Category Archives: Video

Articles relating to video productions

Video: Lions of the Mara

The year 2015 is drawing to a close, and it’s hard to believe that it has been over six months since our epic trip to the Maasai Mara region of Kenya.

While I shot many images during that trip, I also captured a very decent amount of video footage; but it has taken me six months to find the motivation to produce a video from the footage I shot.

While I shot footage of various wildlife, I mostly focused on the lions, and this afternoon decided to spend a few hours to produce a video dedicated to the lions of the Mara.

My new video, Lions of the Mara, was recorded in the Mara North Conservancy and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in June of 2015, and features three different lion prides: the Cheli Pride, which is the resident pride in the Mara North Conservancy; the River Pride, which occupies the territory near the Mara River; and the Double Crossing Pride, which resides in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Running for four minutes and 30 seconds, Lions of the Mara provides a highlight of the fantastic lion sightings we had during the trip, including two of the three prides feasting.

I hope people enjoy it.

GoPro HERO3 on the Way

Yesterday I ordered a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition camera.

GoPro cameras have in recent times become quite popular, especially when it comes to adventure activities.

My first experience with a GoPro camera was in May of 2012 when Xenedette and I went hang gliding.  GoPro cameras were mounted on one side of the gliders’ wing, which provided a unique aerial view of our flights.

I’ve been pondering adding one of these to my rig for a while, but finally took the plunge yesterday.

The biggest challenge I had was finding a use for it, as I’m not actively involved in any adventure activities where it would be useful.

However, I was recently competing in yachting races, and one of our crew brought an earlier model, which we mounted in front of the mast.  We recorded over 90 minutes of sailing, with still images being captured every five seconds.  I composited over 1,100 images into a time-lapse video, condensing 90 minutes of sailing into a three-minute video.

Next time, I’m keen to mount a few GoPro cameras in various positions on the yacht, and record multi-angle video footage in high definition.

The other use I have in mine for my GoPro is our next African safari.  We’re looking at returning in 2014, and I’d like to mount a few GoPro cameras on the outside of the Land Rover so that I can record unique ground-level footage of lions, leopards and other wildlife.

On our last trip, a leopardess walked around the rear and beside our vehicle, and was only perhaps two metres away.  To have recorded her from a low angle would have been superb.

I’m sure that as I experiment, I’ll find more uses for these fantastic cameras, and it also provides the benefit of arming me with a dedicated video camera I can use to record behind-the-scenes footage when I’m shooting with my DSLR.

 

Video Highlights of the Timbavati

During our African adventures in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park in October of 2012, I shot a large number of stills images of the many species of amazing wildlife we encountered there.

In addition to my images, I also shot some video footage.

I have been wanting to produce a short video featuring some of the highlights of our safari in the Timbavati, and given I had some spare time and motivation today, I set about working on it.

Here it is: a two-minute video of the highlights of the Timbavati.  While I did not shoot much video footage during the trip, the footage I captured does feature four of the ‘Big Five’, including two of the stars of our trip: Makepisi male leopard, and the Jacaranda Pride lionesses.

Also featured is some behind-the-scenes footage.

Video Footage of Makepisi (Male Leopard)

As I related in previous articles, during our recent trip to South Africa, we encountered Makepisi, a male leopard, on our first game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve.

In addition to capturing stills images of Makepisi, I also shot video vootage of him resting, stretching, grooming and yawning, as he sat on the termite mound on which we found him late in the afternoon of our first game drive, and into the early hours of the evening.

I hope readers, especially those keen on Africa and wildlife photography, will enjoy this two-minute video featuring Makepisi.

Elgato Video Capture: Great Stuff

A few weeks ago I purchased Elgato Video Capture, a hardware and software package which allows computer-based digitising of video from analogue video sources such as VHS cameras and VCRs.

Some background:

In 1999 I bought a VHS-C video camera, which I used on two overseas holidays and various social events.

For many years, the 18-odd VHS-C tapes I shot have been my only copies of the footage I captured long ago, and about a year ago I started thinking about transferring the footage to DVD media.  I’m not a fan of analogue media, and magnetic tape has a tendency to deteriorate with usage, and is sensitive to strong magnetic fields such as my amplifiers.

I looked at the Elgato Video Capture package about a year ago and took note of it, but decided it wasn’t a priority.  When I was at the Apple Store a few weeks ago to buy an iPhone case, I again looked at the package, and this time decided to buy it.

Tonight I started the process of digitising my many hours of home-made video.  To my mind it made far more sense to store the video footage as digital files on a computer rather than format-shifting from VHC-S to DVD.  (I’m not a fan of optical media either.)

The Elgato package consists of a dongle-like hardware device with a USB cable on one side (for connection to the PC), and RCA and S-video connectors on the other end (for connection to a video camera or VCR).

It also includes a very simple-to-use, step-by-step software package (for both Mac OS X and Windows) for performing the digitisation, which, as one reviewer commented, even your mother could use.  You simply connect your PC and analogue output source to the dongle, run the software, click a few buttons and away you go.

After stopping the recording, the software provides a simple, effective interface to trim any extraneous footage from the beginning and end of the recording, which saves post-production in video editing software if the footage has been shot such that it doesn’t need any other editing.

After completing the capture, the software provides quick shortcuts to play the video, upload it to YouTube or load it into iTunes.

As I type, I’m in the process of digitising my second tape.  It’s such a simple and elegant package which gets the job done nicely.  Having reviewed the footage from my first tape, as well as another video I digitised earlier, I am happy with the result.

I have many hours of digitising ahead of me, but once I have completed this long-overdue project, I will have peace of mind, knowing that my legacy video footage has been digitised, is more accessible for viewing, and most importantly, is backed up.

That’s quite a good return on my $200 investment.