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4 Week Wildlife Film Documentary Production Course

– Isle of Mull, Scotland –

Monday 3rd to Friday 28th June 2024

Course Information:
This course will focus on the Isle of Mull. The overall production will follow a ‘presenter’ in a sea kayak paddling up the whole length of the west coast of Scotland. Utilising a sea kayak will give us unprecedented access to all things wildlife as well as some extremely picturesque locations. The advantage of filming a journey in sea kayak is we will be able to film both on, and underneath the water, as well as on the land and from the air. The final film produced will make up program 4 of a 6 part wildlife/travel documentary series.

Ric Swift (The course instructor) is a very accomplished sea kayaker. It is now 25 years since he undertook a 3600+ mile journey to be ‘The first person to paddle a sea kayak, solo, unsupported around the whole of the British Isles’ for which he gained a Guinness World Record for being the first person to paddle from John o’ Groats to Lands End solo, unsupported in a sea kayak. (1365 miles)

Please Note – As a Wildlife Film School student, you do not need to have any experience in paddling a sea kayak to attend any of our 2024 courses, as you WILL NOT be paddling a sea kayak as part of your course.

Course Route:
The course will start in Oban, where will meet at a local supermarket to undertake a ‘bulk food shop’ as a group. We will then take the ferry to Craignure where we will start our circumnavigation of the island traveling in a clockwise direction. We will pass Loch Don to paddle further towards Carsaig Arches, and on towards the island of Iona. From Iona we will head north across Loch Scridian into Loch na Keal. Before finally travel further north and rounding the headland and visiting Tobermory.
The course will end back in Oban, unless you are accompanying on the next section of our journey around The Outer Hebrides.

The Isle of Mull

Just what can we tell you about the Isle of Mull… this is the island where it all started. Our very first course was run here 15 years ago, way back in 2007 and to date we have now run 36 courses on the island and its surrounding smaller Isles, and we can honestly say, long will it remain to be one of the jewels in the wildlife filming calendar of the United Kingdom.
The whole island is such an amazing place that we think you could run a wildlife film school here and never leave the island. From the coral beaches, to the vast shingle mud flats in the sea lochs, from the sea lochs themselves to the range of mountains in the centre of the island, and from the major diversities between the north of the island and the Ross of Mull in the south, anyone visiting here will never be short of locations in which to film.

The Isle of Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, after Skye, lying off the west coast of Scotland. Mull is also the fourth largest Scottish island and the fourth largest island surrounding Great Britain. Mull has a coastline of approximately 300 miles that is made up on many coves and inlets but mainly 4 large peninsulas which are predominantly moorland, radiate from the centre and sea lochs. Mull has a mountainous core, the highest peak being Ben More, which reaches over 900 meters. The waters around Mull are affected by the Gulf Stream, which in turn brings coral sands with it making some of Mulls many beaches, some of the best in the world.

The island is home to hundreds of types of birds including the White-tailed Eagle, which when re-introduced in the nearby Island of Rum migrated to Mull, where it now has a stronghold; as well as several other birds of prey such as Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles and Short Eared Owl, which are all difficult to see elsewhere in the UK. I have personally seen Basking sharks and dolphins from the coast. The island is also home to a large and thriving population of Otters that live in many coastal habitats, and can often be seen hunting during the day, we have been filming on Mull for so long now that we can guarantee that you will film these delightful little guys during your time on Mull …and the best of all, we have now been filming here for so long, we know where they all live.

The course will take you through all the stages of –

Production:
•  Initial program / script ideas & brainstorming
•  Script writing
•  Production ethics
•  Presenter lead programming
•  Presenters’ scripting
•  Animal observation & tracking
•  Filming on location
•  Filming a Presenter on location
•  Sound recording on location
•  Video editing on location
•  Audio editing on location
•  Production of final film / documentary
•  All necessary logistics & camp-craft

Field-Craft:
(We will also cover the elements below at various points during the course (Time Permitting))
•  Locating / tracking Animals
•  Map & compass work
•  Navigation overland without a map
•  Route planning
•  Camp placement & orientation
•  Base camp management
•  Water management & sanitation
•  Emergency procedures & actions

Course Dates:
This course will be running from: Monday 3rd to Friday 28th June 2024. This will be a practical course and you will need to be on location with us in Scotland for the full duration of the course.
We will be running 6 wildlife film courses during 2024, from March 2024 through to August 2024. Should you wish to, you are able to join us for more than one course..

Course Closing Date:
You need to have read, signed and returned your course booking paperwork back to us, and paid for your course, in full, with the equipment damage waiver before 5pm GMT on Thursday 29th February 2024, to be able to attend this course. Your place on the course is not guaranteed until you have done this.
This course is booked on a ´First-come, First-served´ basis, so it is highly recommended that you book early to secure your place. You will not be able to book on this course after this date.

Course Overview:
You do not need to have any previous film production experience to attend a course. (However a basic understanding about the principles of ‘how a lens works’ as well as ‘shutter speeds’ and ‘exposure’ will help you)
We will take you through the whole process of producing a wildlife documentary film from start to finish including; script ideas, production ethics, script writing, presenter and voiceover-led productions, filming on location, recording audio on location and editing on location; as well as all the necessary logistics and camp-craft requirements to allow you to be able to successfully work in such a remote environment.
We can guarantee that four weeks of filming / working on location will give you an unprecedented amount of time for you to learn and improve both your camera and production skills in some truly fantastic locations. The west coast of Scotland by far is the best location in the UK to both see and film wildlife.

The entire four week long practical section of this course will be operating out of various basecamps situated in different locations throughout Western Scotland. Each course will have a maximum of 4 students working from a vehicle/s. The vehicle/s will have a course instructor and wildlife guide/driver, with the students occupying the rest of the vehicle. This vehicle/s will carry everything logistical we need for our time in Scotland; as well as selection of 4K cameras, lenses, audio recording equipment and other production equipment; plus various grip, tripod and support equipment.
During the whole of your course we will living / working out of a tented basecamp; which will have electrical power via a petrol generator. For your comfort each student will have your own 2-man mountain tent.

As part of your course fees we will supply you with:
•  All 4K camera equipment
•  All ‘on location’ production equipment
•  All ‘on location’ 4K editing equipment
•  All basecamp tents and equipment
•  All staff and instruction
•  All vehicles and transportation overland required during your course

Number of Students:
To minimise our impact on the ground in reference to the size of our base-camps, there is a maximum of 4 students permitted on each course.

Course Fees:
The cost of your course is £6000 per student.
You are able to pay for your course fees in monthly instalments.
We are offering a £500 ‘early bird booking discount’ for those who book and pay for their course in full, within 4 weeks of receiving their booking paperwork from us.

How to Book:
To apply for the paperwork to book on this course please – Click here
For more information on the Equipment Damage Waiver – Click here

Please Note:
•  All of the Wildlife Film School courses are booked on a ‘First-come, First-served’ basis.
•  It is highly recommended that you book early to secure your place, especially if you are from outside of the UK
•  You are not able to book after the ‘closing date’ of that course.
•  Flights to and from the UK are not included in your course fees as our students fly in from many different destinations around the world.