can understand it is to inject the human equation and emotion. But I think we have completely lost touch with what has made us what we are...the human animal, we're too domesticated.
Wow deep crap LOL.
Seriously,I think it would be a breath of fresh air this idea of yours for a documentary. I would watch it.....Antone
Anthony Maxwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2010, 01:50 AM   #36
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 220
I like turtles!
Ryan Farnes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 12th, 2010, 04:04 AM   #37
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 938
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Maxwell View Post
To believe that animals have complex human emotions such as empathy and forgivness, sympathy and kindness, based on what someone wrote in a book is ignorant.
I'd take that slightly further and suggest that to believe that all humans have complex emotions such as empathy and forgiveness, sympathy and kindness is probably mistaken belief.

Anyone doubting the inhumanity of man has a million non-fiction books to choose from, many of which quote reasonable evidence that diversity has always been with us and that includes inhuman behaviour by humans towards humans. When animals show signs of diversity, among their own species or across species, we need not be surprised.

We do not need another war to remind us of the lessons of the last one.
Brendan Marnell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #38
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
Hi Brendan,

The best of documentaries examine as many sides of a situation as possible. They also have a solid and often profound philosophical underpinning. Your comments provide a good example of that ability to look at all sides from a solid foundation.

As you say, just because humans have the capacity to show empathy and forgiveness, sympathy and kindness certainly does not mean they all will, nor even that those who do show these charateristics will not sometimes abandon those abilities and go to a very dark opposite, even using the knowledge of what kindness is all about to trap unsuspecting victims. Perhaps if some of the more intelligent animals can display their own type of empathy, it follows that they could also display their own dark side as well.

An exploration of the difficulty for a documentarian to find the correct interpretation of what he or she is seeing might be quite revealing about ourselves and about animals.

There are lots of examples of the more intelligent animals displaying what looks like a sense of animal justice and altruism, empathy and even selfless behaviour in helping others. It is of course highly doubtful that these are identical to what a human might do or feel, but they are examples of that type of behaviour. No wonder the uninitiated might interpret that as "human".

How could one demonstrate the distinction in motivation between human and the animal acts that appear very similar, but which could have a very different basis for the action?

That is definitely a challenge in editing wildlife films.

Alan
Alan Emery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 13th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #39
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: California
Posts: 8
Great points Alan and Brendan, all which make prefect scene. There is no animal on earth as cruel as humans. I have watched villagers in Zimbabwe kill Hippo with spears, one of the most brutal and inhumane things I've ever witnessed. Although for food, they did this with no regard to life or the suffering of that life what so ever...in my mind not human.I have also watched hunters kill various game for meat in the village, where the animals quick and clean kill was first and foremost, where an animals suffering turned their stomach. Defiantly both sides of the human coin. The difference is humans are capable of these complex emotional responses and There is no unbiased proof of animals having these qualities, and I have never witnessed any thing that resembles these behaviors in the wild.Where it fall apart for me in with science of these types of animal behavior experts is when you look at there agenda.If you look at Mark Bekoffs affiliations he is a member of some of the most rapid and militant animal rights groups out there..."A boy is a pig is a dog" mentality, where animals are equal in all ways to humans. Philosopher Jessica Pierce like wise. Look, what I'm saying is I can't take the information from scientist or filmmakers with an agenda and assume any of it has an uninfluenced outcome.When someone with the strong emotional bias that animal rightist have, go out with the " need to prove animals have the same human qualities" mind set, will never produce fact in my mind.

Thanks for the stimulating conversation, I truly wish the documentary makes of the Hollywood clik mind set, had the same conviction to think things out like you guys.
Animals deserve our utmost respect, even more than some humans, for they are innocent in there place in this world....We are not .
Antone
Anthony Maxwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 13th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #40
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
This topic is really tempting. It is not too hard to prepare an accurate documentary if the subject is about a place, or about a time of year, or how plants work, or even a life history. But as soon as you try to follow an individual animal, or a group of relatively intelligent animals, the temptation is to tell a story. Stories typically have heroes and villains, challenges and struggles to meet the challenges.

The series "Meerkat Manor" is a mix of mostly accurate photography and a clearly anthropomorphic narration.

The "March of the Penguins" is told with no naming of animals and no real attempt to portray them as human characters, yet the story grabs the human emotions and almost demands that you identify with the penguins.

"Arctic Tale" is an accurate filmic depiction of the events, but the narration includes naming animals with cute names and the tale is distinctly anthropomorphic in flavour.

"Happy Feet" is basically a wonderful cartoon with humans shaped like little penguins.

So in our discussion, Happy Feet doesn't pretend to be an accurate documentary. Arctic Tale amd Meerkat Manor are photographically more-or-less accurate documentaries with an anthropomorphic narration, and March of the Penguins is accurate both photographically and for narration, but is constructed so that it feels like human emotions and reactions are involved.

Is it possible for a human being to tell a story about an individual animal or group of animals facing a challenge without getting all tangled up with human emotions and sensibilities?

What documentary would you choose that is the best example of following the adventures of an individual anmal or group of animals that successfully avoids the pitfalls of anthropomorphising or humanizing the animals in the story?

Alan
Alan Emery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 13th, 2010, 07:29 PM   #41
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sitka Alaska
Posts: 470
"When someone with the strong emotional bias that animal rightist have, go out with the " need to prove animals have the same human qualities" mind set, will never produce fact in my mind."


I wonder if the pack wolves that just brutaly murdered the woman at Chignick Lake Alaska last week will qualify for a attorney.......
David Rice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #42
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
Hi David,

You, your community, and especially the family of the young woman killed have my heartfelt sympathies. Losing a young person in the prime of life is a terrible tragedy.

Alan
Alan Emery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14th, 2010, 09:07 AM   #43
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 157
When we call a tragic killing of a human a "brutal murder" we judge the wolves from a human moral perspective. If so, all of the wolfs kills are brutal murders.

---

In Sweden we have 200 wolves. Hunters see them as a threat to their own hunting, a threat to their dogs and sheep owners also lose a fair amount of animals to wolves (and to lynx). 4000 hunters set out to kill 27 wolves in January. There is also a fear of wolves attacking humans in the rural areas.

Brown bear in Alaska are obviously more dangerous than their swedish relatives. Is that so also with the wolf? And I did not think that mountain lion was dangerous to man until I got that knowledge when I visited California for the first time.
Sverker Hahn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #44
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sitka Alaska
Posts: 470
All animals have the capacity to attack man or each other. I guess that's why we call them animals.
David Rice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 14th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #45
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Janetville Ontario Canada
Posts: 210
Hi David,

Human beings are also completely capable of killing each other or other animals. There are rare occasions when human society feels it is OK to kill another human, war or self-defense (including legal executions). But for the most part, killing people think killing each other is not a moral act.

The wolves probably saw the young woman as prey, legitimate food. Human society never really sees any reason why an animal predator should be allowed to kill a human. So it is completely reasonable to protect ourselves against the animal predators either by being cautious and informed or if necessary by eliminating the threat. However, judging the wild animal predators by human standards presumes that they can judge moral acts in identical fashion to a human. I personally doubt a wild animal can make that judgement according to our human standards.

I am unsure exactly how to approach this and the broader subject from a documentary point of view, but it clearly is an important one.

Alan
Alan Emery 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 07:17 AM.


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