This weekend I had an opportunity to learn from some of the extremely talented professionals in the industry (as well as play with their extremely expensive equipment), at the Wildeye Camera Operator course in Norfolk.
Wildeye, or the Wildeye International School of Wildlife Film-making, is a small school that runs short specialist courses in Norfolk on the main roles within the wildlife film industry. People come from all over the world to learn from tutors that include cameramen, producers, researchers and production equipment experts who are all at the top of their field, and more than willing to share some of their knowledge with others aspiring to achieve the Emmys and Panda awards that many of them themselves have won.
Having arrived late on the Friday night (I had come straight from my Grandfather’s funeral in Devon), by the morning I was eager to get started and learn some new things. Everyone was very friendly at breakfast, and after briefly introducing myself to everyone we got an introduction to the cameras that we would be using over the course of the weekend, as well as a few others on the market. We then watched some film clips to demonstrate the abilities of some of the cameras, and then set off on smaller groups to learn some of the specific skills. Without going into too much detail, the rest of the weekend consisted of five workshops in: slow motion, time-lapse, macro and set building, basic camera skills, and an equipment workshop comparing different cameras, combining to give a pretty well rounded instruction in how to be a good camera operator. The skills I learnt, together with the advice I gained from chatting to the tutors between classes, meant that the course was worth a lot more than the £300 or so cost that I paid, and I would highly recommend it to anyone else trying to get into wildlife film-making.
Wildeye run courses throughout the year, details can be found at http://wildeye.co.uk/index.html