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Underwater Photography

Welcome to the online resource section for Africa Media’s underwater photography training program. Here you will find all the resources to successfully run the program as the course instructor or a field specialist.

Vital Contacts

Jackie Griffin (Company COO): 084 419 8511, Jackie@africa-media.org

Fiona Ayerst (Owner): 082 604 5893 (not to be shared)

Blue Wilderness (service provider):

Monkeyland KZN (service provider): 

Quick Answers

Working hours for course instructors / field specialists

Working days / hours on the program are Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM. One hour for lunch and other coffee breaks as needed throughout the day. Midmonth on the reserve you will be required to work one weekend Whilst on the game reserve, you will also be required to work later and earlier on occasion as requested by students in the case of night shoots, sun rise and sun set time lapses etc. Optional. You can optionally drive and guide weekend trips for additional cash payments. This time and effort is entirely separate from your course instructor / field specialist work

Food and catering for Course Instructors / Field Specialists

Whilst working on the course you will be entitled to eat standard meals provided by Africa Media and the game reserve. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner. If you choose not to eat, no additional compensation will be offered.

Accommodation for Course Instructors / Field Specialists

If required you will be provided with accommodation whilst working on the program. This will be in a shared room with a maximum of one other course instructor or field specialist. On occasion, you may be required to share accommodation with students when on the game reserve. If you choose not to take advantage of accommodation offer, no additional compensation will be paid for your own accommodation.

Can I film whilst on the reserve

During your time on the game reserve, you will only be able to film for the following

  1. All content collected will belong solely to Africa Media and can be used by course instructor only for personal and marketing purposes.
  2. Only professional filming with Africa Media cameras and equipment will be permitted. Personal equipment will be limited to cell phone
  3. Company CEO must give permission to film and will only be granted in situations of very small student groups (<3), and when it does not interfere with your teaching of the program.

What reserve(s) do we visit

Reserve choice will be determined by company CEO prior to month start and dependent on student number, and space availability. The current reserve options are

  1. Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve (View website)

What dates do we go to reserve?

The precise dates vary from month to month, but typically will be the second Wednesday of a month, between the 11 – 14th. 8 nights will be spent on the reserve.

Payment Terms

Course instructors payment will occur on last working day of month following compleation of program. Bonus payment will occur when (a) student videos are successfully uploaded onto Africa Media Youtube channel / photojournalism playlist and link of proof is sent to company COO amd (b) all expense slips have been submitted to Company CFO. As instructor is freelance postion, no taxes or benefits will be withhold

Program Schedule

Welcome

This set of tabs outlines the daily activities and important notes (goals) that course instructors and field specialists need to adhere to during the teaching of this program.

Please note – the schedule offers some more advanced options for ‘experienced students’ who either arrive with a high degree of skill or partake in the program for two months. But also appriciate the program cannot be ‘rewritten’ for the individual needs and wants of each student.


Morning

Afternoon

Day 1 


Key Goals of Day

  • Student Orientated to life at AM

  • Students orientated to program

  • Liablity signed

(Lecture 1 - Africa Media Orientation). Orientation to program, life at Africa Media, weekend activities, covid, how meals and board run, safety etc.

 

(Lecture 2 - Course Orientation). Orientation to program specifically. Instructor to introduce to team, give plan on month, and hold dicussion on who the studentsd are and their efforts and current skill level.  


(Administration). Student gives to sign liability waivers on equipment and dangers etc. 

(Lesson recap - Intro to wildlife filmmaking). Quick spoken recap on wildlife filmmaking and ensure all the students have watched videos online before arrival. Make sure that if they havnt to watch in evenings.

 

(Workshop 1 - Gear Issue) All gear all issued, fitted, and have the students happy with it (tested). Ensure students put the gear away for themselves in an accessible yet safe place,  and then look after it and use the same gear throughout the month. Introduce communal gear and how that will work

 

(Workshop 2 - Premier Download). Workshop downloading and installing premier onto all students computers and ensuring they have access to the editing software for the month. 


Day 2

Key Goals of Day

  • Familar with Camera Functions

  • Familar with camera maintainance

(Workshop 3 - Camera Use). Workshop going through all the functions on the cameras (Hvx200) and DSLR cameras. Continue with filming outside gueshouse with cameras to learn functions and operations. 

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(Workshop 4 - Gear maintainance). Workshop going through all gear and showing how to treat it when using it in the wild and also how to clean and maintain the gear for longivity. This includes

1. Camera, 2. Tripods, 3. Lens, 4. Cards, 5. Batteries


(Workshop 5 - Data Management). Take students through downloading and storing their footage on harddrives. Recap online lessons

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Day 3

Key Goals of Day

  • Reading Animal Behaviour



(Lesson Recap - Cameras Settings). Students to recap on camera settings whilst working with cameras. Specifically (a) depth of field, (b) frame rate, (c) zoom, (d) exposure, (f) focus.

 

(Lesson Recap - Animal Behaviour). Students to recap on camera settings whilst working with cameras. Specifically (a) depth of field, (b) frame rate, (c) zoom, (d) exposure, (f) focus. 

(Workshop 6- Camera use on Farm). 2 hours working on filming animals on farm - including Goats, donkeys, birds (weavers), tortoises and rabbits. (download footage, clean cameras)


Day 4 

Key Goals of Day

  • Master of Human Talent

  • Master of conducting interviews

  • Master Audio in wildlife film

(Workshop 7 - Audio). Students to recap on audio types and then go through audio equipment and learn how it all fits into the camera set up.

