Wildlife Filmmaking: An Adventurous Career and Profession

A lot of you might have grown up watching wildlife and nature documentaries. They are not only informative but also well-shot, well-edited, well presented and has some strong points that will catch the attention of people on a large scale.

Few award-winning wildlife filmmakers have changed the world because of their contribution to creating awareness through the television medium. It is a job where creativity & nature meets technology & education. So let’s take a look at what it takes to become a wildlife filmmaker.

What is wildlife filmmaking?

Wildlife filmmaking is one of the exciting careers that anyone can ever pursue. Wildlife filmmaking is about being committed to wildlife conservation, film making them, and showcasing the game by sitting quietly for hours in the forest to get that one particular moment captured which will be suitable for the theme, and finally experimenting with a short, low-budget film to start your career with.

How to pursue a career in wildlife filmmaking?

Starting with an understanding of the basics of the camera or video recorder is necessary. There are various courses in different world-recognized institutes as well as online platforms. Attend one of such classes and be aware of your gear. Once you understand it thoroughly, play with the gear for self-learning.

Having said that, understanding your subject and going into details of the subject is important. Also, learning from experts in this field by doing an internship is a good decision. Do remember! Credibility is of substantial importance if one wants to be funded and hired by others from the same field.

Watch documentaries and make notes on shots used explaining how you think the shots were captured. Also, pay attention to the credits and contact the people for advice. Volunteering for conservation organisations demonstrates an interest in the natural world and builds up practical knowledge of the outdoors. 

Wildlife filmmaking is about being committed to wildlife conservation

Common difficulties faced as a wildlife filmmaker

Wildlife filmmaking is one of the arduous professions. One has to put in hours and hours of work. Initially, you have a script and plan ready with you. However, the natural world is unpredictable. Thus, there are chances that what you had planned would not work out that way. Finally, you must modify your film based on footage that you could get. This part of a filmmaker’s job makes this career challenging.

Job profiles/roles in the career of a wildlife filmmaker

There are various job profiles in wildlife film-making careers. Starting from the cameraman, there are wildlife biologists, producers, assistant producers, production managers, production coordinators, editors, sound directors, voice-over artists, talents, fixers, etc. in the team. 

Experienced and professional filmmaker can go up to a minimum of INR 30,000 per day

Status of wildlife film making in India

Unfortunately, in India, it is difficult to find a suitable career path for wildlife filmmakers as we don’t have a market of our own. On today’s date, we the Indians work for various international platforms, such as BBC, National Geography, Animal Planet, Discovery, etc. These broadcasts offer projects to Indian filmmakers, but it has its advantages and disadvantages. Also, it becomes a little difficult to get a project there as it is a worldwide competition. Generally, freshers have to face a lot of struggle while boosting up their name in this field.

Top colleges for film making in India

Here is the list of the top 15 colleges of India for film making along with the different courses that these institutes offer.

Wildlife filmmaking vs wildlife photography

Other than the obvious difference between the two, i.e; the modes of capturing moments, display and the technology used, they are not as different as we might think.

  • Both fields are used to entertain, educate and create awareness.
  • While filmmaking will cover more content and opens the door to immersion, wildlife photography is a straight-on to the point mode of communication.
  • Wildlife photography is relatively easier to execute than wildlife filmmaking considering the gears and equipment required is only a camera and its lenses.
  • Wildlife filmmaking holds more potential for better pay. Photography on the other hand is a bit tough to crack through.
Sr. No.Name of the instituteCourse offered
1National Academy of Media and EventsProfessional Diploma in Advertising, Integrated Marketing Communication and Ad Film Making
2MIT School of Film and TelevisionB.Sc. in Filmmaking
3Deccan Education Society’s Institute of Film & TelevisionDiploma in Television Production/ Digital Film Making
4Lovely Professional UniversityM.Sc. in Design (Film and TV Production)
5Atharva Institute of Film and Television Post Graduate Diploma in Practical Film
6Chandigarh UniversityB.Sc. in Film Production and Performing Arts
7Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and CommunicationDiploma in Creative Documentary
8L. J. Institute of Media and CommunicationsPG Diploma in Media and Communications
9SGT UniversityM.Sc in Film Making
10Amity UniversityM.A. in Film, TV and Radio
11Seamedu – School of Pro-ExpressionismDiploma in Film Making
12Toledo – The Film InstituteFilm Making Training
13Shiv Nadar UniversityMFA in Film and Television
14CREO Valley School of Film and TelevisionQAI-UK Certificate in Film Making
15Design Media and Edutainment SolutionsDiploma in Film and Television Production

Top courses in the world

Here are a few recommended courses for filmmaking across the world. It consists of graduation, post-graduation as well as few short-term courses.

  1. BA Hons Wildlife and Media at University of Cumbria, UK
  2. Three-year PG degree in Media at the University of Montana in Bozeman, US
  3. MSc. in media at Otago University in New Zealand
  4. Wildeye is a private organization for independent wildlife filmmakers that conduct wildlife filmmaking courses.

Salary

The salary of an experienced and professional filmmaker can go up to a minimum of INR 30,000 per day. However, it takes a lot of dedication to work. Undoubtedly, film making is a career of patience.

No doubt, wildlife filmmaking is a broad career choice. There are plenty of opportunities and money too, in this field. However, you need to establish yourself first. Definitely, it takes time compared to other careers. Also, after one film, you would be back to square one pitching for another. If that’s your passion, just dive into it.

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