Video cameras on Safari

Aug 16th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Video cameras on Safari

I have gained much knowledge on this board regarding cameras, and binoculars. Just curious does anyone take video cameras too--or is it too difficult? Mine is pretty small, so not much weight? Thanks.
SiestaLinda is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 05:12 AM
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We usually take a small digital camcorder. A few years ago I'd do the stills photography and my husband would take some video footage but as he's now also into stills the video doesn't get used as much. But we do still like using it to record actions and sounds - that's such a huge part of a safari trip in particular.
Kavey is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Personally, I'd leave the video at home -- the vehicles bounce around so much that watching the tapes can be pretty nauseating. As a compromise, some of the more advanced still cameras have a video function so you can record a short bit of video without bringing an extra camera.

jasher is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Hi there,

Jasher is right that the vehicles bounce around alot, which sometimes makes the footage very shaky, and there's also the wind to consider, which often makes the sound muffled. That said, however, my husband and I are VERY glad that we took our video camera to Tanzania this past January. We have yet to edit our video and make it into a proper DVD (it's going to be a fall project), but any time we've looked at a 30 seconds here or there, shaky or not, it takes us right back to the plains of the Serengeti.
alwaysafrica is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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I don't think I'd even bother switching the camcorder on whilst the vehicle was in motion!!!

But on the game drives we've done much time has been spent stationary, just observing the wildlife. In these situations one often has plenty of time to take still photographs, a short video sequence or two and also to simply enjoy the experience itself.

Kavey is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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I took a still camera and my husband took a video camera. We're really glad we had both. He has some amazing footage of animal interactions (leopard vs. hyena, a big male lion roaring mere few feet away, warthogs fighting, a big herd of lechwes running through water.....). It really wasn't that bouncy as most of our best animal sightings came while we were parked.

On the other hand, one person with both a still and video camera I think would be unmanageable.

Next time I think it would be really cool to have a tape recorder. the sounds are just as remarkable as the sights.

linjudy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Lots of people use them, and as long as you only turn them on when the vehicle has stopped, you should be fine. It does give you the option of recording the guides comments too (if you sit near the guide), and it's also excellent for local singing and dancing--a camera just doesn't capture those things as well.

But you will still spend a lot of time editing at home...or your friends may desert you when faced with 15 hours of Africa travel videos!
tashak is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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I would definitely bring it. It is a wonderful way to capture the sounds of the birds ("work harder, drink lager"), hippos, elephants, etc. -- and even the sound of the wind and rain. Plus, while stills are nice, they can't show the motion of the animals. Video cameras also tend to be better in low light than stills are. When we were in South Africa we were fortunate to be able to watch a leopard in a tree eating a fresh impala kill one evening. My stills were grainy, but my husband's video came out perfectly -- you could even hear the crunching of the bones as she ate -- plus the video caught the split-second when a hyena jumped out and tried to steal the kill (which I missed with my still camera).
lisa is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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I think the video camera may be too much if you are solo and want to take a lot of stills. If there are two of you then the video is a perfect addition and I would say vital. We purchased a cheap analog model for our third trip in 2002, having wished that we could have recorded the sounds we heard in 1999. Since then I have taken many hours of footage, now I tend to be more selective.

I record when the vehicle has stopped. At sightings with some potential for interest, I use a lightwieght tripod which I extend two legs on, and have the third balanced on the seat (some safari vehicles (Makanyane) mean to do this you have to sit in the front row). Then I can set the camera to record and just adjust the shot as necessary. Also this means I actually see whats going on, rather than having my eye stuck to the camera.
I never worry about voices on the shot, figuring it is part of the experience, I dont do a commentary. I do let fellow travellers that I dont expect them not to talk, which I would consider terribly rude.
For nocturnal sightings the video is indispensible, where my wife has a few grainy shots of Bat Eared Fox and Aardwolf, I have Serval, Caracal and more.
Lastly being able to replay the footage of a Male Lion roaring not twenty feet from us is priceless.
napamatt is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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As others have already mentioned the sound and motion is really something you want to capture. I am much more into still shots but have my little dig camcorder sitting on the seat. When you are at a viewing for a while it is great to pick up the video an get some footage of lion cubs jumping all over their mother! We have some great footage of vultures, jackles & hyenas at a kill, the noise is just amazing. All that is missing is the smell!
jules39 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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I have always been the one and only photographer on our trips since my husband is totally inept when it comes to cameras. In anticipation of our first safari next month, I bought a new digital camera which I intend to use along with the camcorder. I asked him if he would like to learn how to use it but he really would rather not be burdened (his word) with any photography gear - so I'm it!! I will be switching between the still and video cameras as I usually do.
Lolo12 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Thanks everyone--will pack the camcorder. There are 4 of us going in our own jeep--so between the 4 of us someone should be able to do it. Just hope I can keep the batteries charged--whew. I think the electronics are going to take up more space than our clothes!! 15 more days!!!!
SiestaLinda is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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We were able to recharge ours in most camps - some had outlets in the tents, others only had central outlets in the office and we'd leave chargers and spare batteries with them overnight or during a drive (taking the other one out with us).

Kavey is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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My name is leo. I love leopards very much. I am interested in interactions between leopards and hyenas. In one of your posts above, you mentioned that you have footage of "leopard vs. hyena". I would love to see the video, but i don't know how that would be possible. could you post the details of this interaction, or email them to me? I would be most grateful. Thank you.

[email protected]
leopard4 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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I would say by all means take the video camera. I travel alone and take an SLR with additional lenses for regular photos as well as two Sharp Camcorders. I always have a video cam as well as the SLR slung around my neck on game drives, and you will quickly learn to drop one and pick up the other. It is indeed the movement and sounds on video that you can't replicate on still photos.

I wrap all the cameras and lenses in bubble wrap and put them in my backpack which I carry on. This includes the lead-lined bag for film and other items. Then I pack in my checked luggage the small empty camera bags. When I get to Kenya I transfer the cameras to their own individual cases and take those two small bags with film and supplies on each game drive.

Any driver who is worth his pay will gladly stop and shut off the engines for you to take any kind of photo, whether video or otherwise. If he doesn't just politely ask him to do so.

There is nothing nicer than sitting in your living room in the middle of a snow storm in February watching your videos of Africa. I watch these far more than I bother to get out photo albums. You will never regret taking the video cam.

JanGoss is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Hi leopard4,

We saw an amazing leopard/hyena interaction as soon as we got to Mombo.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to get videos onto the internet. But here are some photos.


linjudy is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for the link Judy -- I'm really looking forward to my time at Mombo!

What time of year were you there?

jasher is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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Hi Judy,

I enjoyed your photos and the captions were great. If I see a portion of the wildlife you saw I will be happy. Can't believe how close you got and all the cubs!!!! They are my favorite. You captured some incredible moments. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to email me so we can chat more.

CarlaM is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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Hi Julian,

We were just there this past June. I think our itinerary was pretty similar to where you'll be going next year if I remember one of your posts -- we went to Duma Tau, Kwetsani and Mombo. You'll have an awesome time

Carla, yes, I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen all everything we did. It was an unbelievable first safari for us, and the landscape was so lovely. The only problem is now I'm really torn on where to go next -- somewhere different (e.g., Tanzania), or return to amazing Botswana. I will send email. I'm at [email protected]

linjudy is offline  

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