Wildlife Film School
|Real Wildlife - Real Locations - Real Skills - Real Experience|
Welcome to the UK Wildlife Film School:
Practical 'Hands-on' Wildlife Film-making & Photography Courses, throughout the Highlands & Islands of Scotland
Our Wildlife Film Course's.
Wildlife Film-Making is still one of the hardest subjects both to enter and work in professionally; especially if you have desires to work in such esteemed establishments as The BBC Natural History Unit based in Bristol.
But... where do you go to experience all the 'in the field' skills necessary to become a professional Wildlife Film-Maker ?
There's a lot more to wildlife film making, than being in the 'right place at the right time' and just turning the camera on, and our wildlife film courses are designed specifically to take you though all of the fundamentals you may encounter when producing a wildlife film course in any location.
However, It is not our aim to just 'teach' you everything, we hold strong the principles of demonstrating something, and then giving you the time and space to learn it for yourself though you're own 'hands-on' experience.
Our Wildlife Photography Course's.
Due to many requests and comments from past students and people we have met whilst filming out on location, we have decided to also include a Wildlife Photographic Course as part of our 2015 program. These course will be just 5 days in length, so as to lower the fees to a far more manageable level, whilst also giving you enough time in the field to undertake the task. The whole course itself will be far more laid back than one of our film courses as there is considerably less behind-the-scenes preparation to do in photography than there is with film.
The main difference between our 'Photographic' courses and our 'Film' courses is although we will be supplying instructors and guides on your course, we will not be supplying you individually with any camera or photographic equipment.
We have found that most people like to use their own photographic equipment as they know the in's-and-out's of it, as well as any little idiosyncrasies they may use to get the maximum from it.
What we will be supplying is our knowledge of local wildlife and wildlife habitats built up over the years that we have been running Wildlife Film Courses.
But how do we do this ?
The UK Wildlife Film School was established over 5 years ago to give you first-hand experience of ‘working in the field’ and ‘filming real wildlife’ in some of the most beautiful and remote locations on offer throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and continues to be one of the world's foremost film schools in reference to ‘time spent on location in the field'
During that time we have run lots of courses, instructed lots of students, and had students say that there involvement with us has directly lead to employment with the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol.
Our courses are not run in ‘Nature Reserves’ or ‘Animal Rescue Centre's’ or any other location where you will find that the animals are ‘kept’ in an enclosed space. All the animals you will encounter on all of our courses will be ‘real wildlife’ living in their own natural environments. You will not spend any of your time with us sitting in a classroom; every day of your course will be spent working ‘on location’ out in the field.
We will equip you with High-Definition video cameras, video production equipment and all the camp equipment you need for your course. Here we will allow you to progress though the necessary logistical, camp-craft and camera skills that you require to become a Professional Wildlife Camera Operator
We will take you through the fundamentals of wildlife film and television production, logistics, and associated field-craft, along with other behind the scenes tasks that you may simply not have thought about, that you will need to be able to produce professional footage out on location.
All our instructional staff are professional freelance personnel from within the industry of broadcast television and video production. This means that I know that they are perfectly capable of instructing you in the use of the equipment you will be using during your course.
Here at the UK Wildlife Film School we believe in 4 fundamental basics which form the very foundations and the overall philosophy of the wildlife film school and our courses; and are literally embedded as our working slogan...
'Real Wildlife - Real Locations - Real Experience - Real Skills'
But what exactly do we mean by this...
1. Real Wildlife:
Real wildlife is exactly what it says it is... Real Wildlife!
That's wildlife found freely roaming in its natural environment... be it on the side of a mountain, roaming over vast windswept moorland, hidden deep amongst dark ancient woodland or underwater in the many rivers, lochs and shorelines found across the whole of Scotland.
- You simply can't gain any real wildlife filming skills filming animals kept in an 'Observation Tank' in a classroom' or by visiting an Animal Rescue Center to film animals 'kept' in fenced pens.
2. Real Locations:
There is a lot more to being on location than the location where the wildlife can be found... There is all of the other 'field-craft' skills that go into making the difference between a successful wildlife film production, and a complete failure.
