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Videotaping Animals-Tips and Tricks

Everybody likes videos of animals.  Some of the most popular online videos feature animals, usually in a pose of incredible cuteness.

Videotaping animals can be tricky though.  They usually do not want to cooperate!  My best trick is to create a situation that makes good pictures, then videotape them while they enjoy the environment naturally.  The camera HAS to blend into the environment so the animals do not notice it.  Wild life photographers often shoot from a blind.  That’s not always practical of course.

I made the video below for a friend of mine who owns a small horse ranch.   She had tried to take video herself but was unable to get any good shots.  The horses wanted to do nothing but lick the camera!   Read on to see what tricks I used to get tons of quality video.

DISTRACT THEM!

First, full disclosure.  I am a critter-lover from the word go, so videotaping animals is a total pleasure.  Even if you step in goo.  Just keep that in mind when you get dressed!

The lady who owns Land Run Curlies, Adena Warner,  happens to be one of my best friends in the world.  We have been tight buddies since we were three!  I made this video as a Christmas present to her so shhhh, she doesn’t know yet!

She could not get any good shots of her horses because they look to her for treats.  They just knew there was something tasty inside the camera if they could only get to it.

Most domesticated animals will react this way to a camera, even if it is held by someone they do not know.  Even if you stand back, most domesticated animals like horses or cows will continue walking up to you to lick the camera.  It’s kind of fun really, but not real productive.

That’s why I always get somebody to feed, play with, brush, or otherwise distract the animals.  Then I take video of that activity.  Shooting off a tripod, I can get nice steady close-up shots using the zoom lens.  I shot a lot of Adena’s video hand held though, see if you can tell!

I videotaped Adena while she did her daily chores and training activities with her herd.  I did this on several occasions since I spend so much time there anyway.   I happened to be there when the horseshoe guy came so I videotaped that too.

The more variety of activities you can videotape, the more visually interesting the final product.
   Getting lots of footage also allows you to use just the most spectacular.  I had over one hour worth of raw video to choose from when I edited this 3-minute video.  I had a lot more video than I could use, but the best videos are made out of nothing but spectacular shots.  In order to do that, you simply have to have a high shooting ratio.  (Not that I consider this video spectacular, I don’t.  But it is pretty good for a quickie.)

Adena and her Great Dane, Big Girl.
Adena and her Great Dane, Big Girl.

So there you go my friend Adena, Merry Christmas!  I love you like a sister.  Trust me, this is a MUCH better present than another tube of skin cream.    May it inspire Google to love you like I do, you curly-headed wonder you!   I especially love the shot of you and Big Mamma and your own curly locks are right next to hers.  You are the one and only, original Okie goddess.

Thanks to everybody for reading Video Production Tips.

Lorraine Grula

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Lorraine Grula


Lorraine Grula enjoyed a fast-paced, multifaceted career in the television and video business, producing, shooting, writing, and editing documentary-style videos in both news and corporate settings. Later, she got to teach media and video production in two high schools, which then morphed into instructional design and corporate training. Lorraine is now dedicated to sharing her vast knowledge with others who wish to learn the art of video making, with an emphasis on storytelling and creating professional-quality videos for the internet as simply, yet creatively as possible.

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  1. Hi.
    Glad you liked the video, thanks! Curly horses are fairly rare these days. Adena works with some researchers who are trying to decipher the unique genetic characteristics of this incredible animal. I love them! They are real sweet animals in addition to being very hearty and practical. In a harsh winter, they will make when regular horses won’t. That’s why the Indians liked them so much. That pretty curly hair meant the difference in life and death!
    Thanks.
    Lorraine

  2. Hi, I am the Marketing Director at HeySpread.
    Thanks for this good article.
    That is true, Tubemogul is a good service.

    But you should really have a look at HeySpread for Professional Video Analytics and Video Distribution – http://bit.ly/5mD1CL. Far cheaper, with exclusive features such as YouClone (copy/paste your YouTube videos to any other platform automatically and in one shot), powerful and user-friendly interface, REST API for an easy and fast white label integration.

  3. Hey, I enjoyed the informative nature of this video about a breed I had never heard of before.

  4. Why thank you Susan! I spoke with Adena yesterday (Christmas day) and she said they had all survived the storm just fine but were a little freaked out by it all. That was a heckuva storm!
    Lorraine

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