South Lakes Wild Animal Park: The Ultimate Interactive Experience

After looking back at my posts, I’ve realised that I never actually talked about my filming at ‘South Lakes Wild Animal Park’ back in May 2013 so that’s what this post it about.

I first approached the zoo just before Easter last year after deciding that I desperately needed some more experience in filming animals. If I’m going to film animals in the wild then

having a go at filming animals closer to home seems like a good way to practice and gather some more skills in that particular area. When they got back to me, I was told that the zoo would like a short promotional video about the hand feeding elements and after having visited the zoo in the past, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do what I enjoy and get up close to some of the animals at the same time. The only problem at this stage was the fact that, as the name suggests, the zoo is in the South Lakes in Cumbria whilst I was down in Wales in Cardiff but luckily I was off back home for a bit the next month and so it all seemed to come together quite well.

That was until I checked the weather reports. Oh dear. It had been quite nice leading up to the filming; all the pre-production planning was done and I was looking forward to getting back out and doing some filming but the weather didn’t think so. It was going to rain. I worried quite a bit beforehand as my camera isn’t very waterproof and my cover can get in the way but there was no point worrying about it; it’s always best to just get on with things instead of dwelling too much on what could go wrong. So we set off hoping for the best and looking forward to the day’s filming.

The filming itself went well and it was nice to get up close to and take part in some of the hand feeding with the animals as well. The giraffes in particular were a highlight as their inquisitiveness led to some good shots along with the curiosity of the lemurs who made sure that there was definitely an entertainment aspect to the film! Likewise, the penguins wereScreen Shot 2014-03-17 at 17.34.08also incredibly entertaining and one in particular to a shine to my camera and tried to have a little nibble before wandering off to be fed some more fish along with his friends. It was definitely nice to be able to see such well looked after animals and see other people learning so much about the conservation projects needed to save so many of the species.

During the day, as expected, it did rain quite a bit so it was a case of getting all the outside shots sorted in the odd dry patch and pretty much fitting in around the weather. It was a bit annoying at times as I needed to get shots of the visitors walking around the park which was a little bit hard when people were running for cover every 10 minutes but I think we got there in the end! Filming isn’t always straight forward and if it is, expect something to go wrong in post-production!

Overall, I have to say that although it was challenging at times, this particular promotional film has to be one of my favourite projects. Being able to interact with the animals whilst also maintaining professionalism was a valuable lesson and one that I know will be incredible useful in the future. I have heard a lot of people talking about zoos and saying that they are cruel places and yes I agree that some of they are but this one definitely isn’t. The animals are free to wander in huge enclosures and with the expansion of the park, even bigger spaces to roam around and they aren’t forced into the hand feeding activities; they can come and go as they wish. If they were herded in and forced to interact with the visitors then I wouldn’t have filmed there but that really wasn’t the case. My only complaint is that it would have been nice to have taken some more photographs as well as filming, the big cats were the perfect subjects, but I suppose that’s for another visit!

Here is the final promotional film:

https://vimeo.com/75713308

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