Introduction to Wildlife Filmmaking

Join the adventure

Our weekend starts in the beautiful and unspoilt heart of rural Norfolk where you will join your instructors at Whitwell Hall.  This quintessentially English historic building sits among fields, a mill pond and wooded areas and is a haven for native British wildlife as well as a base for a Red Squirrel reintroduction program.  Whilst not part of the course, early morning walks will reward you with amazing views and the chance to spot deer, hares, pheasants and watch some of the best sunrises the country has to offer.

Accommodation is in shared rooms or if you prefer a night under canvas camping is a great way to grab some night-time time lapse video of stars under wide Norfolk Skies.  Alternative accommodation (not included) is available in the nearby market town of Reepham and includes the stunning Dial House(don’t forget to ask for their Natural History themed room!).

As the course finishes for the day you can enjoy your down time in the games room, watching wildlife films in the sitting room or putting the world to rights in the reception hall.  You’ll more often than not find the tutors who stay with you all weekend relaxing in the kitchen enjoying the heat of the cooker and a glass of something after the wonderful home cooked vegetarian food our local cooks provide throughout the weekend.  These weekends are a great opportunity to network and test your knowledge with the world famous Wildeye after dinner quiz – can you beat the tutors?

Will I get to film anything?

Yes!  Throughout the weekend in small groups you will undertake workshops under the guidance of a tutor who will show you at the basic level how to operate and get the best results from your own equipment as well  as some of the most current and popular cameras, ranging from and including low cost handycams and the popular documentary camera the 4K Sony FS5.

The weekend closes with a basic demonstration of how to use editing software to edit your completed wildlife film.  All equipment you need for the weekend is included although if you want to bring your own camera you are most welcome to do so.

Course overview

One of of our most popular wildlife film-making courses, the introductory weekend offers you your first insight into the world of wildlife film-making.  From pre-production to delivery, we’ll guide you through the many stages of the process from your first idea, research, scripting, travel, filming, editing, delivering as well as importantly selling and distributing your completed film.

This course is broken down into bite-sized modules presented over two days including time spent filming at Pensthorpe, former home of BBC Springwatch.  The wildlife film-making weekend is suitable for anyone including beginners, hobbyists, keen enthusiasts, those looking to undertake wildlife film-making degrees or apprenticeships all the way through to camera operators looking to diversify into wildlife film-making.  As well as educating, inspiring and providing practical hands on experience its a great addition to any CV.

Visit our About Us page to learn more about us and why for over 18 years we have been the number one wildlife film school in the UK. Don’t forget to browse our gallery of past courses and see if you can spot any famous faces!

What we'll be doing

Under the careful guidance of seasoned industry professionals, we’ll share our experience in our respective specialist areas to make your weekend both educational and fun.  We’ll take you on journey and explain the roles of the producer, scriptwriter, researcher, presenter and camera operator to give you valuable insights into every stage of the production.  We’ll explain how you scale these roles and integrate them into your own productions whether they are for YouTube or broadcast television.  Our goal is to ensure you leave after the weekend with the knowledge that you need to confidently start making your own engaging, creative and topical wildlife films.

“Thank you for such a clear insight into the world of wildlife film making. We have all come away stimulated by the wealth of extensive information so openly provided. Not only has it been a great education and a memorable experience, it’s been an enormously fun weekend.”

Course Itinerary

Friday: aim to arrive by 6pm
7pm – evening meal served
8pm – introductory chat – who we are, who you are, and what we will be doing this weekend.
9.30pm – time to relax, chat with new friends, and watch wildlife films in the viewing lounge.

Saturday:
8am – breakfast
9am – introduction to the wildlife film business with video examples – the variety of approaches and productions
10.30am – the role of the producer and team – who does what – tips for success
11am – tea break
11.30am – intro to cameras, formats, lenses, support systems and techniques for working in the field
1pm – lunch
2pm – brief on filming tasks
2.30pm – working in small groups you will be given tasks and have one and a half hours to film three different subjects
4pm – tea break
4.30pm – view footage shot – critique and advice
5.30pm – the importance of the soundtrack and sound recording techniques
6.30pm – free time
7pm – evening meal served
As darkness falls there will be a demonstration of infra-red camera technology and a further chance to view wildlife films in the viewing lounge.
Sunday:
8am – breakfast
9am – script-writing and narrating
9.30am – depart for Pensthorpe
10am – filming tasks at Pensthorpe
12pm – return to Whitwell
1pm – lunch
2pm – view footage shot – critique and advice
3pm – a demonstration of editing and outputting a film – the final stage.
Markets for films, making money from your productions/footage.
4pm – course ends

“Thank you so much for a truly inspirational weekend, it confirmed and strengthened my interest in the business. … I havent been this excited about anything for a long time.”

Meet the tutors

Adrian Cale is a wildlife filmmaker, writer and naturalist with a broad knowledge of all aspects of natural history filmmaking.

Simon Beer is a multiskilled camera operator who has worked on a wide spectrum of jobs over the years in varying capacities.

Book today to join us on our September course

Booking information

Costs: £355 per person
This includes tuition, accommodation, and meals.

Forthcoming Dates:
6th September – 8th September 2019 – Spaces available

To apply for a place please complete the form to the right, you will then receive an email with further details of how to confirm your booking and make payment.

Staff and students from April 2019 introductory weekend

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