Some people say all I do is stories about animals. Since my start as a journalist I've reported on dogs, cats, bears, horses, monkeys, manatees, and even emus. This week I lived up to that reputation, and then some. In order to properly execute this week's assignment involving video, I knew I needed a subject that would provide dynamic visuals, and animals always deliver. So I reached out to the Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation, located in a very rural corner of Gainesville. Thankfully I received a confirmation almost immediately, and I was excited to head out there.
The first issues came up the day before. Despite being proactive and picking up my equipment early on Friday, I only realized late that night that I had been given the wrong tripod, one that was totally incompatible with the camera. So I quickly came to terms with the fact that I would interviewing the co-founder of the wildlife foundation tripod-less.
The day of the story, I arrived early to make sure I mic'd up Barry Janks before following him as he and he wife gave a tour of their 274-acre property. Darting back and forth between the animals and Janks, I felt like a spy on a mission. In this case, a tripod would have been useless anyway. I left the focus on manual and tried to get as many sequential shots as possible, finding every angle of Janks while he hand-fed raw chicken to a tiger named Sunflower, cuddled with a cheetah named Spirit, and tossed carrots into the mouth of a rhino named Henry. I also made sure to get close to the action for the sake of natural sound, and I was proud to find that I successfully recorded the cheetah purring, the lion roaring, and the panther growling. It was one of the most dynamic shoots I've ever had, and it was not easy.
After two and half hours of shooting, Janks and I finally sat down for the interview, and I was able to set the DSLR and Zoom on top of a stool while taking into account how the lighting stretched across his face. The interview lasted nearly 30 minutes, not including the multiple times I needed to adjust the placement of the camera considering I was working without the much needed tripod. Regardless, it was a success. Thankfully I have experience with Premiere Pro, and the editing process went smoothly. The only tough part was choosing which parts of the interview to include in the limited two minute timeframe that showed just how passionate Janks is about his animals, which he calls his children. Hopefully I did his story justice.
Here's his story: Barry Janks: Living for Animals.