- You can only experience this whilst working out on location - by this we mean you have to leave the classroom behind you, and actually be working / filming out on the hill.
3. Real Experience:
During a wildlife film course with us, you will be required to actively take part in many different tasks, that when all added together will significantly increase your personal levels of skill and ability to work out in the field.
- Wildlife Film Work is hard work. You do not need to be super-human to do it, but you have to realise that there is a lot more to filming wildlife, than just the filming.
4. Real Skills:
Time is you enemy - it will become very apparent, very quickly, that there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished, but you can't cut corners - batteries need to be charged, rushes watched and logged, footage edited, audio recorded, dinner prepared - and all of this has to be squeezed into 'the rest of the day' that you did not spend out on the hill filming!
- Again, you simply can't learn this in a classroom, you have to experience it working / filming out on the hill.
Time management whilst filming is a real skill, when filming wildlife this becomes even more important, then add a remote location into the mix and things start to get really interesting!
Anyone who knows anything about wildlife film work will tell you it cannot be rushed. It takes large amounts of time and patience in equal amounts. You can spend as many days as you like in a classroom covering all the theories wherever and whenever you like, but...
... until you have experienced that heart racing moment out on location filming that elusive wildlife, you will never know what it is like to work filming 'Real Wildlife'
Leave the classroom behind you,
You only gain 'Real Experience'
working out in the field
Above is a copy of our latest students film
Richard & Claire's final film, was completed whilst on location on the Isle of Mull.
During the editing process they managed to progress further than any other course to date, this final film includes, Additional filming, Colour Correction, Voiceover, Frame Placement, and an additional 'ambient sounds' audio track
(Click on the video above to play)
Below is a student testimonial from one of our Wildlife Film Courses.
Maria's (Fer's) Testimonial:
It was an experience of a lifetime !
I did a 10 day filming course on the Isle of Arran with Ric and all I can say is thank you for this fantastic experience which has inspired me to go out exploring more places.
I had never operated a serious video camera before although I am a keen walker I had never really been camping (let alone in the wild). The course was meant to have more people on it, but at the end it was just me. I was apprehensive about the whole thing, however, talking to Ric (via the telephone) was reassuring and I decided to go with it. I am so glad I did !
I set out to learn how to film wildlife and to learn some camping skills as well. I can say that pretty much all was accomplished with success.
From a personal point of view I have come to appreciate (from really close) the animals and vegetation that inhabits Arran, including Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Adder, Golden Eagle, the endangered tree species of Whitebeams, wonderful waterfalls, birds, the sea, etc.
Ric has always been keen to film and record everything at every time. For example, One night (I was already in my tent) we heard the Stags 'barking' in the distance. I open the tent to see Ric stood further away listening to them and when he saw me he said "Do you want to record this"? and so we did. It was amazing because whilst sitting in the dark, we had a Stag walk to less than a few meters from us, and 'Bark' very loudly.
After the course, we edited the footage for just 2 days, but I feel that I have learnt a great deal with Ric, I would like to say, Thanks a lot for your enthusiasm ! Thank you for this amazing experience !
I've enjoyed every bit...
I score the course 10 out of 10.
Fer - Uruguay, South America
Field-Craft and Logistics will be a major part of our 12 Day Courses. You will not simply be sitting in a Land Rover whist we drive you from one location to another. You will actually be 'out on the ground' learning the techniques required to live and work in location you are filming. Time restraints will naturally dictate the time spent focusing on field-craft, however the subjects covered would be taken from the lists below.
Core subjects -
There will also be dedicated sessions on -
|We do not give Lectures:|
We feel very strongly that you have come on one of our film course to experience 'working in the field, first-hand' so you should spend all of your time out on location, working and filming.
Some of our film school stats:
50% of our students are from outside of the UK
40% of our students are Male
60% of our students are Female
50% of our students attend a course on their own
75% of our students have produced a short film during their course
Unfortunately, due to limitations imposed by our insurance cover,
you need to be 18 years of age or over to attend one of our wildlife film courses,
unless on a 'Bespoke Course' accompanied by a parent or guardian.
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Website Last Updated 18.01.15
(This website is regularly updated, please refresh this page for the latest information)