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Features / Case Studies (Stories from around the wildlife film-making world!) Page 3
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NHNZ Moving Images comes of age.
by Rebecca Wilson
1st October 2012

As global production house NHNZ enters its 35th year of documentary-making, it also celebrates taking its significant footage holding – from 900 documentaries, including 550 natural history documentaries, on-line.

NHNZ Moving ImagesThe NHNZ archive houses content ranging from productions about New Zealand’s iconic little black robin to blue chip series Wild Asia and Life Force, and includes a significant holding of China documentary footage and a large Antarctic collection of 19 documentaries.

Out of this wealth of rushes and programmes, and with an eye to supplying internal productions and other factual producers with broadcast quality content, NHNZ Moving Images was created five years ago.

In 2007 NHNZ Moving Images’ Archive Director, Caroline Cook joined the team just as the rest of the footage world was transitioning on-line. Caroline quickly realised to get the most out of the NHNZ catalogue it needed to be visible on-line.

Five years later the website showcases over 200,000 items, with thousands of clips being created each week and a client-base of 5400 from around the world. NHNZ Moving Images’ offering has grown as NHNZ’s productions diversified into other genres and now the catalogue spans natural history, science, engineering, cultures, people and adventure.

But, as with all projects, it wasn’t without other challenges. Half-way through taking the archive on-line, broadcasters began to demand HD, and only HD, shows.

“Although NHNZ started making shows in HD 12 years ago we still found ourselves standing in the library aNHNZ Moving Images few years back thinking, ‘Bugger - the majority of our footage is SD. What do we do now?’.

“For many years NHNZ produced highly successful archive-based series like The Most Extreme and we wanted to continue making archive shows in HD to meet broadcaster demand for entertaining small-budget shows, but when we surveyed our archive there just wasn’t a large volume of quality HD content out there to draw on. Everyone was in the same boat - NHNZ was just one example of what the whole industry was suffering,” says Caroline.

“The search for HD footage was on, and we began adding to our holdings with HD collections from other producers, building collections from Talking Pictures, Geoff Mackley, Wildlife Films, Aquavision and Peter Lamberti, as well as aggregators Omni Movi and Specialist Stock (now Robert Harding).

“Over time we’ve built a reputation for representing professionally shot factual content. NHNZ Moving Images now represents more than 30 producers who contribute unique content from the natural world on a regular basis.”

Last year NHNZ Moving Images’ agency holdings took a major leap forward with the signing of an exclusive representation deal with National Geographic Channels to take content from over 600 productions on-line. Along with the enormous task of cataloguing National Geographic’s previously unreleased content, NHNZ also began adding more New Zealand and Australian content to service demand from its local markets.

NHNZ Moving ImagesIn 2012, NHNZ’s HD holding continues to grow, and broadcasters also appear to be softening towards SD use within their HD archive shows.

“Broadcasters attitudes have slowly changed; to get entertaining and engaging productions they are looking to the content not the format to drive the show. With budgets shrinking it is nearly impossible to expect a production house to send out a crew in the hope of replacing the same shots held on SD. In part that’s because the budgets and timelines aren’t there to send the crews out, but in some cases the animals are no longer there, or the location’s obliterated: often the only place left to see the animals is on film or SD.”

NHNZ Moving Images continues to look for new ways of doing business: in the last two years they’ve dropped kills fees and minimum orders, and they sell by the second not by the clip. But the most radical move was made two months ago when they announced a new US$40 per second stock footage licensing package for editorial and documentary use.

“We listened carefully to the frustrations expressed by producers, from indies to major production houses, who have had to deal with ever-increasing barriers to licensing content – from the need to pay per clip whenNHNZ Moving Images only a few seconds is required, to paying for screener costs, research, and cancellations fees. NHNZ looked at the issues and came up with a fresh licensing model that made licensing content easy and within the reach of even the tightest production budget.

“We are changing the way we do business with our clients by offering a flat rate for premium content of US$40 per second - no minimums, for all media worldwide in perpetuity as the standard; not the exception. We want to do whatever we can to make it easier for our clients to tell their stories. And we believe we have.”


Wildlife Film-making: Looking to the Future

World Rhino Day: Facts and Fiction about the Rhino Horn Trade
by Anthony Roberts/ZED Creative
22nd September 2012

The use of rhino horn as a recreational drug or cancer treatment in Asia is based on myths, but has escalated exponentially over the last few years. As a result, rhino in Africa and Asia are brutally slaughtered in huge numbers for their horns. With prices able to fetch more than cocaine or gold, the trade is attracting the attention of organised crime and terrorist organisations alike. So whether you have a passion for rhinos or not, the trade could potentially still have an impact on all of our lives.

Rhino poaching is a symptom and the most effective way to tackle the problem is at the cause, which in this case is the demand for rhino horn. Stop the demand and the unlawful killing of rhinos will stop.

Creative director Anthony Roberts of ZED Creative (www.iamzed.co.uk) felt so strongly about this issue, that he wanted to do something to try to help. As with most issues, they do require money to be donated in order that good work can be carried out. But Anthony wanted to do more, by applying his skills to help create an awareness video that can be used by many organisations and individuals all working towards the same goal.

Working in collaboration with African Conservation Foundation, we created an animated clip about the rhino poaching crisis across Africa and Asia. We came up with a theme that had not been touched upon to any great extent previously. There was also a certain amount of psychology used too. Simply attacking the end user's beliefs would not be effective as humans tend to dig their heels in when their beliefs are brought into question, so we needed to shift the emphasis from the end users and on to the traffickers - who have no regard for the welfare of animals and humans alike, they just want to make money, no matter what the cost.

