OV&P Videography

Playing at Kruger Park

What do you like to do with overseas visitors? We love to enjoy African wildlife together. So when our Swiss cousin Kevin recently popped out to SA with his family for a holiday, Naomi and I arranged a trip to Ngwenya Lodge at the Kruger National Park.

I deliberately took along only the essentials to take a couple of pics and probably no video. Yeah, right 😉 Kevin’s wife Anne had earned a reputation for finding big cats on her first trip to SA, when we saw 4 different Leopard sightings in 3 days! That was also at Kruger, many years ago, and if you know anything about the bush, you’ll know it’s incredibly rare. 2017 was right up there.

Anne was on form, and the family saw the Big Five in no time at all, including leopard. As we relaxed and shifted from Joburg mode into Bush mode, the trigger finger started itching and I really enjoyed shooting the wildlife we came across. A highlight was two Tawny Eagles (pictured above) battling it out in the sky overhead, which is tricky to capture because everything happens so fast.

I made the beginners mistake of not checking that I had spare batteries with me, assuming they would be in the camera bag. Wrong! They had been left behind on the desk in my studio. Plan B. Battery flat, great shots in the bag, so I capitulated and took one of our video cameras on the last evening/night drive just in case we saw anything special. Wow, we were spoilt for choice.

A pack of hyena hunting, hyena cubs in and around their den and lions mating right next to the game vehicles got our full attention. It was fun to see the reactions of the children and some Spanish folk we had met. They could barely believe their luck, but then I pointed out that we had “Annie find the Predators” with us, which contributed to much laughter and animated story telling.

To see some more photos, view our FB album: Kruger Park – July 2017, and here’s a short video of exciting highlights:

Early the next morning Naomi and I hit the road back to the ‘Big Smoke’ to do a shoot that we’d scheduled, leaving our cousins to enjoy a few more days in the bush. In true style, Anne spotted a leopard which posed proudly, allowing Kevin a chance to get some lovely pics of this magnificent, elusive predator for their holiday album. Pity we missed it, but there’s always a next time.

This trip reminded me of how important it is to get away sometimes with family and friends to places that feed the soul and allow us to truly relax and appreciate nature. I hope you feel inspired to take a trip somewhere special with your loved ones and recharge your batteries. Oh, on that note, don’t forget to take spare batteries for your cameras 😉

Aerial Photograph of Construction in Progress

Time Lapse – It’s Just A Mystery

Time lapse photography is a genre of video work that uses still images shot at pre-determined intervals to create the illusion of a high speed ‘time warp’ for the viewer. It’s a popular method for creating another perspective on the progress or timeline of a project, event or natural scenario. Imagine shooting the night sky by depicting the stars and satellites appearing to scribe perfect arcs in the sky as the earth rotates, or creating a video to illustrate the progress of a skyscraper, where the building appears to go from its foundations to completion in just 90 seconds, with tiny people scurrying around at warp speed like ants building a nest!

We at OV&P have created a variety of time lapse sequences ranging from the erection of a record 13,000+ sq.m of Nomadik tents that seemed to pop up from nowhere in preparation for the epic annual 702 Walk the Talk event at Marks Park in Johannesburg, to a 19 month time lapse project of a 15 story building being constructed in the Sandton CBD – changing the suburban landscape forever to match the frenetic business transactions also happening at warp speed in the prime office space of the financial capital of Africa.

The variety of applications for time lapse video is unlimited, but we prefer to focus primarily on specific industries in order to specialize and serve our clients best by developing techniques and processes that give them the edge in their marketing. We often combine different elements of video into a project because we find that the more interesting we can make it, the more engaged the audience is, and the more success our clients enjoy. Below is a sample of the collaboration between Action Gear and OV&P in creating lasting relationships with developers like FWJK, whose 3 month progress on their Illovo construction project is depicted in the video:

Using a property construction project as a time lapse example, we utilize traditional ground based video to capture the close-up and panning shots required to emphasize the quality and attention to detail that’s so important to investors who demand the best bang for buck. We then add exciting high level aerial footage shot from our hi-tech drones. As a SACAA registered and qualified pilot, I use different techniques to fly through, circle upwards and away from the site and to get really creative shots not possible before the advent of drones. During all of this, there are strategically placed time lapse rigs quietly doing their jobs, perfectly positioned to capture the required compositions in order to illustrate the magical way that the building grows from day to day.

We highlight important stages of construction by using shorter intervals between shots to feature more detail for viewers, and then contrast this with the warp speed illusion which is so dramatic. We feel that using multiple disciplines to convey the story creates the most compelling end result, ultimately ensuring that we exceed our clients expectations and maintain a competitive edge in the market place by utilising the best gear, the best people and the best techniques available to ‘get the shot’. When we at OV&P call it a ‘wrap’, we go home and sleep well knowing that we went the extra mile to secure a win-win for all concerned.