 

(Lesson Recap - Human Talent). Recap working with human talent


(Workshop 8 - Interviews). Setup and film three interview types with students. Namely (a) one person / Director (b) two person interview and (c) cinema vertea talent action. (content based on farm animals from yesterday)


(Lesson Recap - Editing). Recap on various editing lessons and answer any questions before students to start editing


(Editing). Students to combine interviews with farm animal footage and produce a 1 minute sequence on.

 

(Lesson recap). Recap on shooting sequences in preperation for tomorrow trip to monkey land and birds of eden

Day 5

Key Goals of Day

  • Filming sequences of wildlife

  • Filming B-roll for sequences


(Workshop 9 - Monkeyland & Birds of Eden trip). Trip to monkey land and birds of Eden. Filming sequences training and B-roll. Also focus on reading animal behaviour and working out how to collect footage based on behaviour



(Workshop 9 - Monkeyland & Birds of Eden trip). Trip to monkey land and birds of Eden. Filming sequences training and B-roll. Also focus on reading animal behaviour and working out how to collect footage based on behaviour  (download footage, clean cameras)


Morning

Afternoon

Day 6


Key Goals of Day

  • Drone Masterclass

  • Gimbal Masterclass

  • Analysis of Films

Dive 4 - Snorkel at Rockpool). First dive with large camera in local rockpool. Focus on wide angle and controlling camera underwater, ensuring lens is clean, knowing buttons. 

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(Dive 5 - Shore entry). Shore entry SCUBA dive at Dolises. Focus on adding lights into the situation and controlling these lights underwater during the dive. 


(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of battereis (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

(Lec 9 - Editing Sequences) - Lecture on building a sequence on a timeline. specfically ordering wides, mids, closeups. choosing in and out points, utilising video channels to allow easy manipulation. 


(Editing workshop) Edit two sequences - one underwater one topside, utilising all shot types collected during practical workshops. (students should include stablility post techniques also). End with export and crit of sequences. 



Day 7

Key Goals of Day

  • Master Story

(Workshop 10 - Story Development). Big camera reef dive - focus on filming and SCUBA diving techniques with large camera - filming wildlife subjects. Practical training on entry and exit with cameras, and safety of camera on boat. 

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(Lecture 10 - Colour Correction). Lecture on post production colour correction. Specifically correcting for white balance, adjusting colours curves, working shadows, highlights, adjusting saturation, and matching colours throughout 

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(Editing Workshop - Colour Correction). Students to construct a single sequence using previous skills on (a) stablility, (b) sequencing, and add to it colour correction techniques. Exported and critiqued by class. 

Day 8 (travel)

Key Goals of Day

  • Travel to reserve

  • Orientation drive on reserve

(Travel). Depart from Mossel Bay at 8Am to arrive at reserve at 14h00. Stop for snacks and lunch purchases at either Colcester (Schotia) or Graaif Renuit (Camdeboo). 

(Orientation drive). Once at the research, drop of personal gear and unload film equipment. Then conduct a orientation (students can carry personal cameras) or the reserve and build relationship with guide.  

Day 9 (reserve)

Key Goals of Day

  • Story Finalisation

  • Content Collection

(Practial - Story Development). Morning spent writing stories, talking to guides, and pitching idea to instructors and guides. (instuctor to organise gear during this period)

(Practical - Filmmaking). Lunchtime briefing for filming plan, then afternoon spent filming wildlife. Download (over dinner period) and content management 

Day 10 (reserve)

Key Goals of Day

  • Content Collection

(Practial - Filmmaking). 15 minute morning briefing on mornign filming plan then out collecting content for students story

(Practical - Filmmaking). Lunchtime briefing for filming plan, then afternoon spent filming wildlife. Download (over dinner period) and content management 

Day 11 (reserve)

Key Goals of Day

  • Content Collection

(Practial - Filmmaking). 15 minute morning briefing on mornign filming plan then out collecting content for students story

(Practical - Filmmaking). Lunchtime briefing for filming plan, then afternoon spent filming wildlife. Download (over dinner period) and content management 

Day 12 (reserve)

Key Goals of Day

  • Content Collection

(Practial - Filmmaking). 15 minute morning briefing on mornign filming plan then out collecting content for students story

(Practical - Filmmaking). Lunchtime briefing for filming plan, then afternoon spent filming wildlife. Download (over dinner period) and content management 

Morning

Afternoon

Day 11 -  (Free diving land) - Floater


Key Goals of Day

  • Master landbased static apnea

  • Master land based dynamic apnea

  • Master safety theory for freedive

(Lesson - Free diving) - Lecture on the theory behind free diving and holding your breath


(Lesson - Free Diving Safety) Lecture on free diving safety


(Workshop - Freediving Land) - Land based practical on free diving breath holding and testing the ability of students to hold breath on static and dynamic apnea. 

Day 12 - (Shark Diving)

  

Key Goals of Day

  • Practise static apnea in cage

  • Using small camera in situations

(Dive - Cage Diving). Students to join WSA cage diving trip. To film with gopro on handle at high frame rates of sharks. Topside to film with personal camera if they want. 

