Definition December 2021 - Web


Importantly, as visual storytelling tools advance, so do the ethics. Technological innovation often goes in tandem with gear becoming smaller, faster and quieter – and these are trade benefits which also benefit the safety and wellbeing of wildlife. “Take aerial filmmaking, for example. Previously, broadcasters like the BBC would have only used a GSS on helicopters. These, of course, produce stunning imagery, but helicopters are noisy, expensive, and not good for the planet. Now, we have incredible UAVs with Micro Four Thirds sensors – essentially a Lumix sensor on a drone – that enable us to capture dynamic images of animals from the air, without creating noise and disruption.” Esteban continues: “For The Mating Game , a new BBC series, I captured the behaviour of ostriches in their flocks. Drones facilitated me in not only being able to trace them from the air (despite being the biggest flightless bird, they were exceedingly difficult to locate), but in building a narrative. Like most natural history series, there’s often a theme – and in The Mating Game , that theme is courtship. But it’s also paired with the challenges these animals face in their individual environments. So, with the ostriches, it’s being

“We then combined drone work with long lenses, mounting Canon CN20s on cars to get close-ups”

PINK PARADE Flamingos preen on a lake (below right). Their feathers must be in fine form to find a mate

exposed and having to display mating behaviours on open plains. The drones – we used DJI Inspire 2s and Mavic Pros – were deployed from high canopies and mountains. With them, we were able to capture extraordinary images of the beautiful, long shadows cast by ostriches on the southern plains of Namibia. We then combined the drone work with long lenses, mounting Canon CN20s on cars to get close-ups, and the nitty-gritty

of their actions. Interchanging the two tools helped with the visuals, but using long lenses and drones meant we were able to leave the wildlife undisturbed.” So, to film or not to film? That’s the question – and one which should serve, just like the title of Edward Behr’s war account, as a reminder to always assess your ethics and safety. And, crucially, whether you have the appropriate gear to do the job properly.

47. DECEMBER 2021

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