Wildlife cinematographer John Aitchison (
The Hunt, Planet Earth II
) gives his practical advice for shooting nature documentaries, from finding your characters to constantly being on the lookout for stories.
He writes in
good story needs a protagonist who is able to react to their changing circumstances and to the other characters they meet, usually changing themselves along the way. There is usually one main character about whom we are invited to care. Our films are far more effective if we can distinguish that character from the others visually. I mean ‘characters’ in the loosest sense. A character in a wildlife film could be a bear or a bristlecone pine, or even the Earth itself. These characters will do things and things will happen to them. The audience can be invited to be on their side, or against them, or neither, or both, because interesting characters develop and evolve as the story unfolds, or at least our understanding of them does.”
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