Monday, 5 October 2009
Filming in Kafue National Park, roughly 250km west of Lusaka, I got the chance to direct an aerial shoot for our upcoming series of Vet Adventures. It was an amazing experience, I was so wrapped up in what I was seeing that I forgot to take any pictures of the wilder beasts, the herds of buffalo or the hippo's.
There aren't any private helicopters in Zambia so we had to hire one from Botswana, which is approx a 5-6 hour flight to Kafue National Park. The next day we filmed aerials over Lusaka, the capital.
We paid for about 15 hours of flying time, so after you deduct flying to and from Botswana and from Kafue to Lusaka we had a total of 2 and a half hours left for filming, not much, but absolutely worth it, the results were stunning. I felt like I was watching BBC's Planet Earth.
The ball mount on the front of the helicopter is a Cineflex mount, that's where the camera sits and it provides motion stabilization for rock solid aerial shots. The operator sits in the back and controls the camera movement on a couple of joysticks and lots of buttons. There is a picture of Dave operating further down.
The land has recently been burnt by poachers who then place traps for the escaping animals.
Flying over the bush.
The helicopter could only go so high with all the equipment and three people in it which unfortunately meant that the elephants got a little bit stressed by the noise, so we tried to stay as far away and be as quick as possible.
Really tiny, tiny elephants!
As we drove to the airstrip to head back to Lusaka, this young elephant decided to charge towards the vehicle. This photo was actually taken by Luke Gamble who was sitting in the back of the jeep.
A wide of Kafue National Park. Its twice the size of Belgium and it has only 250 people to look after all the wildlife!
Implala in the distance
Dave the Cineflex operator and all his gear spread over the whole back seat of the chopper. Pretty amazing equipment. It requires more dexterity than operating a playstation console.
Right to left: Annie (Pilot), Dave (Cineflex Operator), Myself (Myself)
Impala running away from the helicopter as we make a quick landing to clean the lens on the cineflex (the camera mount which is on the front of the helicopter)
Filming at the David Shephard Elephant Orphanage Project, a great charity based in the heart of the park. They look after orphaned elephants which they eventually release back into the wild.
Absolutely adorable as one elephant scratches its bum on the other one's back.
Smelling my feet
Filming a shot of Lusaka from the top of The Intercontinental Hotel
Albino boy and his two brothers
About to fly to Kafue National Park in a very small plane. Luke, Brendan the Irish Pilot, Myself, Nathan, Nick and James.
Before landing we hit an air pocket and we all banged our heads on the ceiling. Luckily we were all fine, but not a very pleasant experience!
Safe and sound on the ground.