The aim of this video is to convince the end user of the futility of their use of rhino horn and make them realise that they have been sold a myth, with no scientific basis, in order to fuel the trafficker's greed. By default, if you can kill the demand, the poaching will stop.

With "World Rhino Day 2012" on 22 September, this is a great opportunity to get the word out, to gain maximum exposure to the international rhino poaching crisis.

African Conservation Foundation - World Rhino Day


Festival de l'Oiseau et de la Nature

The Adventurer – The Commercial

The Adventurer – The story so far!
by Alex Jones
1st September 2012

Alex JonesIn the beginning, I wanted to host my own nature show so badly that I would do anything to reach that goal. I'll be honest, Steve Irwin was my hero! I would get up at 5:30am every morning before middle school Just to watch "Croc Files". I learned so much about wildlife and I quickly realized that I learned a lot about hosting styles. I wanted to be him so I took a dinky handy cam and had my brother film me talking about animals I found in our suburban area.

But later we traveled! We even filmed me catching a caiman in the Amazon River when I was 15. As I got older, the passion thickend so I started a wildlife show on youtube 3 years later where I would talk about a few dangerous animals. Danger and exploration became my love and after better editing styles and more on camera experience, I was ready to pitch my show around LA!

Alex JonesThe funny thing is, my brother lived right next to Kristi Russel (Currently my producer and friend). She has worked on some of the biggest reality shows for Discovery Channel. She saw the webisodes from my brother and was very interested to try and start something. Everyone we went to loved it! at that point we had to decide who to go with but once we stepped foot into the doors of Original Productions I and everyone knew that this is where we need to be! Phil Segal, Justin Killion and Tim Urion were really nice and were very happy to shake hands to start making business, conservation and entertainment happen!

We are now currently pitching a new show to different networks. In the meantime, I am still pumping out an episodic series for youtube with better animals, more dangerous situations and it's weekly! I do it simply because It's my passion and I want to create a following for myself before any contracts are signed. I also want to show I had a history hosting this and I'm not some hired gun for a new show. It's my passion to show the world to people and show them animals and places that they could never otherwise see! THAT is what excites me most! I love to share my experiences with friends and vise versa. Hopefully by understanding how amazing the world really is, I can keep people on their toes about bringing animal populations back or at least keep snakes, bugs and all other weird "Nasty" animals alive. I think people are already beginning to realize this and it's just about pushing forward.

Alex JonesThe Future? All my life, I've wanted to become an entomologist and a herpetologist. The insect and reptile world still fascinates me but I realized that I could create a more emotional impact with images and amazing behavior so I started filming animals when I was 10 years old. I used to make these small wildlife films on insects and show them in my 5th grade class! People were interested but once "Blue Planet" came around, I knew that this is how cinema is supposed to be shown! I got my diving license and started filming my first "blue-chip" style wildlife film "Under Catalina". It SUCKED but it opened doors down the road! When I was 19, I stayed in Yellowstone National Park for 6 months to film a cinematic wildlife film called "After the Cold". I had to carry a camera, tripod, jib, dolly and a lot more stuff everywhere I went so I could capture a beautiful shot no matter where I was. The last thing I wanted was to be limited on beautiful shots. It took about a year to get all of these terabytes condensed into 20 minutes but It now has won awards!

Now with my show i'm hosting and my operating skills with my new RED camera, I'm still moving forward and doing the best I can to be better. Let's see what happens!

Here are The Adventurer episodes to date:

The Alligator Catch

Python Catch

Shark Catch

Small Alligator Catch

Scorpion Catch

Dead Snake

Cliff Slide

New episode every Wednesday...


Wild Pages: The Wildlife Film-makers' Resource Guide

Jewel of the Mangroves premiered on Friday 10/08/2012 at 9pm UAE time on National Geographic Abu Dhabhi
by Yusuf Thakur
August 2012

Yusuf Thakur filming with Red One in 2011, fully covered to protect against the Noseum bug 2Jewel of the Mangroves - This is the first generic film on Kingfishers, specifically the Mangrove Kingfisher. (White Collard Kingfisher).

It covers its life and breeding behavior in the mangroves of Khor Kalba in the United Arab Emirates, and is a detailed study, painstakingly filmed over 12 hours a day for six months.

To put it short Jewel of The Mangroves is an internationally multi-award winning film.

When we film at Kalba there is BUG called the noseum (No see them) they are so tiny that you cant see them but can guess there presence when you are bit.

The nasty bug cause major itching and hives which pop up after two days and last for two more days ofYusuf Thakur - Female White Collard Kingfisher on Hunting Perch itching and sleepless nights, nothing works.

Creams and anti-histamine provide short relief but it takes two days before the effects wear off.

Jewel of the mangroves was filmed over a period of six months during the Arabian Summer which averages 42 to 52 degrees in the open.

It was filmed four to five days a week, every month for six months and I was bit bitten every day.

Yusuf Thakur - Male White Collard Kingfisher trying to sight preyI did that film alone and produced it as independent.

In 2008 and 2011 we went back to shoot 4K/5K footage on the Red One and Red Epic cameras.

We kept our shoot to the minimum this time, as we are did not need to film as extensively as Jewel of The Mangroves.

This time we were a crew of four, I thought I was the only one affected by the bites but now can confirm that all of us went thru the same pain as described above..


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