Shooting video in the wild

By Africashot / January, 4, 2013 / 0 comments

Filming our latest video in Kenya’s national parks has been the most fascinating video shoot by Africashot to date, mainly because at the same time it was the most challenging.

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Scenic Air Safaris from Africashot on Vimeo.

The step from real estate photography & video to shooting wildlife was rather complicated, our longest available lens was the 24 – 105 L, it feels like using a wide angle on the Canon 5D Mark II, even if you are as close as 5 or 10 meters to the subject, therefore absolutely not enough. Investing in long lenses for our full frame cameras would also have been extremely pricy, and rentals range from simply not available to fright & duty charges exceeding the value of the actual lens… therefore not an option. The solution: the 3x crop function of the 600D / T3i, without exaggerating it is what made this video entirely possible.

To reach an equal magnification in video with 5D Mark II as the Canon 600D / T3i with the 55 – 250 mm  in 3x crop function (250 x 1.6 x3= 1200) a monster lens like this


1200mm, but not the right lens for this job!

would be necessary, with 120000$ price-tag, rocket launcher to drive it around not included! The T3i / 3x lens combo did much better, very compact and light. The 55 – 250mm sure isn’t the dream lens to go with it either, the focus breathing is like another zoom lens all by itself and when pulling the focus ring its like pulling a rubber band always sliding back into place meaning you actually have to pull beyond the right place to get it right, but all in all it was the best bang for the buck.

Capturing wildlife on video

Some photographer must have once said that one should always try to avoid working with animals or children, at least as far as animals are concerned I could not disagree more; it is a fantastic experience but requires patience, often when we attempt to cover an action outside of our control we feel as if we wanted to be in several places at the time, waiting for 3 hours under a tree for a Leopard to come down is so the opposite of that! To me it sometimes even seemed as if the animals were posing, especially the marabu with the two vultures like a king with his servants on min. 1:49 of the video below.

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Kenya Holiday from Africashot on Vimeo.

The way the  Tawny Eagle posed for the initial shots of the first video was also rather spectacular. From the beginning the idea was starting the video with an Eagle, but we never got a good shot at the few we saw flying. On the last day at only a few yards of the Mara Airstrip this fellow was sitting in a dead tree eating his breakfast and allowed me to film him in several positions, jumping from branch to branch, throughout the last 15 min before the plane landed for the departure.

tawny-eagle in video

If you’d like to book a holiday in Kenya like you can see in the videos above, head over to Villas Diani and see the fantastic lodges and camps on offer.

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