The video grab above was captured in Roatan, Honduras. Although I anticipated seeing dolphins on this dive, this moment of mutual breath holding was special. Who would exhale first, myself or the dolphin? The connection between my lens and the animal stays with me, this moment in time is something I can share with the world. As I swim over a reef holding my camera with attached lights lights or walk through a forest with a backpack full of camera gear with extra lenses, filters, tripod and microphone, I never really know what opportunities lie ahead. That simple fact keeps me going, that and I drink a lot of water. I have been fortunate to establish a relationship with CBS Sunday Morning News, a national broadcaster that purchases my wildlife video material. By the way, never try to out breathe a dolphin, remain humble, they will always win!
I never really know what might sell but big animals, creatures that can hurt you are always popular for television and museums. This huge American alligator was shot at the Silver Springs State Park, back when it was still a privately owned park. This footage was used by an add agency to promote the location but since I worked out a deal with the owners, I was able to also keep the footage to use for my own purposes. A wildlife sequence of this beautiful Central Florida location is available for sale as video wallpaper on my website. I can be used for television monitors in waiting rooms, doctors offices, meeting rooms, etc. Individual shots are also represented by my stock footage agency.
Stock footage agencies like Nature Footage and Ocean Footage have become a go to source for television commercials, national broadcast programs and museums. Footage I own is uploaded to their websites, I name the material and set a price for the shot and they do the rest. I patiently wait three months to see if anything I uploaded sells and we split the proceeds. Luckily they were able to sell this sea lion shot for a national television commercial in Italy, who would have guessed that!
Sometimes I start working on projects because I find the subject really interesting, a.k.a. a passion project. Every filmmaker has at least one passion project but certainly I have had more than one! I tried very hard to produce a short documentary on the redwood forest and in particular the California newt that lives within the streams that twist their ways through the mountains. I started a KickStarter campaign and asked all of my friends to donate, some friends I asked twice! The campaign failed miserably but I was never disappointed enough to hang it up. I know for sure that I have newt video that is so rare and unique, no one has ever seen that type of behavior before and who knows, maybe one day, the Geico Gecko may have an auto accident and my newt will be their new mascot! Until then, my California newt is represented by my stock footage agency.
If you have a question, wondering if something could sell or not, shoot it and ask questions later. I would go running along a trail and see these goslings and their parents every morning. They were consistent, the only thing holding me back were my own excuses. One day I did bring my video camera and instead of enjoying the geese from afar, my zoom lens brought me right into their world. Its important not to forget your mid and wide shots and in the digital world, almost better to not turn a camera off and then back on because critical seconds can be lost. When the action is hot, edit the shots in post. Although this is a very urban setting, who knows, I may be able to sell this goose family on a lake for an Easter program or a Mother’s Day program, I never know…
The thing I am most excited about are the new video cameras that have large sensors. The HD 1080p world will eventually phase out just like the 4 by 3 television sets. Does anyone remember those large warm boxes inside all of our living rooms? SD in the chart below is the resolution we had on television sets before the HD revolution.
Soon enough we will all move towards 4K resolution televisions and beyond. For myself, I want to shoot 8K resolution video stock footage and create projects for the giant screen. That means everything I ever shot will need to be shot again but this time I will have the life experience and the new technology. The only thing holding me back are my own excuses, how about you?
Thank you Phil Holland for your camera sensor chart.