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(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of batteries (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

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(Edit)  Start white shark cage diving scene with particular emphasis of shark - and realise limitations without b-roll, other subjects and perspective in shots

 

(Lesson - perspective) Recap on perspective and b-roll lesson. Will be used over next days

Day 13 - (Free diving water) - Floater

  

Key Goals of Day

  • Master waterbased static apnea

  • Master waterbased dynamic apnea

  • Master duck dive

(Workshop - Pratical on duckdive). Session at dolosers to practise duck diving and maintaining depth on a free dive at the dolersa. Specifically on techniques, and correctly weighting yourself to be neturally buoyant on free dive. 

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(Workshop - Freediving pool). two hour pool session on practising free diving techniques for static (max 3 minutes) and dynamic apnea (max 50m). 

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Day 14 (Shark Diving)

 

Key Goals of Day

  • Master breath hold in cage dive

  • Use cage, surface and people for perspective

(Dive - Cage Dive). Students to join WSA cage diving trip. To film with gopro on handle at high frame rates of sharks. Topside to film b-roll of bait handler, faces, sharks. 


(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of batteries (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

(Edit) -  White Shark Cage Diving scene with particular emphasis of using b-roll and perspective shots to fill out the scene. 

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Day 15 -  (B-Roll / Perspective)

 

Key Goals of Day

  • Building perspective into shots

  • Collecting usable B-Roll

  • Introducing B roll into sequence

(Dive - Perspective) - Boat dive on a reef with a lot of structure (walls, gullies, reefs). Dive to collect footage where you create shots with a subject, foreground and background content. Maximise perspective. Also focus on content that has perspective without major subject - to be used as B-Roll

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(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of batteries (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

(Edit) -  Boat dive on a reef with a lot of structure (walls, gullies, reefs). Dive to collect footage where you create shots with a subject, foreground and background content. Maximise perspective.


Use b-roll footage to insert into an existing timeline as effective b-roll 

Morning

Afternoon

Day 16 (Talent D1)


Key Goals of Day

  • Film entire sequences

  • Filming diver entry

  • Edit land and sea together

(Dive 18 - Raggie shark dive). Dive at Raggie Point to film and locate large raggies. Focus is on positioning low on the reef and allowing the raggies to apprach and find the diver. 

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(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of battereis (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

(Workshop - Talent & Communication). Recap on lesson on working with talent and communications. Students break into pairs and conduct training (using cheat sheet) of underwater signals to get footage of them together with farm animals. 

Day 17 (Talent D2)

   

Key Goals of Day

  • Master animal interaction

(Dive - Communication Dive). Students to do dive filming talent (each other) and using communication signals to direct talent


(Dive - (Talent dive) Dive at Mitches reef or fluffies. Aim to film a sequence of talent cleaning reef by collecting fishing line. 

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(Cleanup). Clean up of cameras, charging of battereis (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

(Workshop - Editing). Have students work personally on building and editing sequence from the pervious two days diving with talent. 

Day 18 (Talent D3)

    

Key Goals of Day

  • Fiming diver entering water

  • Building a soundscape

(Dive - Water Entry Dive). Specialist training dive working on filming water entry to a diver from multiple angles. Namely self filming (gopro), waiting submerged, and boat frame. 


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(Workshop Editing). Finish editing a sequence using human talent and fishing line, water entry to cleanup a reef. Include fish and b-roll 

(Workshop - Soundscapes). Workshop on editing techniques to build multiple audio tracks (voice, narrator, ambinat, music) and mixing them correctly onto a sequence

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Day 19  (Pitching & Stock) - Floater

   

Key Goals of Day

  • Personal tutoring of trouble points

(Workshop Pitching). Recap on pitching lesson. Prepare a personal pitch to present the pitch via (a) a written pitch treatment, and (b) and standup pitch.

  

(Workshop Stock). Recap on stock footage licencing and exporting . Work with students on choosen stockclips 

(Workshop - Stock Footage). Students set up profiles on two libraries and upload content. Namely - Pond5 and Nature Footage. Get best stock clips uploaded. 

Day 20 (Editing & Presentation)

  

Key Goals of Day

  • Presentation of films

  • Final editing of timeline

  • Export at least three good quality films

(Editing). Clean up of cameras, charging of battereis (camera and lights), rinsing and drying of housing, 

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(Exporting). Students to export sequences, and stock clips from their month  of diving. Aim to show some of the sequences that evening. 

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Dive Notes

Dive. Introduction

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is an introduction assessment dive for the instructor to determine the ability and competence of the student. It is also an opportunity for the student to detect any problems with their equipment and weighting.

Briefing It is important for instructor to let students know theey will be accessing the quality of the students buoyancy and competence. Specifically talk to students about using lungs for buoyancy, not having arms waving about, and trying to relax on the dive. Also if any equipment failures exist, then as we will be shallow we can surface and fix. 

Dive. Stability (1)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a dive with Gopros. The goal is to take students through boat entries, and then when in the water focus on techniques to shoot stable footag. SPecfically using two hands, flutter kicking, positioning to the current.

Briefing It is important for instructor to let students knowpurpose isss to get used to not having hands free and to focus on stability through good dive technique and letting subjects do the acting. 

Dive. Stability (2)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a dive with Gopros. The goal is to take students through boat entries, and then when in the water focus on techniques to shoot stable footage. This will be deeper dive, so students need to recognise this and see how it affects dive duration, opportunity to film and buoyancy.

Briefing Instructor to brief on deeper dive, focusing on effeciency – still being relaxed, but capturing content in a smaller window. Also to continute to focus on stablity. Instructor to point out individual areas for student to work on based on previous dive. 

