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GLOBAL – Pets, the local farm, or the city zoo – there’s animals all around us, but creating good videos of them is a lot harder than it looks: unlike people, animals aren’t very interested in your film project. In today’s camera school post, we’ve got five tips to help you create better moo-vies.

  • Let the animals come to you. It’s tempting to chase a cow around the field with your camera to get some footage as soon as possible, but the videos tend to come out much better if you let the animals walk into frame, do their thing, then saunter off again. That’s true both for house cats and for wild animals – it gives a much more ‘documentary’ feel to your videos!
  • Leave the camera rolling. On modern camera phones, you have practically unlimited storage space. The Nokia N8 will give you 32 GB of space for video. Filming wildlife is unpredictable, so leave that camera rolling: It’s better to have to delete five hours of pointless footage than beating yourself up about missing the shot of a lifetime.
  • Cheating is OK. Ask your butcher for some bits of meat to attract crows, and they’ll probably be glad to give you some. Feed your cat some catnip, call ahead to the zoo to find out when feeding time is for the zebras, or ask your neighbours when the foxes tend to run around in the streets around where you live. A little bit of information can save you a lot of wasted time, and if there’s a way to ‘cheat’, go for it.
If patience is your super-power, you'll do great in the world of nature cinematography
  • Zoom in close. Your Nokia N8 has a zoom. Use it. Unlike humans, animals are very bad at pretending the camera isn’t there, so the less you make them aware of your presence, the better. By zooming in, you can stay further away from the action, hopefully capturing the shots you want.
  • Patience, patience, patience. An old TV rule is to never work with children or animals. Both are unpredictable, and if you want them to do something, they probably won’t. Since the whole point of the exercise here is to film animals, not working with them is not an option – so you’re left with all the patience you can muster.

Limited depth of field can help your videos, just ensure you hold your camera very still