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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:59 AM   #1
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Editing wildlife movies

I am really tired of a certain type of wildlife movies. Are the edited by rock video editors? Short scenes - 5 seconds or less - and accompanied by rock music.

A few days ago I saw a National Geographic sponsored movie depicting lions in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Since we are planning to go there next year, I managed go get my wife to see it, too.

But it was such a disappointment. My wife couldnīt watch it because she was blinded by some of the transitions. Believe it or not, but the transitions went to white, giving the impression of a photographic flash in your face.

Then there was the irritating use of music, the short duration of clips and also the stupid narration. The accompaning text was sort of humanizing the lions - "the lioness knew that the pride could face famine if her daughter didnīt help with the hunt" and other stuff like that. The lions was even told to have not eaten for several days when showing them with bellies full of food.

Another stupid line was that some wandering males did intrude in the prides territory "covered by the darkness of the night".

What has happened to wildlife movies?

Am I the only one feeling like this?
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Old March 4th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #2
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You are not at all alone. With the proliferation of natural history and wildlife programming on cable and satellite channels, there is a very real race for ratings.

I went to the Jackson Hole Wildlife film festival and people there talked a lot about the crazy and unnatural depictions of land predators and sharks. I've even heard some people call setup stuff like feeding frenzies "wildlife pornography." A short promo video in contention for some awards was called "ReThink Sharks" if I remember correctly. Basically, sharks are one of the most feared animals on earth, and yet account for a pitifully small number of attacks or even fatalities annually. We can thank more than the film Jaws for our fear of them.

I personally have an aversion to reality based television because it more often than not insults my intelligence and I actually get stupider watching them. Hehe. Unfortunately, that style has made its way into some mainstream wildlife programming.

I honestly think that some of the producers and narrators of these inaccurate or obnoxious programs would have been snake oil salesmen 100 years ago, doing their crazy act to drum up interest and intrigue without a clue what they were actually talking about or selling.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 08:13 AM   #3
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This is the way to do it.

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Old March 5th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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RAY,


Thank you ever so much for that linc!!! I laughed so hard!!!

I watched this before going filming for the evening, and I will have to try to get something like that, EH?

Joking aside, I think that far to many films have far to short of clips. People crticise you if you have clips over 5 seconds. Personally, I feel that you can totally lose the mood and the great feeling of being out doors by making it feel rushed!!! Now if you have a multi camera shoot of the same subject in the same shoot then that is all right because of the continuity of action, or in some cases inaction.

Perhaps it is the RUSH RUSH society!!


I agree!!!!!


dale guthormsen


going out to enjoy the even pace of nature and perhaps catch a bit of it on film!!
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Old March 5th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #5
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It's the younger generation. Short or even lack of a attention span. Every day I walk through a park consisting of old grouth timber, unusual fauna, song birds, waterfowl, and small animals like mink. I see something new every day. Sometimes I just stand or watch, or even put my face to the ground. Sometimes I can sit and watch for hours. But, 95% of the people who use the park, are 20 or 30 somethings, jogging along with headphones blazzing away. They have no idea what they are jogging past. They have no idea what's right under their feet, or above their heads in the trees.

Your lucky today's viewers are not requesting computer generated graphical special effects in the nature shows.

The world has changed.......
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Old March 6th, 2010, 03:45 AM   #6
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I do agree David but a significant factor in being there is that your other senses come into play. You can feel the warm/cool breeze on your face, smell the damp grass, hear the sounds around you (better than a mic. can) and of course, we are equipped with superb 3D wide angle vision (one of the reaons that beginners tend to hosepipe). The film maker has to compensate for this and one way is very short clips and obtrusive background music.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 08:01 AM   #7
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Most of my footage is 20 minutes. When making a program of 1,5 hours (DVD) it seems like clips of 5 minutes are not too short and not too long. I have tried it on middle aged people and they love it.

But even young people (12-15 years old) appreciate my different approach with long clips and a fixed camera.

So now the problem is to find the channels that could reach the public in a bigger scale than my colleges and friends. Any tips are welcome.

