Sunday, 26 October 2008

WE took the Dixie kids to the movies!!

Today the WEangels took 36 kids from the small rural town of Dixie to Nelspruit to watch a movie and have a hamburger lunch. A small thing in our worlds, but a major memory in theirs.
None of these kids have ever tasted a hamburger, seen a tarred road, been in side a mall, ridden an escalator or been to a movie.
Herman, Simon and of course Rexon, went along to make sure the kids had a great time, but also to film and photograph the day.
What a day it was. For those of us that live in western cities it is hard to imagine how strange, exciting and awe inspiring it is to leave your rural village and go on an adventure to the city like this. For us it would be like going to another planet.
On behalf of the parents, the crew of WildEarth, the whole of Djuma, and above all ... the kids of Dixie, I would like to thank each and every one of you for the contribution you made to the lives of these special children. I want you to all go to sleep tonight in the knowledge that you made a difference. Not something insignificant, but something life changing in the worlds of young kids that you have never met, and probably never will. But your touch was felt, and it will linger .. forever.
WE are already planning a massive Christmas party with presents for all the kids. WildEarth will be broadcasting it LIVE so you can all be a part of Christmas at Dixie this year. WE have a little money left over from this project, but WE will soon be asking the WEangels to step in and help change the lives of the less fortunate again ... it's in your nature ... and ours!
Here is the the video Herman made about the day.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Going to the movies and some videos

Well the day has finally arrived. Today (25th October 2008) WildEarth and its Angels are taking the kids of Dixie to the movies. I think I have everything in place and WE are expecting it to go off smoothly. At 6.30am Rexon will pick up Herman and Simon from the gate and together they will wait on the roadside by Dixie for the three big buses to arrive. They will be coming from Nelspruit and Dixie is not the easiest village to see from the dirt road so it is important that the guys flag them down as they drive past. Thirty Six children, three adults from the school and Rex,Simon and Herman will board the bus, destination Nelsrpuit. Herman and Simon will be loaded with camera, tapes and mics so that they can record each and every part of the day for you. WE unfortunately have not managed to organise LIVE filming for you but will post a BiTS shortly after we get back to show you everything that went on. On arrival at Nelspruit, Rex will take the kids for a hamburger lunch. WE thought that it was good to get the lunch in before the movie in case some of the smaller ones get hungry. At 12pm they will head to the theatre where they will be met by Bongani, the theatre manager. He will hand each child a pack which will include popcorn, a slush puppy and some smarties. They will then be ushered in to watch the very popular 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua'. I think it will be unlikely that the boys will be able to film once inside the movie theatre becaue of copyright issues but I will make sure that I find out all about their reactions once inside so that I can report back. We will also get some interviews with the kids afterwards so they can let you know how exciting it was for them. Unfortunately, after the movies it is homeward bound for our happy kids. Once again thanks for making this possible and you can be sure WE will record everything for you. It is a once in a lifetime trip for these guys and it was all made possible by you......its in your nature!

I have three amazing videos to show you today. All three really touched me, I hope you enjoy them and once again well done to all of our creative viewers for putting together such works of art. Enjoy.
Emily Wallington

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When Animals Hide by wile1
Firstly can I say how much I like this music. Graham and I have been humming it all day. The pictures work so well with the music, great editing. I love the idea for this video. Animals are so naturally camouflaged to their environment, It always amazes me. You have spent a lot of time and effort finding good footage for this,so thanks, it works perfectly.

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Baboon babys 2 by edpbs
What an amazing scene. It really is happy families and the music adds to this picture. These kids love the rock playground, its a great new adventure for them. Really great footage edpbs, it gives me a warm feeling inside. Thanks

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Karula - I am woman by Aquila
How true is this statement. She is a perfect role model for all the other female leopards out there. What a wonderful cat. To see her jumping up the tree with the impala in her jaws is a great sight. Thanks for catching this Aquila and putting this fantastically appropriate piece of music to it. It hits the nail on the head.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Behind the scenes at WildEarth (WE-BiTS)