Snorkel. Large Pool / Rockpool

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a snorkel with the larger cameras and withut lights. Aim is to allow students to get filming with the camera but to have opportunity to standup and talk to instructor about issues they are having with focus, exposure, record, balancing etc. Also important for students to ensure that camera is working correctly and balanced.

Briefing Instructor to brief on why snorkel – to allow communication. To work out any issues in buttons and functioning camera. 

Dive. Shore Entry

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a shore entry dive with big camera. Usually doliser or mitches reef. Aim is to introduce students to filming with the big cameras, using the lights, in a safe and secure zone. Whilst remaining to focus on stability. Now students are working with exposure, iso and focus

Briefing Instructor to brief on why shallow scuba – namely to get used to big camera in sheltered area. Focus on learning buttons and in particular exposure, focus, and recording. 

Dive. Boat Intro (1)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a boat entry dive with big camera. Take through protocol of getting cameras into and out of water (passing), and protecting them on the boat (bags, towels, dome covers). On dive, students need to start readinh the currents and looking out for ways to film up at subjects and reading the environment – sun, currents, surge, visibility.

Briefing Instructor to brief on boat protocl wilth cameras. Also on dive that will not move but find a subject and focus on one or two subjects for dive. Thinking of sequences – wide, mediums and if possible closeups. Also reading the environment (sun, surge, current, visibility) to achive goal. 

Dive. Boat Intro (2)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive is:

This is a deeper boat entry dive with big camera.  On dive, students need to continue reading the currents and looking out for ways to film up at subjects and reading the environment – sun, currents, surge, visibility.

Briefing Instructor to person recap on previous dive. Also brief that next dive will be deeper and affect buoyancy (lose it more), and to continue with finding subjects and focus on getting all the shots of that subject. (Wides, mediums, close). 

Dive. Raggie SCUBA (1)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive are

  1. Collect varied footage of ragged tooth sharks by using professional diving techniques to allow them to move close to camera.
  2. Train in standard fil;ming techniques to keep footage sharp, stable and exposed correctly.

Key briefing points

  1. Stay low – Keep part of the reef, either by hiding beside outcrops, staying low on reef, or dipping into crevice.
  2. Breath hold – Occassionally hold breath if ragged tooth shark is approaching. This iwll stop it getting frightened away by bubbles.
  3. Don’t chase – Watch the behaviour of the sharks and position yourselft to intercept them. Don’t chase the sharks as they will quikly dissappear.  patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Snorkel. Shark Cage Dive (1)

Instructor notes

The two aims of this dive is

  1. Collect natural history footage of great white sharks
  2. Get creative in shots to offer more angles and compositions.
  3. Work with ‘crew’ to wrangle sharks into required position.

Key discussion points

  1. Communication – Student will need to talk to crew to explain what they are looking for. Shark closer, shark further, no bait in shot, etc.
  2. Angles – Student to create angles by getting low in the cage and shooting up, using a pole cam for closeups, collecting topside footage, holding camera just above surface (over under).
  3. Perspective – Have students get perspective by using surface as a ceiling, using bars in foreground, filming along boat hull.
  4. Static apnea – Advise on breathhold – have students doing recovery and then maximising breath hold underwater to get long continious shots.

Snorkel. Shark Cage Dive (2)

Instructor notes

The aims of this dive expedition are

  1. To film a ‘promo’ style video either for the company or for tourists (students decision). This includes both ‘topside and ‘underwater’ shots.

Process

  1. Students to be briefed and issued with gopros.
  2. Filming starts before the expedition with boat getting ready, tourists arriving.
  3. Creative B-roll and topside subjects filmed whilst waiting for time in cage
  4. Topside of great whites filmed whilst waiting to get in cage
  5. Pole cam of sharks and tourists in cage
  6. Cage dive with variation of shots including

Key discussion points

  1. This is a career opportunitiy – as many aspiring underwater videographers get jobs filming tourism expeditions.
  2. Appaearance releases are essential if you hope to use footage for stock with people in it.
  3. Dedicate efforts to the ‘two shot’ which is client and shark together in near the same frame.

Snorkel. Freedive Doliser

Instructor notes

The aim of this dive is

  1.  To train in using static apnea, ducking diving and dynamic apnea to collect video footage of sharks at a depth of around 4m.

Process

  1. Issue cameras – large cameras without lights.
  2. Issue sorkelling equipment – No SCUBA tanks.
  3. Chum sharks – drop bait box at dive location
  4. Practise duck diving – Withouth cameras have students practise duck diving and hovering at bottom. Ensuring weight allows near hovering.
  5. Practise with cameras – Students to then take cameras and collect footage

Key discussion points

  1. Free diving techniques – Recap on free diving techniques they have learnt previously.
  2.  – Try to get used to the button positions, so that you don’t have to look for buttons when filming
  3. Standard layout – Get students to understand that most video camera have a similar setup and you can quickly move from one to another in about 30 minutes.
  4. Quality images – Getting focus sharp, exposure correct, image stable and composition is essential for every shot to be usable.
  5. Composition – students to think artfully with rule of thirds and other techniques to compose an image that is interesting.

Dive. Perspective

Instructor notes

The two aims of this workshop are

  1. Evaluate the ability of individual students with camera use (experienced / novice)
  2. Teach the students to use hard buttons and become familiar with recording

Process

  1. Issue cameras, battery’s, P2 Cards, tripods and white balances.
  2. Discuss how to treat cameras (always a hand on camera, careful with lens,
  3. Tripods – Start with people connecting to tripods
  4. White Balance – et students to manually white balance and work the presets
  5. Focus – Get students to practice and film shark focus, using assist, zooms etc.
  6. Exposure – Get students to expose correctly using Iris, ND filters, and Gain (adds noise)
  7. Composure – Get students to start thinking of composure – rule of thirds, getting low, etc.

