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Getting Smart About Wildlife Filming

Absolute stability is key with iPhoneography. This accomplished with an iPhone6 at sunrise in a park in Yokohama, Japan.

One technological advance over the past decade or so has been the continuing evolution of the personal cell phone. When they became the must have accessory I can remember the grainy 1.6MP imagery being wrung from them. At that time it seemed the feeling amongst the manufacturers was a simple case of “Oh, here have a camera thrown in for good measure”. As this was also before the dawn of the ‘Selfie’ I imagine that the thought process behind that was to offer a portable option to photograph the family, kids, adventures and maybe, just maybe something to do with celebrating the wildlife and nature we found around us, or that made an appearance at any given time. 

Fast forward to the present day. In the interim period we’ve seen the monumental rise of Smart technology. What were seen as last resort imaging acquisition platforms are fast becoming bona fide mainstream options serving a very niche genre of image making. Then of course you have scourge, depending on how you look at it, of the ‘Selfie’ revolution. I personally prefer to show the beauty of my surroundings, of wildlife I encounter, over trying to kid any audience that this skinny Brit resembling a Bulldog chewing a Wasp has any reason to obsess over my hair, duck billed pose or inordinate size of my snotter. A camera, in my mind, is for showcasing the World around us to help inspire people better appreciate it whilst focusing less on what some believe to be the central revolving point of said World.

Only a few people have really pushed the potential boundaries of what is possible with modern day smart device cameras in filming capacities. What was once a case of a cell phone being a cell phone with a camera is now erring more towards a super portable imaging device that just also happens to have telecommunication abilities. It’s a wild time to see this. From my perspective as a film maker this bears no truer than with my trusted iPhone6S. Mixed with the potential to also no live stream to social media the potential is huge, especially when looking at the Twitter platform alone.

Periscope is a Twitter based App that allows the streaming of a video feed direct to a followers audience. I’ve payed around with it to great success in my short series of macro wildlife encounters entitled ‘Periscope Wilds‘. Granted this undertaking was done so at the very start of the whole Periscope wave with an iPhone5s so the quality is not what it is now with the iPhone6S. All of this pushes home a point that there is an interest in wildlife imaging if fed through this platform, and it is this I’m looking to exploit. My most successful Periscope to date saw me catering to a ‘Live Audience’ numbering in the high 200’s, given that it was at 5am in the morning I find that pretty cool. To those who shared that sunrise over Mount Fuji, it was a moment that allowed me to use a device we all take for granted and give them just a moment to bask in the incredible natural setting of a new day overlooking one of Earth’s greatest natural icons.

With an iPhone6s I now have access to the 4K format, I can shoot up to 120fps at 1080P, awesome slow motion. I can synchronise it with my motion control sliders for suave movements and create awesome time-lapse sequences synchronised with intervalometers and as I did with this sunset in Okinawa. With all of this, the incredible following I have on the Twitter and the awesome monthly analytics I am attaining I’m looking embark on a one month trip to document the wildlife of a forested region in Northern Okinawa. This will be done with full the integration and leverage of this immersed, responsive and engaged following I have on Twitter. Some analytics of that are shown below and show the 28 Day period up until April 21st, the impressions are currently standing at 1,340,000 and profile visits are up to 35k.

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Pertinent Social Audience
Twitter Audience – 213,738 Followers
Periscope Account – 1,860 Followers
Instagram Account – 1,242 Followers

My vision is that once this initial project is in the bag its popularity will spur on the production of the additional five planned episodes. To this end I’m looking for advertisers who would like to use this project as a vehicle to reach the audience I will be catering to during the planned ‘behind the scenes’ Periscope broadcasts and imagery rich updates I will be making across the social spectrum, not just Twitter, throughout the duration of the shoot. I already have one partner in this project being Rocky Gear who are providing me with Snake bite proof boots given the area I will be concentrating in has a very high density of poisonous Pit Viper species, or ‘Habu’ as they are known locally.

Should you be reading this as a producer or manufacturer of smart device accessories, especially within the realm of smart filming applications, or indeed within the imaging industry in general and feel that such a project could be the ideal vehicle to promote your product then please feel free to contact me at your pleasure. I have an idea as to the array of possible benefits within the realm of social media and getting your product in front of an engaged, responsive and interested audience should you wish to discuss that further. Additional benefits can also be seen listed on the project page relating to the complete mini-series to be created under the banner of the Okinawa Natural History Unit.

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