Enduro Motorcycle Riders photographed by Dave Estment

Capturing Hard Core Racing

Not for the faint hearted, the 3rd round of the 2017 Enduro World Cross Country (EWXC) series was held last month at Serendipity, about 2.5 hours from Johannesburg. Our OV&P team was there to capture the action with our cutting edge filming gear, including 2 aerial drones to add a spectacular perspective for the riders and supporters to enjoy.

This year, Gary Franks and his Enduro World team set a new course that offered demanding terrain for the competitors to negotiate during the 3 hour test of their riding fitness and skills, as well as their physical and mental tenacity. My good friend and colleague, Chris Duys, was my right hand cameraman, each of us armed with a pro drone and a Panasonic DVX200 4K camera. We recce’d the course together early in the morning to select good vantage points to film from and create a compelling video.

Racing started at 8am with the Pro and Expert classes being the first to blaze a trail through the challenging terrain. The first serious obstacle was about 300 metres in, so Chris covered the start then ran to join me there. It was a steep, rocky, slippery climb which saw riders strewn over every possible line, being helped to manhandle their machines until they reached the top and had a slight breather before tackling the rest of the course. An exhausted rider described it as having been set by someone with sadistic tendencies, namely Igor Baleta and his team, who have earned a reputation for setting awesome but tough courses.

There were some ‘chicken routes’ for less experienced riders, who opt for an easier way around specific obstacles, which takes longer but is less exhausting. Chris and I stuck to the interesting and challenging parts of the course, clambering over rocks and running from one vantage point to the next, toting our cameras and setting up before the riders came through. It’s funny to watch their antics as they approach a camera, either putting on a great show or stopping to chat with us and catch their breath.

Being competitive souls, not too many riders take the easier route, which often results in bottle-necks. This can be very entertaining for spectators and the film crew, watching riders of different skill levels use each other for traction, if necessary, to conquer rocky river beds, steep climbs, water hazards and what seems to be a never-ending roller coaster testing man and machine to their limit. We caught some classic action on camera and with the drones, making dramatic manoeuvres through the trees and rocks to shoot some great tracking and panning shots as the riders negotiated the course. Watch the video below to see for yourself:

Three separate races were held for the different classes, ranging from the Professional and Expert riders to ladies who never cease to amaze their male opponents at how well they ride, all the way down to the youngest riders on their little 65cc and 85cc bikes. They really steal the hearts of the spectators and parents who shout and scream to encourage these little tigers, our future champions. At the end of a hot and well organised day of racing, we filmed the top 6 riders in each class being awarded their trophies at the prize-giving, happily celebrating their achievements to cheering from their rivals and spectators alike. After the formal proceedings, the story-telling and banter began amongst this tightly knit community of athletes comparing stories, hardships and experiences.

It was gratifying to be included in the banter, sharing our day of filming and running around like headless chickens to get everything covered. As the sun set, everyone loaded their battered bikes onto trailers and headed home for a relaxing evening before returning to the hustle and bustle of Jozi on Monday. Since my own racing days seem to be over, this is a great way for me to stay involved and give something back to a sport that has been such a huge part of my life. Well done to the organisers for yet another successful leg of the EWXC Championship which will definitely be the talking point until the next race. We hope to be there to capture the action!

Ubuntu Mass Ride at Yamaha SA

Ubuntu Mass Ride

The spirit of Ubuntu flourished last Sunday, when more than a thousand bikers came together at the iconic World of Yamaha concept store to participate in the impressive Ubuntu Mass Ride. Our OV&P team covered the event on behalf of Yamaha, using two aerial drones to capture multiple perspectives, as well as shooting ground video footage and impromptu interviews with participants.

It was inspiring to witness their passion for riding motorcycles and to hear them share why this is personally special to them, in addition to how it connects people across all cultures, ages, backgrounds, genders and walks of life. With so much revving in the background, a directional microphone was called for, in combination with one of our Panasonic DVX200 video cameras. Our DJI Osmo also came in handy for close-up shots between the bikes. Watch our video below for a taste of the high voltage energy of the day!

Yamaha Brand Ambassador, Alfred Matamela (a.k.a. King Donut), a legendary motorcycle rider and instructor from Soweto, organised the event, and a number of people there noted their gratitude to Yamaha SA for being gracious hosts and providing coffee and snacks for everyone – including riders from various clubs with a range of different motorbike brands, all equally welcome.