Key discussion points

  1. Stability – The use of stability is essential if subjects are any distance away from you. Be that a gimbal, tripod, throw-bags etc.
  2. Muscle memory – Try to get used to the button positions, so that you don’t have to look for buttons when filming
  3. Standard layout – Get students to understand that most video camera have a similar setup and you can quickly move from one to another in about 30 minutes.
  4. Quality images – Getting focus sharp, exposure correct, image stable and composition is essential for every shot to be usable.
  5. Composition – students to think artfully with rule of thirds and other techniques to compose an image that is interesting.

Dive. Raggie (2)

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to understand that they are part of the environment – affect wildlife
  2. To get students to start watching animal behaviour and solve filming issues
  3. To get students to collect all shots for a sequence edit – close, mediums, wides

Process

  1. Connect with farmers (Louis or Derrick) to ensure animals are present
  2. Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Scene 1 – Rabbits (goal – get low to get subjects to look better)
  4. Scene 2 – Weaver birds (goal – patience, long lens, watch behaviour)
  5. Scene 3 – Goats and Sheep (to see who animals react, control with food etc.)

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Individual animals, different species, and different situations all impact an animals behaviour. Students need to watch, learn, ask questions to be able to quickly access and understand behaviour of an individual in a given situation – then they can work out best way to capture video images. 
  2. Make effort in composition – Be better and put in effort in getting onto ground, walking up the hill, getting the sun behind you. This effort will turn a rubbish image into a good image.
  3. Go through all the shots for a sequence – Wide (establish), medium (action), close (emotion and cutaways) as well as B-roll to enable a sequence to be edited. 
  4. Patience – Animals do not take direction, some can be manipulated slightly be food and fear, but for the most part we need to wait until the animal performs the behaviour we are seeking. Our job is to be in the right position, ready to film, and hit record. Knowledge of behavioral patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Dive. Communications

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to understand that they are part of the environment – affect wildlife
  2. To get students to start watching animal behaviour and solve filming issues
  3. To get students to collect all shots for a sequence edit – close, mediums, wides

Process

  1. Connect with farmers (Louis or Derrick) to ensure animals are present
  2. Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Scene 1 – Rabbits (goal – get low to get subjects to look better)
  4. Scene 2 – Weaver birds (goal – patience, long lens, watch behaviour)
  5. Scene 3 – Goats and Sheep (to see who animals react, control with food etc.)

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Individual animals, different species, and different situations all impact an animals behaviour. Students need to watch, learn, ask questions to be able to quickly access and understand behaviour of an individual in a given situation – then they can work out best way to capture video images. 
  2. Make effort in composition – Be better and put in effort in getting onto ground, walking up the hill, getting the sun behind you. This effort will turn a rubbish image into a good image.
  3. Go through all the shots for a sequence – Wide (establish), medium (action), close (emotion and cutaways) as well as B-roll to enable a sequence to be edited. 
  4. Patience – Animals do not take direction, some can be manipulated slightly be food and fear, but for the most part we need to wait until the animal performs the behaviour we are seeking. Our job is to be in the right position, ready to film, and hit record. Knowledge of behavioral patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Dive. Talent

Instructor notes

The two aims of this workshop are

  1. Evaluate the ability of individual students with camera use (experienced / novice)
  2. Teach the students to use hard buttons and become familiar with recording

Process

  1. Issue cameras, battery’s, P2 Cards, tripods and white balances.
  2. Discuss how to treat cameras (always a hand on camera, careful with lens,
  3. Tripods – Start with people connecting to tripods
  4. White Balance – et students to manually white balance and work the presets
  5. Focus – Get students to practice and film shark focus, using assist, zooms etc.
  6. Exposure – Get students to expose correctly using Iris, ND filters, and Gain (adds noise)
  7. Composure – Get students to start thinking of composure – rule of thirds, getting low, etc.

Key discussion points

  1. Stability – The use of stability is essential if subjects are any distance away from you. Be that a gimbal, tripod, throw-bags etc.
  2. Muscle memory – Try to get used to the button positions, so that you don’t have to look for buttons when filming
  3. Standard layout – Get students to understand that most video camera have a similar setup and you can quickly move from one to another in about 30 minutes.
  4. Quality images – Getting focus sharp, exposure correct, image stable and composition is essential for every shot to be usable.
  5. Composition – students to think artfully with rule of thirds and other techniques to compose an image that is interesting.

Dive. Water Entry

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to understand that they are part of the environment – affect wildlife
  2. To get students to start watching animal behaviour and solve filming issues
  3. To get students to collect all shots for a sequence edit – close, mediums, wides

Process

  1. Connect with farmers (Louis or Derrick) to ensure animals are present
  2. Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Scene 1 – Rabbits (goal – get low to get subjects to look better)
  4. Scene 2 – Weaver birds (goal – patience, long lens, watch behaviour)
  5. Scene 3 – Goats and Sheep (to see who animals react, control with food etc.)

