If you've chosen your topic and your location, all you have to do next is to film it. Filming nature, however, is no easy task. We've asked Zsolt Marcell Tóth, multiple Golden Eye Award Winner nature documentary photographer about the ways and means of turning your camcorder towards nature.
Filmjungle: What was your first ever camcorder like?
Zsolt: The first ever camcorder I could hold in my hands was a monster of a VHS. But at the time that one was so so valuable that I wasn't allowed to use it, I could literally only hold it. My first real camera was a Panasonic A1, a tubular (?) camcorder. You had to carry this huge box slung over your shoulder to be able to film. I was born and raised in the video era, so I never had a chance to actually work on real film stock, but I could watch the rise of the electronic camcorder. Our age is a very exciting one. Nowadays you can record a better image using our cell phone than 15 years ago with a monstrous professional camcorder.
Filmjungle: If you were a beginner these days, what kind of a camera would you choose?
Zsolt: It would have to be a small digital camcorder with high definition. But it's not only the definition that counts, but the optical parameters, so maybe I would loook at those first.
Filmdzsungel: In what ways is nature documentary making different from all other types of film making? What should you prepare for?
Zsolt: Nature documentaries are based on spontaneity. You can of course plan your day including what animal you want ti film performing what kind of action in what kind of light, but once you're in the field, everything keeps changing. You have to prepare for the weather, like if you want to film before or after a cold front or for the wind conditions, etc.
Filmjungle: What other equipment are you likely to need apart from a camcorder?
Zsolt: A pair of wellingtons, a folding chair for long waits, a swiss army knife, a roll of strong cellotape and of course a tripod, a set of lenses and a spare battery for the camcorder.
Filmjungle: What are the things you should keep in mind while filming?
Zsolt: To move about in the field without disturbing the fauna more than absolutely necessary.
Filmjungle: Can you recall a beautiful moment in nature that you encountered with camcorder in hand?
Zsolt: Not one but a hundred or more! Each moment is beautiful when after wainting for hours there is a wild animal just a couple of feet from you, acting completely naturally. One of my greatest such encounters was filming a puma in its natural habitat.