The following article is a brief Guide to filming nature, and its aim is to help a filmmaker to be prepared. When shooting video in natural settings, there are several things that should be kept in mind. First, a person should make sure to be physically prepared. Make sure to carry a map and compass if you will be going to an unfamiliar area, especially if you plan to go off of the main trail. Make sure you have clothing for bad weather, because weather can often change suddenly. A wilderness survival kit might also be a good idea. It is also smart to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Make sure to have proper footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, etcetera. It can be dangerous to go into the wilderness unprepared, and it could even end up costing you your life.
Next, make sure you have all the gear you need to take good video. When filming nature and wildlife, it is important to be prepared with everything you might need to get a good shot. A large zoom lens on your video camera will probably be very useful. If you have one of these, you will not have to try to get too close to animals and end up scaring them away. A filmmaker should bring along a variety of camera filters. Different filters may be necessary in order to get the best footage.
When the sky is overcast and the lighting is poor, it will be helpful to have a warm-up filter. These filters can help to brighten up shots that would otherwise turn out dull. Using a polarizing filter can help to add more contrast to your video. These filters work best when light is entering your shot from one side. They can help to remove reflections from your footage, making the video cleaner and sharper. Polarizers that alter the colors of scenes can also be used. Blue-yellow polarizers are popular these days, and they can give video clips a dramatic blue or gold sheen. Another filter that is sometimes used in nature filmmaking is a neutral density (ND) filter. These filters reduce the amount of light that can enter through the lens, which helps to allow for longer exposures. ND filters can help to create a motion blur effect. These filters give an interesting effect to things like blowing leaves and flowing water.
When a filmmaker sets out to film nature, it is important to keep several things in mind. Firstly, it is important to be physically prepared for whatever might happen. Secondly, it is important to pack the right camera equipment. Lastly, it is important to be mentally prepared; nature and wildlife filmmaking can be tedious and many hours may be required to get the desired images. A prepared and patient filmmaker, however, will surely end up with some spectacular footage.
Kevin J Railsback
Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD camera for Panasonic. His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, etc.