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Individual animals, different species, and different situations all impact an animals behaviour. Students need to watch, learn, ask questions to be able to quickly access and understand behaviour of an individual in a given situation – then they can work out best way to capture video images. 
  2. Make effort in composition – Be better and put in effort in getting onto ground, walking up the hill, getting the sun behind you. This effort will turn a rubbish image into a good image.
  3. Go through all the shots for a sequence – Wide (establish), medium (action), close (emotion and cutaways) as well as B-roll to enable a sequence to be edited. 
  4. Patience – Animals do not take direction, some can be manipulated slightly be food and fear, but for the most part we need to wait until the animal performs the behaviour we are seeking. Our job is to be in the right position, ready to film, and hit record. Knowledge of behavioral patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Dive. Tripod & Marco

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to understand that they are part of the environment – affect wildlife
  2. To get students to start watching animal behaviour and solve filming issues
  3. To get students to collect all shots for a sequence edit – close, mediums, wides

Process

  1. Connect with farmers (Louis or Derrick) to ensure animals are present
  2. Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Scene 1 – Rabbits (goal – get low to get subjects to look better)
  4. Scene 2 – Weaver birds (goal – patience, long lens, watch behaviour)
  5. Scene 3 – Goats and Sheep (to see who animals react, control with food etc.)

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Individual animals, different species, and different situations all impact an animals behaviour. Students need to watch, learn, ask questions to be able to quickly access and understand behaviour of an individual in a given situation – then they can work out best way to capture video images. 
  2. Make effort in composition – Be better and put in effort in getting onto ground, walking up the hill, getting the sun behind you. This effort will turn a rubbish image into a good image.
  3. Go through all the shots for a sequence – Wide (establish), medium (action), close (emotion and cutaways) as well as B-roll to enable a sequence to be edited. 
  4. Patience – Animals do not take direction, some can be manipulated slightly be food and fear, but for the most part we need to wait until the animal performs the behaviour we are seeking. Our job is to be in the right position, ready to film, and hit record. Knowledge of behavioral patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Dive. Night Dive

Instructor notes

The two aims of this workshop are

  1. Evaluate the ability of individual students with camera use (experienced / novice)
  2. Teach the students to use hard buttons and become familiar with recording

Process

  1. Issue cameras, battery’s, P2 Cards, tripods and white balances.
  2. Discuss how to treat cameras (always a hand on camera, careful with lens,
  3. Tripods – Start with people connecting to tripods
  4. White Balance – et students to manually white balance and work the presets
  5. Focus – Get students to practice and film shark focus, using assist, zooms etc.
  6. Exposure – Get students to expose correctly using Iris, ND filters, and Gain (adds noise)
  7. Composure – Get students to start thinking of composure – rule of thirds, getting low, etc.

Key discussion points

  1. Stability – The use of stability is essential if subjects are any distance away from you. Be that a gimbal, tripod, throw-bags etc.
  2. Muscle memory – Try to get used to the button positions, so that you don’t have to look for buttons when filming
  3. Standard layout – Get students to understand that most video camera have a similar setup and you can quickly move from one to another in about 30 minutes.
  4. Quality images – Getting focus sharp, exposure correct, image stable and composition is essential for every shot to be usable.
  5. Composition – students to think artfully with rule of thirds and other techniques to compose an image that is interesting.

Workshops

Workshop 1. Camera Operation

Instructor notes

The two aims of this workshop are

  1. Evaluate the ability of individual students with camera use (experienced / novice)
  2. Teach the students to use hard buttons and become familiar with recording

Process

  1. Issue cameras, battery’s, P2 Cards, tripods and white balances.
  2. Discuss how to treat cameras (always a hand on camera, careful with lens,
  3. Tripods – Start with people connecting to tripods
  4. White Balance – et students to manually white balance and work the presets
  5. Focus – Get students to practice and film shark focus, using assist, zooms etc.
  6. Exposure – Get students to expose correctly using Iris, ND filters, and Gain (adds noise)
  7. Composure – Get students to start thinking of composure – rule of thirds, getting low, etc.

Key discussion points

  1. Stability – The use of stability is essential if subjects are any distance away from you. Be that a gimbal, tripod, throw-bags etc.
  2. Muscle memory – Try to get used to the button positions, so that you don’t have to look for buttons when filming
  3. Standard layout – Get students to understand that most video camera have a similar setup and you can quickly move from one to another in about 30 minutes.
  4. Quality images – Getting focus sharp, exposure correct, image stable and composition is essential for every shot to be usable.
  5. Composition – students to think artfully with rule of thirds and other techniques to compose an image that is interesting.

Workshop 2. Working with Farm animals

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to understand that they are part of the environment – affect wildlife
  2. To get students to start watching animal behaviour and solve filming issues
  3. To get students to collect all shots for a sequence edit – close, mediums, wides

Process

  1. Connect with farmers (Louis or Derrick) to ensure animals are present
  2. Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Scene 1 – Rabbits (goal – get low to get subjects to look better)
  4. Scene 2 – Weaver birds (goal – patience, long lens, watch behaviour)
  5. Scene 3 – Goats and Sheep (to see who animals react, control with food etc.)

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Individual animals, different species, and different situations all impact an animals behaviour. Students need to watch, learn, ask questions to be able to quickly access and understand behaviour of an individual in a given situation – then they can work out best way to capture video images. 
  2. Make effort in composition – Be better and put in effort in getting onto ground, walking up the hill, getting the sun behind you. This effort will turn a rubbish image into a good image.
  3. Go through all the shots for a sequence – Wide (establish), medium (action), close (emotion and cutaways) as well as B-roll to enable a sequence to be edited. 
  4. Patience – Animals do not take direction, some can be manipulated slightly be food and fear, but for the most part we need to wait until the animal performs the behaviour we are seeking. Our job is to be in the right position, ready to film, and hit record. Knowledge of behavioral patterns can allow us to predict a little to make it easier. 