You might check the kind of footage I am talking about at Pictures-come-alive from LentoVision .
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Old March 6th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #8
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I can find colleges and friends who will watch long nature clips, and enjoy them. But in the competitive world of television, programs are produced based upon ratings and not artistic content. Only reaching the masses who buy the pizza, softdrinks, and weight loss products seem to count. 2-3 second clips seem to now be the norm, even though they are far to fast for my old eyes. I have heard that many people watch television with a remote in their hands, and will decide within 2-3 seconds whether to change channels or not.

Over the years I have provided nature footage to the Animal Channel, OutDoor Channel, TV Stations, and to some Cable companies. My material would be on television 2-3 times, and then occassionally re-run. Then it's over. It's like giving someone a DVD of some unusual footage that you have just taken and excited about. They look at it go wow, then drop the DVD into a drawer, and never watch again.

I think our future is the Internet. Where content is in cyber space forever. Always out there "fishing" and always available for viewing. I have been experiementing for the past year trying to figure out how to work with the Web. How do get nature/wildlife content in front of the people "who want to look at nature/wildlife content". I haven't figured it out yet, so if anyone has any suggestions?, I would like to hear them. Personally, I would like to see some kind Internet Nature/Wildlife Network created that can somehow montetize content. But, I don't have those abilities or resources.

Currently, I am uploading video to promote my own community of Sitka Alaska. I do it with my own resources, at no cost to anyone. Sitka Alaska Video. I could be just another of one of my experiments that may be going nowhere.

Anyone out there with any idea's?

The average television viewer may eventualy tire of the rapid scene changes, and the industry may begin to swing back the other way. Let's hope so.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rice View Post
2-3 second clips seem to now be the norm, even though they are far to fast for my old eyes. I have heard that many people watch television with a remote in their hands, and will decide within 2-3 seconds whether to change channels or not.
We have got old eyes, yes :-(
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It's like giving someone a DVD of some unusual footage that you have just taken and excited about. They look at it go wow, then drop the DVD into a drawer, and never watch again.
Well, I seldom watch a feature movie more than once, even if it is a good one. The thing is that many films craves your attention and if you have already seen it, then something else could be done. I make movies that doesnīt have a plot, you donīt have to see all of it. I call the pictures-come-alive. Have them on your big TV-monitor and use them as paintings - but alive and changing motifs now and then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rice View Post
I think our future is the Internet. I haven't figured it out yet, so if anyone has any suggestions?, I would like to hear them. Personally, I would like to see some kind Internet Nature/Wildlife Network created that can somehow montetize content. But, I don't have those abilities or resources.
In Sweden I have contact with a guy who is about to start a "channel" for companies. Companies can search and select what footage to show on their intranet. That means I can sell my footage in Sweden and even Europe. The idea fits me perfectly, I hope that it emerges withing the next few months. I will tell you if it does. Maybe the idea will spread to the US.
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Currently, I am uploading video to promote my own community of Sitka Alaska. I do it with my own resources, at no cost to anyone. Sitka Alaska Video. I could be just another of one of my experiments that may be going nowhere.
Nice videos, Old Duffer :-)

But Vimeo stutters (I have ≤5 mbps), so it is obvious that our customers need at least 20 mbps or more for us to show nice footage in HD on the internet. How common is that?

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The average television viewer may eventualy tire of the rapid scene changes, and the industry may begin to swing back the other way. Let's hope so.
I agree.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Most of my friends are over 40 years old, and hunt and fish. About once a week we cruise the Outdoor Television Networks (3) of them to watch some of the latest shows. If the hunting and fishing show has too much loud rock or rap music, we turn it off.

I think we need to think past television. I believe the Internet will replace television as we know it within ten years. Somehow we must be able to get Nature/Wildlife comtent to the people who are interested in it. A couple of areas may be in the science and education fields. All High School and Colleges are interested in education based video. Education based content cannot consist of 3 second clips in order to be effective.

There are now sites on the Internet that share science video for science research.

There is also limit grant money out their. A person I know In alaska received a grant to develop a video documentry on women hunters.