Herman actually finished this video on Saturday, when WE blew our first inverter. But due to various issues like the loss of our Internet connection and for some reason the first time he uploaded it to YouTube it failed, he only got it up properly today.
In the meantime the new, very expensive, inverter blew again!:( So Pieter and Rory headed back into Nelspruit this morning to get yet another one. In the meantime, Pete stayed back at camp and rewired the Jigga in an attempt to try and resolve whatever is causing this problem. While he has not been able to find the proverbial 'smoking gun', he has completely rewired the system and WE hope that this will fix the problem.
Pieter and Rory were successful, but not early enough to make it back for this afternoons drive. There will however, be a drive tomorrow morning and hopefully this will be the last time in a while that WE miss a drive.
Sorry for this inconvenience, but you know how tough it is to keep this broadcast coming out of the African bush without the odd technical moment. :)
Anyway great WE-BiTS Herman. Nice to see a bit of the camp, and i think you did a great job on  camera and on the editing. Keep it up.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

WE news and videos

Well I write to you after a rather stressful night and morning trying to sort out a new inverter and understand why we keep blowing the old ones. As Graham mentioned below, Simon and Rexon are on their way to pick up a new one and all should be back to normal relatively soon. On a happier note Pieter and Herman are back from leave and Pieter has brought Rory with him. He is going to be in and around the camp for the next two months helping out so I am sure that you will see quite a lot of him on the drives. That means that WE have all of our wonderful crew together for a few days which is always great. However,tomorrow Rexon and Simon go on a well deserved two week break. However, you will be seeing them during this break. On the 25th October which is exactly one week from today WE are taking the Kids of Dixie to the movies in Nelspruit. Many very generous donations from you guys the viewers have enabled us to take these under privileged children out of their home village and into the big wide world. Many of them haven't even seen a tar road before and none have ever been to the movies. I have organised three big buses that will arrive with their own drivers at 7am on the Saturday morning. 36 children and 6 adults will be climbing aboard and heading for Nelspruit. Rexon, Herman and Simon will be going to help organise but also to film everything so that we can show you everything when we get back. There is a possibility that we will try to make it LIVE but Graham won't commit 100% to this yet. When they arrive at the movies (3 hours from Dixie) they will all be handed a Kiddies combo. This consists of popcorn and some sweets and a drink of their choice. They will then be ushered into the theatre that has the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua playing. I have made a block booking so that they will all be sitting together in rows. I can imagine at this point there will be a lot of noise and very excited faces. Afterwards Rexon and the others will take them for hamburgers before they all climb aboard the buses to go home. Once again I must thank you all deeply for enabling us to do this for these children. It will be something that they will remember for ever.

On a different note the videos are getting better and better each week. I am staggered at how many wonderfully creative clips that you guys are putting together and I swear each week the standard improves. Enjoy.
Emily Wallington

Find more videos like this on WildEarth.TV

Find more videos like this on WildEarth.TV

Djuma Story 1 and 2 by edpbs
These are both absolutely beautiful. It really gives you a good idea of what to see at Djuma. The scenes are all perfectly African and the wonderful pieces of music that you have chosen make it perfect. I love the footage of the tiny elephant in the first story, what a cute little thing. All in all watching these make me really miss the bush and want to get my new little one (when she arrives) down there as soon as possible. Thanks edpbs, I love them.

Drifters by Joyce
Well done Joyce for finding such fantastic footage. I don't manage to see all the drives and some of this stuff has blown me away. The genet is phenomenal and the black mamba,well what can I say. It a really nice idea to put a compilation like this together because it not only enables people to see some of the best footage from 2008 but it makes for great entertainment. Well done on the editing and music as well, i really really enjoyed it.

Baboons at Gowrie by Sagresta
The baboons come down to Gowrie so often that it is a great idea to put all the various sightings together like this.There is always so much interaction and behaviour of them right in front of the camera. It astounds me at how human like they are. Thanks Sagresta, it is always wonderful to see your videos.

Here comes the Judge by Afrimoo
Well done for finding this piece of music, it is hilarious. I had no idea that such a piece of music existed. I had to put this video in, it is wonderful. Thanks Afrimoo.

Sometimes WE fall down ...

... but WE get up again.