Workshop 3. Monkeyland & Birds of Eden

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to successfully shoot full sequences for small short stories. 
  2. To get students to become masters of their cameras and operations 
  3. Develop students ability to tap local knowledge
  4. Get students to practice developing their professional network. 

Process

  1. Book – Ensure that Monkeyland / BOE is contacted and the gorup is booked on for filming day 
  2. Pack – Issue cameras, extenders, batteries, cards, throw-bags, tripods.
  3. Lunches – Book packed lunch’s (day before) and collect and pack lunches
  4. Travel – Depart (circa 08h00) and travel to Monkeyland
  5. Birds of Eden (1st) – Brief students on objectives – watch, choose a subject, film an entire sequence that can be used for a short 1 minute video story. Use all the skills they have been taught. If they finish, they can choose a second subject. Typically move to the more open area at the northern end of the Avery, ibis, swans, geese make good subjects. 
  6. Lunch – Break for lunch at parking lot – eat pancakes. 
  7. Monkey land – Brief students  on objectives – watch, choose a subject, film an entire sequence that can be used for a short 1 minute video story. Use all the skills they have been taught. If they finish, they can choose a second subject. Typically ring tailed lemurs and capuchin monkey’s are two good subjects. 

Key discussion points

  1. Watch how animals are behaving – Choosing a subject is important, look at viability, look at interesting behaviour, look at interactions between individuals. Make it interesting.
  2. Setting – Get them to subjectively choose a setting – is it in captivity, or is it in the wild. If wild, then no image can show human activity or structures (fences, paths, netting). 
  3. Birds – get low, stay still and realise they are very flightily (but some are very habituated), is difficult to film into the sun on the open field, and lots of human stuff in the way. 
  4. Monkeys – they move fast, and if students don’t watch behviour and predict where they are going, then they will always miss action. The feeding stations are easy but very unnatural (except for close ups when you can shot around the station), again get low to the monkeys for better angles. 
  5. Animals look the same! Let them remember in most cases animals look very similar – so different animals can be the same subject. Although sometimes good to choose a really unique animal (one legged or something) as then an audience can readily identify it. 

Workshop 4. Editing in Premier

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to be able to set up and record an interview.
  2. To understand different setups and how talent works in these setups
  3. To develop skills of students to get positive performance out of talent

Process

  1. Equipment issue – Use only two cameras, tripods, boom mic, radio mics, reflectors.
  2. Audio setups – Take students through how to set up audio on people and cameras
  3. Select setting – Around farm find good setting think sound, background, sun, story etc.
  4. one character interview–  fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) director / off screen interviewer. Setup and record a single person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Get student talent to play the part. (NB if not enough students – combine roles and get involved).
  5. two character interview – fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) on screen interviewer. Setup and record a two person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Include interviewer doing noddies, and re-asking questions for closeup.

Key discussion points

  1. Good setting – Because wildlife doco’s don’t have closed sets, have to be very choosy on location – need quiet, non-disturbance, lighting good (time of day) and relevant backdrops.
  2. Treat talent good – Practice how to treat talent (keep out of sun, have crew do position setup), also ensure that the interviewer works on giving good positive affirmations when listening.
  3. Full answers – When interviewer off camera – get talent to ensure they give full answers including the questions where possible (e.g. ‘John’ vs’ ‘My name is John’). Not important if interviewer on camera and audience can hear the question.
  4. Talk over – Ensure talent and interviewer do not talk over each other.
  5. Levels! Talk about peaking and muffling and how to set the correct levels through ‘1,2,3,4’ type stuff
  6. Reflectors – Use reflectors (if possible) and angles to get good images on the talent

Workshop 5. Interviews and Talent

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to be able to set up and record an interview.
  2. To understand different setups and how talent works in these setups
  3. To develop skills of students to get positive performance out of talent

Process

  1. Equipment issue – Use only two cameras, tripods, boom mic, radio mics, reflectors.
  2. Audio setups – Take students through how to set up audio on people and cameras
  3. Select setting – Around farm find good setting think sound, background, sun, story etc.
  4. one character interview–  fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) director / off screen interviewer. Setup and record a single person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Get student talent to play the part. (NB if not enough students – combine roles and get involved).
  5. two character interview – fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) on screen interviewer. Setup and record a two person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Include interviewer doing noddies, and re-asking questions for closeup.

Key discussion points

  1. Good setting – Because wildlife doco’s don’t have closed sets, have to be very choosy on location – need quiet, non-disturbance, lighting good (time of day) and relevant backdrops.
  2. Treat talent good – Practice how to treat talent (keep out of sun, have crew do position setup), also ensure that the interviewer works on giving good positive affirmations when listening.
  3. Full answers – When interviewer off camera – get talent to ensure they give full answers including the questions where possible (e.g. ‘John’ vs’ ‘My name is John’). Not important if interviewer on camera and audience can hear the question.
  4. Talk over – Ensure talent and interviewer do not talk over each other.
  5. Levels! Talk about peaking and muffling and how to set the correct levels through ‘1,2,3,4’ type stuff
  6. Reflectors – Use reflectors (if possible) and angles to get good images on the talent

Workshop 6. Story Development

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to be able to set up and record an interview.
  2. To understand different setups and how talent works in these setups
  3. To develop skills of students to get positive performance out of talent

Process

  1. Equipment issue – Use only two cameras, tripods, boom mic, radio mics, reflectors.
  2. Audio setups – Take students through how to set up audio on people and cameras
  3. Select setting – Around farm find good setting think sound, background, sun, story etc.
  4. one character interview–  fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) director / off screen interviewer. Setup and record a single person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Get student talent to play the part. (NB if not enough students – combine roles and get involved).
  5. two character interview – fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) on screen interviewer. Setup and record a two person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Include interviewer doing noddies, and re-asking questions for closeup.