The pre-ride briefing and prayer focussed on gratitude for contributors to the event and of course safety for all the riders, also sharing details of the route to Westonaria and key traffic points to look out for. Then the throttles started twisting, turning up the volume as the eclectic procession of motorcycles headed out though the gates in the direction of the M1 highway.

Well done Yamaha and everyone else on this exceptional event. Bikers totally rock and so does the spirit of Ubuntu!

Olive Thrush Chicks photographed by Dave Estment

Patience is Rewarded

I recently noticed that there was an Olive Thrush painstakingly building a nest in the fork of a tree in our garden. My interest grew, watching as this hard-working bird carried in twigs, wet grass and even tissue paper to help line the bowl-shaped nest, followed by a thin layer of mud to smooth things off. What was interesting was that the female did all the work while the male just watched on.

A couple of days later I noticed that two light blue eggs with brown speckles had been laid in the nest. The male and female shared incubating duties until I pulled my cameras out as I noticed two tiny, pink chicks had hatched, their hearts beating wildly. I captured some of this special footage as they shuffled around trying to find a comfortable place to rest and grow, as the female brought in copious amounts of earthworms and insects to nourish them. I was astonished by the rate at which the chicks grew and started sprouting feather splines which quickly turned into proper feathers. Their wings seemed to take shape at an incredible rate of knots.

Each week for three weeks I filmed the chicks, until they were so big that there was no room left for them in the nest. Then something surprising happened. As I was filming them fighting for real estate in their cramped environment, one of them stood up and launched itself up and out of the nest and landed in the foliage below. Our Golden Retriever, Storm, darted into the undergrowth and gently picked up the half grown chick in his mouth and brought it to me. It was amazing to see his natural instincts kick in, handing me the little chick as gently as he had plucked it from the undergrowth.

I tried putting the chick back into the nest a couple of times, to no avail, before both chicks decided they had had enough and jumped out of the nest onto the nearest part of the tree fork, clinging on with their well developed, clawed feet. That’s when I learned something fascinating. This is the typical way that Olive Thrush chicks behave. Even though they have wing feathers and short tail feathers, they remain perched on the available branches in a tree for a month or so, while the mother continues to feed them until they are big enough to fly and start feeding themselves. It was the first time I had observed this behaviour in any bird.

Here’s the short video that I created so you can see some of this action for yourself:

All ended well as we now have four resident Olive Thrushes in our garden. Another interesting thing is the similarity of species such as the Olive, Karoo and Kurrichane Thrush. It was an enlightening experience right here at home as opposed to the many dramatic sightings we have enjoyed in the South African bushveld, as well as the Central Kalahari desert, Okavango Delta and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Enjoy the video and please share a comment below to let us know if you’ve seen something fascinating in your garden!

African Sunset with Glasses of Wine

Cheers to 2017

Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2017 be filled with happiness, health and abundant prosperity. In numerology terms, this is year 1 in a brand new cycle, so full of extra promise for a fresh start, renewed focus and recharged energy. Can you feel it?

For us, Outdoor Video & Photographic turns 16 this month and we’re so grateful for our journey so far with all of our clients, associates, suppliers, family and friends. Thank you each and every one! Looking ahead, we anticipate another exciting year, including a range of inspiring photography and videography, creative studio and location shoots, and Dave’s favourite – advancements in technology. He already has his eye on some cutting edge equipment, so keep a lookout for news on that in future blog posts.

As you can see from our Home page, the main focus areas for our business are Corporate, Commercial and Events, Aerial, Architecture and Construction, as well as Game Lodges, Safaris and Wildlife. We also shoot plenty of products and modelling portfolios in our Johannesburg-based studio. So if you need professional photo or video shoots in these genres, please contact us. We’d love to help.

Of course balance is important, so we’ll be adding pleasure and rest into the mix, likely including downtime in the African bushveld – such as we were enjoying in the photo above with special friends. Follow this link for Dave’s article about our trip, which explores the question Wildlife Video – for Fun? It includes a short video that features fabulous wildlife interaction and fun stuff. This is where OV&P was born, with Dave and I sharing a deep passion for wildlife and being in the bush. I include a story about it in my first weekly video of 2017, which takes you behind-the-scenes in my recent intensive Confidence on Camera workshop:

For more videos in this series and ongoing tips to improve your confidence on camera, subscribe to my YouTube channel and sign up at my website www.naomiestment.com. In the meantime, stay tuned for what’s happening here at OV&P, as well as insight and inspiration to help you maximise your marketing via expert photography and videography. If you have any comments or questions, please leave a reply below. We look forward to connecting . . . and wish you all the very best for a brilliant year!