On last night's drive, the inverter blew again! Every couple of months this seems to happen. We have no idea why it happens, but it does. When we open it up there is never any good reason for why it is not working, the fuses never blow, there is no sign of burning, in fact we just can't figure it out. The only thing to do is to replace it. That always means getting on the phone and trying to track down a new one as close as possible to Djuma. 
In the meantime I need to tell you about the best crew in the world. The WEcrew. Nothing gets them down, no matter how hard, no matter what breaks, no matter what time of the day or night, they never give up. With very limited resources and with an unrelenting tide of technical problems the one thing that you can always count on is the absolute dedication of this small team of filmmakers to fight on.  This morning the crew woke up even earlier than normal to get the WEwalk system reconfigured so that Pieter could take you on a tour of the camp. You see WE have a motto: "The show must go on. No matter what." LIVE broadcasting is in our blood, it's in our nature. 
As I write to you, Rex and Simon are driving to Nelspruit. We have tracked down another inverter and if all goes according to plan this afternoon's drive will happen on time. But make no mistake, come hell or high water, WildEarth will be broadcasting LIVE. Connecting you to our natural world ... it is our mission and nothing will stop us!

Monday, 13 October 2008

LIVE map of the Jigga!!

After a huge amount of work and jumping through any number of hoops, Pete has managed to get a LIVE GPS coordinate from the Jigga and display it on a map, so that you can keep up with the exact real time location of our game drive vehicle.
This seemingly simple bit of technology is the culmination of years of dreaming. You see, there is a whole lot of things WE can do now that we have this working. It will allow us to log the exact location of every bit of video in our archive system (should be available very soon). Pete has already begun work on our Google Earth layer, which will show roads and maybe leopard territories to begin with, but will soon include tons of other interesting geo tagged information.
Take a look at and enjoy ... it's in your nature.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

WEwalk is back!

As many of you know we started a LIVE bush walk a few weeks ago. This involved Pieter Pretorius going out into the bush with Herman filming him close behind. Many of you will remember that our first walk threw up a rather exciting situation with a herd of elephants and in particular a rather angry matriarch. Pieter handled the situation in a way that only Pieter can with elephants and everything was calmed down very quickly. However, the unfortunate thing about this walk was the quality of the picture and sound. Graham and I have been wanting to do a LIVE walk for a long time and so Graham cobbled together some old eqipment from a previous film shoot just to give you guys a glimpse at what can be achieved. It was amazing to see but to be honest the quality was not really broadcastable. Now it is back with a whole new digital system that Graham and Pete Braat have implemented and it promises to be much better. Pete and Simon have been out testing it over the last few days and tomorrow (Wednesday 8th October 2008) WE will be ready to go properly LIVE with the WEwalk again. So be here at 09h00 CAT (Central African Time) tomorrow morning with Rexon presenting and Simon on camera to see the new and improved LIVE bush walk. WE would like to say thanks to Pete Braat who has been working really hard to get us the WEwalk back with this new equipment. Enjoy.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

WE News and Videos

Firstly I would like to apologize for not having written a Blog for a while. I am five weeks away from giving birth now and this last home stretch is very different from earlier on, as many of you will know. Exhaustion takes over and it is very hard to get everything done that you want to. However, it does mean that I have had two weeks worth of highly creative and inspirational videos to watch made by you guys. I have really enjoyed watching them and am blown away by the skill that seems to be ever increasing amongst our viewers. Thanks so much for the wonderful entertainment I look forward to more in the future.
However, before we watch them, I have some other news. Many of you have been asking about our wonderful Presenter and Cameraman, Texan. Unfortunately for us, after much discussion and deliberation,Texan has decided to take another opportunity that has been offered to him. He has been an absolute pleasure to have on the crew and WE wish him all the best in the future. He will be working nearby and as always he knows that door is always open here at WildEarth.
The Dixie Donation Project  has finally come to a close and WE have raised a whopping $2195.00. Graham and I and the rest of the WE team are supremely grateful for your generosity and feel that you should all be extremely proud of yourselves for enhancing the lives of these children. I am in the middle of organising the trip and so far we have three big bus loads of kids going to the movies on Saturday 25th October. I have not been able to choose a movie yet as the schedule for that date only opens at the end of this week. I will let you know as soon as it opens. There are a few of our WEangels who have donated in the last few days who we have not yet thanked. They are:-
Deborah Schmidt, Garret LeCron, Lela Crisswell, Annaliese Wade, Beverly Bailey, Sandi Isner, Stacey Manfredi, Mike Roberson (kids in the nest), Carolyn Roberson (kids in the nest), David Roberson (Kids in the nest), Ms Charlie and Mike Smith (also kids in the nest).
Finally, this week will see the start of our WEwalk again but this time the quality will hopefully be greatly improved. The Chat will continue after the walk and then on Friday 10th October Pete will start his WElearn show again. Have a great week and don't forget the fireside chat this evening.