Key discussion points

  1. Good setting – Because wildlife doco’s don’t have closed sets, have to be very choosy on location – need quiet, non-disturbance, lighting good (time of day) and relevant backdrops.
  2. Treat talent good – Practice how to treat talent (keep out of sun, have crew do position setup), also ensure that the interviewer works on giving good positive affirmations when listening.
  3. Full answers – When interviewer off camera – get talent to ensure they give full answers including the questions where possible (e.g. ‘John’ vs’ ‘My name is John’). Not important if interviewer on camera and audience can hear the question.
  4. Talk over – Ensure talent and interviewer do not talk over each other.
  5. Levels! Talk about peaking and muffling and how to set the correct levels through ‘1,2,3,4’ type stuff
  6. Reflectors – Use reflectors (if possible) and angles to get good images on the talent

Workshop 7. Effects cameras

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to be able to set up and record an interview.
  2. To understand different setups and how talent works in these setups
  3. To develop skills of students to get positive performance out of talent

Process

  1. Equipment issue – Use only two cameras, tripods, boom mic, radio mics, reflectors.
  2. Audio setups – Take students through how to set up audio on people and cameras
  3. Select setting – Around farm find good setting think sound, background, sun, story etc.
  4. one character interview–  fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) director / off screen interviewer. Setup and record a single person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Get student talent to play the part. (NB if not enough students – combine roles and get involved).
  5. two character interview – fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) on screen interviewer. Setup and record a two person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Include interviewer doing noddies, and re-asking questions for closeup.

Key discussion points

  1. Good setting – Because wildlife doco’s don’t have closed sets, have to be very choosy on location – need quiet, non-disturbance, lighting good (time of day) and relevant backdrops.
  2. Treat talent good – Practice how to treat talent (keep out of sun, have crew do position setup), also ensure that the interviewer works on giving good positive affirmations when listening.
  3. Full answers – When interviewer off camera – get talent to ensure they give full answers including the questions where possible (e.g. ‘John’ vs’ ‘My name is John’). Not important if interviewer on camera and audience can hear the question.
  4. Talk over – Ensure talent and interviewer do not talk over each other.
  5. Levels! Talk about peaking and muffling and how to set the correct levels through ‘1,2,3,4’ type stuff
  6. Reflectors – Use reflectors (if possible) and angles to get good images on the talent

Workshop 8. Pitching

Instructor notes

The aims of this workshop are

  1. To get students to be able to set up and record an interview.
  2. To understand different setups and how talent works in these setups
  3. To develop skills of students to get positive performance out of talent

Process

  1. Equipment issue – Use only two cameras, tripods, boom mic, radio mics, reflectors.
  2. Audio setups – Take students through how to set up audio on people and cameras
  3. Select setting – Around farm find good setting think sound, background, sun, story etc.
  4. one character interview–  fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) director / off screen interviewer. Setup and record a single person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Get student talent to play the part. (NB if not enough students – combine roles and get involved).
  5. two character interview – fulfil roles of (a) primary camera, (b) secondary camera, (c) talent and (d) on screen interviewer. Setup and record a two person interview on a random animal subject that students choose. Include interviewer doing noddies, and re-asking questions for closeup.

Key discussion points

  1. Good setting – Because wildlife doco’s don’t have closed sets, have to be very choosy on location – need quiet, non-disturbance, lighting good (time of day) and relevant backdrops.
  2. Treat talent good – Practice how to treat talent (keep out of sun, have crew do position setup), also ensure that the interviewer works on giving good positive affirmations when listening.
  3. Full answers – When interviewer off camera – get talent to ensure they give full answers including the questions where possible (e.g. ‘John’ vs’ ‘My name is John’). Not important if interviewer on camera and audience can hear the question.
  4. Talk over – Ensure talent and interviewer do not talk over each other.
  5. Levels! Talk about peaking and muffling and how to set the correct levels through ‘1,2,3,4’ type stuff
  6. Reflectors – Use reflectors (if possible) and angles to get good images on the talent

PowerPoint Lectures

Optional if students have compleated online learning

Lecture 1. Introduction to Wildlife Filmmaking

Lecture 2. Kit and Maintainance

Lecture 3. Cameras and Specifications

Lecture 4. Audio in Wildlife Filmmaking

Lecture 5. Shooting for an Editor

Lecture 6. Working with Talent

Lecture 7. Animal Behaviour

Lecture 8. Story Development

Lecture 9. The Soundscape

Lecture 10. Colour correcting and Grading

Course Online Lectures

AFRICA MEDIA

Africa Media is a premier supplier of production services, experiential media training programs and interactive edu-tourism expeditions throughout Southern Africa.

Our mission is to build an enthusiastic generation of wildlife and environmental  specialists who have the skills and passion to build successful careers or make significant contributions in the wildlife and environmental media industry.

CONNECT

ADDRESS

182 Aalwyn Way

Aalwyndal

Mossel Bay 6520

South Africa