But, even with all the government money give away going on, not much seems to be direct toward video production.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 10:29 PM   #11
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Interesting comments from everyone. In my opinion the most interesting wildlife films are edited in such a way that they would tell a beautiful story even without narration and music. Of course professional narration will make it more powerful as will the proper use of instrumental. When a wildlife film is produced with rare and exciting footage, a 48 minute program zips by in a flash, however, a watered down film is boring which they may have tried to spice it up with fancy transitions or use short clips scattered here and there. If you see short clips of rare and exciting footage you can bet they had to buy the footage at a premium price of $50 plus per second used and / or the editor didn't have a clue what he was doing. I hate when rare footage is butchered with peek-a-boo shots, than they often have long boring sections of someone standing in front of the camera talking your arm off.

Leon Lorenz
Canadian Wildlife Productions: Grizzly Bears, Bighorm Sheep in Alberta & BC Rockies DVD Videos
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Old March 7th, 2010, 05:15 AM   #12
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Good views, Leon.

Recently I saw the "Green - the last orangutan". It had no narration at all, which made the footage more powerful. A story created with pictures only. Myself, I had no problems getting everything, but I wonder about non-biologists. Perhaps they needed some more information like "what is that?" - "palm kernels" and so on.

Another excellent wildlife movie was a norweigan about the lynx, slow footage nicely commented by an expert. I will try to get the name of the movie and the maker of it. Update: "Snölejon" (means snowlion) made by Trond Berg.

Besides the catastrophical film from the Ngorongoro lions, I want to lift the film showing the great white shark in South African waters and its intended prey. A long story with short clips and really tiring comments all the time - "why donīt you keep quiet for a minute?".

Thank you all for your inputs - quite interesting ones.

Last edited by Sverker Hahn; March 7th, 2010 at 07:34 AM.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #13
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(I have ≤5 mbps) Wow I wish! On this island all I can get is 1.5mbs. Watching HD isn't even a option for me. Funny, I upload my own Video to HD, yet I don't have the opportunity or ability to view my own material. There is no way that I can determine whether my HD clips work or not. 5mbs must be paradise.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 09:02 AM   #14
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My HD-video (1080p) is in 20 mbps (original is 35) and play beautifully with a WD HD-player. And if knowing that your connection probably never really reach 1,5 mbps you need to have a much, much faster one. Perhaps it takes many years before you can watch HD on your island. I feel sorry for you. My choice is one of economy - I could select a connection that works for HD in this capitol of Sweden.

We saw the movie about the Bear Man - and my wife is now even more afraid of filming grizzly bears. But I still have this picture of salmon fishing bears in my mind - I want to film them! After all, this crazy guy was in close contact with them for several years before he and his girlfriend got killed. And I suppose there are a lot of actions one could take to avoid attacks.

Other creatures I want on video are tufted and horned puffins and bald eagles. There is a chance (but very small) that I and my wife could go to Alaska this summer. Anyway, I hope to get to Alaska sooner or later.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sverker Hahn View Post
I am really tired of a certain type of wildlife movies. Are the edited by rock video editors? Short scenes - 5 seconds or less - and accompanied by rock music.
But it was such a disappointment. My wife couldnīt watch it because she was blinded by some of the transitions. Believe it or not, but the transitions went to white, giving the impression of a photographic flash in your face.
I'm 100% agree with you, there is so many movies like this, currently, that it becomes really boring. It may be ok for police stories, perhaps, but for nature, come on! It' not the purppose. It's totally UNnatural. Can't we appreciate quietly the peace of nature?

I saw a movie about Yellowstone National Park. It was made only with very speed and quick pans shots of the forest and some flashs with a big sound for transition. It seems it was tryng to hypnotize us. WAOW factor but a very poor movie. Because at the end of the documentary I realized that I didn't saw anything of Yellowstone.
I only saw an editor proudly playing with all his NLE's effects.
Yellowstone deserves better than that. Filmmakers should more work ont the depth of their movies and not only on its formal aspect.
I'm sure these kind of movies will be totallly has been in a couple of years.
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