OK, so here are my favorite videos from the past two weeks, I hope you enjoy them.
Emily Wallington

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Funny Video 1 by edpbs
This was outstanding. I love the way you have made it in sepia, it gives it that old filmic look and the music seems to match with every movement made by the vehicle. The animals also seem to move in time to the music. It is a real treat and extremely creative, well done. There is also a 'Funny Video 2' which is on the social network. This is also great, make sure you watch it.

Baboons Revolt! by Blaze
This was made a while ago for an old staff member of ours called Jan. I am sure that many of you remember him, he was a true legend. Blaze has added an intro to him at the beginning which made me remember how nice it was to have him around. The actual videos of baboons was also brilliant. The editing and music bought out their true characters and I felt I could have carried on watching for hours. Thanks Blaze.

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PMdrive25sep08 by Mike
I love the simplicity of this video and felt that Mike really caught the feeling you get when you go on a drive. He has fantastic graphics that top and tail the video making it feel extremely professional. Well done Mike, you chose a simple idea and turned into a true piece of entertainment. Thanks.

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A year in the life of Gowrie Dam by Sharon.
This was brilliant. The editing was outstanding, I loved the way that the different views, levels of water and day and night fused into each other. It truely gave a feeling of how often the dam changes in a year. It is a fantastic idea for a video and i am sure a lot of work collecting all the different views. Wonderful and thanks.

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The Art of Djuma by wile1
I love this style and have only recently realised that it is possible. it must take a lot of time to take pictures from Gowrie and convert them into pieces of artwork. It gives a very therapeutic feel and certainly something that I love watching at the end of a hard days work. Thanks wile1 for your time and skill.

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The Road by Marty
This is pure inspiration. Who would have thought that you could make such a great video from the bits in between the sightings. Marty, you are completely right. We always concentrate on what we see and don't sit back enough and enjoy the ride. This was wonderfully produced and edited and really made me sit back and enjoy the bush for what it is. Thanks.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

What's up @ WE

The drives are back in colour, which is really great!! Pete brought down a new video switch, while not as fancy as the last one, at least it works all the time. He also brought down a brand new digital jacket. Now what is a 'digital jacket' you might ask? Well, to be totally honest it is a name I just made up, but that doesn't mean it isn't really exciting and cool. As you have all noticed the WEwalk is a great idea, but the video and audio quality is horrific, and that is because the system WE were using was a very old anologue system. (In fact it as an old system that Emily and I used in the Serengeti when we did a series for National Geographic.) Anyway, it had to go and it has. The new 'digital jacket' is a cutting edge system that the camera man wears and it will be able to get a full TV quality video/audio stream back to the Jigga, from the WEwalk team, at the standard that WE demand from our equipment ... but sometimes don't get.
Also, Pete is going to be putting the finishing touches to the LIVE GPS service from the Jigga. so hopefully as soon as tomorrow you will be able to follow the game drive's exact position in real time. The minute that this system is working, I will let everyone know how to get it.
WE have received a phenomenol $2140.00 for the project to take the kids from Dixie to the movies!!! Far more than we planned or expected. This has allowed us to take many more kids, and we are also planning to get each of them a T-Shirt, and maybe more ... (I will keep you updated on our arrangements and of course make sure you feel like you are there with us on the day.)
There are some WEangels that have requested to remain annonymous, and WE will of course respect this. I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to all of you that decided to help our humble little project to take some underpriveleged kids in Africa to the movies for an experience of a lifetime. I know that this project came at a time when many people around the world are very uncertain about the financial and political systems everywhere, and I think it is a testimony to the kindness of people that come on safari with us LIVE, that they could find it in their hearts to help the less fortunate in a time of their own relative darkness. You are all truly special people, you are WEangels and I am so grateful that it is in your nature.
This project has taught me something about what WE do, and more importantly, what WE can do. I think that it is the beginning of something special and very meaningful. I promise that this will not be the last time that you hear of the army of WEangels.