Friday, 29 August 2008

So long Marco ...

I can truly say that Marco will be missed. In the three months that he has been a part of the team he has made a very big difference. Marco is a very good man. He is smart, hard working, honorable, talented and a pleasure to be around. Since first meeting him I knew that Marco would be very successful at whatever he turns his hand to. Marco has been a director, camera man and presenter for WE. He has single handedly created the WildEarth Behind The Scenes show out of nothing. He has shot the show on his own camcorder, edited it on his own PC. He has worked alone late into the night doing what would normally be done by a team of people. He has done this whilst never neglecting all of his other responsibilities, and never once has complained even when he had every right to (you know what I mean Marco). The show has grown so much since he arrived and I have watched him constantly strive to improve every aspect of what he does. I am very proud that Marco joined us for a little while, and extremely grateful.
I, and the whole WE team, wish him every success with his next adventure and challenge and sincerely hope that he meets with nothing but success.
Marco, there will always be a place for you at WildEarth. And I know, and hope, that you will be back when you have done what you must. May the wind remain always at your back and may the road rise up to meet you ... come back to us ... WE are in your nature ... and your future.
Graham Wallington
(note: It is always difficult to say goodbye to one of the WEcrew. I know that some of you get very attached to crew members and come to think of them as part of your extended family, and that is good. This just makes it that much harder when people move on. WildEarth will always have people moving on, not only because it is very hard work in a remote location, but also because WE are a sort of stepping stone. Young men and woman join us for a while to learn about wildlife filmmaking and themselves. Marco is going to the Kalahari where he will try to make his own wildlife film and make his way in this very difficult industry. I promise that WE will stay in touch with him and when the moment is right, and he and WE are ready, WE will get him back.)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

WE weekly videos

You guys have been really busy this week and as a result I have published five great videos. This is way more than normal but I loved them all. WE have had a busy week although many of the crew have come down with lurgy's. Both Pieter and Rexon have been sick along with Tex but hopefully they are all on the way to recovery. There have been some fantastic elephant sightings with a huge breeding herd and lots of babies on one of the days. This week has also been tarred with the news that Marco is leaving us. WE will all be so sad to see him go, he really has added so much to WildEarth over the past three months and leaves very large boots to fill (although Herman seems to be fitting those quite well). WE wish you the best of luck Marco and would really love to see you back here with the family soon. Marco will be doing a final drive on Friday afternoon (29th August). In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these vids and well done to the creators.
Emily

A Day in the Bush by Marty



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What a wonderful little video. It really gives me a good sense of life in the bush and what you might see in a day. I must admit the Sabi Sands is the best place on earth to see animals and what you see in one day here is amazing. The music gives this video a very light uplifting feel and really makes me want to get in there and spend a day. Well done on the editing as well Marty, all in all I loved it. Thanks.

Leopard - 26/08/08 by Mike



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Although the photography and lighting is pretty dodgy on this clip, Mike has made it very special. The editing of animal skin graphics at the beginning and end and the fantastic use of music has made this clip light up. Mike you are a great editor and obviously very creative. Watching this video gives me a real sense that it is live and exciting and makes me want to carry on watching. Well done and thanks.

Monkeyin' Around by Marty



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Once again Marty you have made a very special video. Nothing beats watching primates to music especially baby ones. They are so unbelievably human like with their behaviour and the babies are so cute when they play. It is true entertainment and something I could watch for hours. Thanks,oh and nicely edited.

Classical Elephants by Sagresta

Great to get a video from you again Sagresta, you have always been so good at putting clips together. I love elephants to classical music, their movements and behaviour fit so perfectly with beautiful dramatic music. Well edited Sagresta and I love the babies, they are pure entertainers on their own. Well done.

Sunrise Sunset by Wile1



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This is beautiful both in picture and music. I love the sound of a saxophone and to stunning African sunrises and sunsets you can't go wrong. I wanted to include this because of its perfect editing but also it makes me feel happy and relaxed. This is definitely one to watch if you are having a bad day - it will improve it. Thanks wile1.

Monday, 25 August 2008

WE-BiTS 25th August 2008


You are probably starting to notice a few changes with the WE-BiTS show. It's coming out more often and it's shorter. Well WE are planning to get three out per week from now on, each with one story rather than the three inserts per show that we used to do. I am very proud of how this show has developed and that is all entirely due to the hard work Marco has put in. This is Marco's second last BiTS before Herman takes over and Marco heads for the desert (more about that in another post).
In this BiTS episode, Marco introduces us to Herman and Peter. We see and hear what they have been up to in their first few days at WildEarth.

WE-BiTS 22nd August 2008


In this the latest WE-BiTS, Marco shows us another aspect of behind the scenes life at WildEarth. This time we meet Beth, an avid WE viewer, as she and her group tour the WildEarth camp with Rex. Later in the day Rexon takes everyone to Dixie where the group donate various items to the school and creche. A BIG thank you to Beth and her group for sharing with those less fortunate.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

WE videos

Well its been an interesting week in which Rexon has excelled in his leopard finding. Its been unbelievable. Virtually every drive has given us a leopard so well done Rex and thanks for all of your hard work. Pieter is now back which is great and he has carried on finding leopards. For the past few days Karula and her cubs have had a nyala up a tree, which has been great entertainment for all of us. So welcome back Pieter and welcome to our new crew members Herman and Pete. I am excited to have fresh blood in the camp and feel that both of these guys are going to be great assets to the team.
Today I have posted a couple of videos from the week but want to thank everyone again for recording and mashing so many of the sightings. It provides such entertainment for people but also allows people to see what they have missed. Above is one of the new video logos for WildEarth that we have just created, I hope you like it.
Emily





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Faces Of Djuma by wile1
I really enjoyed this and think that it is a great idea. Seeing all of our characters, both human and animal from when we began over a year ago is a lovely thing to have. It was good to see some old faces like Nick and Helen and I noticed that even I featured in it. Close up shots of animals are always a winner for me as I am sure that they are for you. To have some good detailed close up shots of our characters that show defining features etc is great, so thanks.




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Night of the Leopard by David Keen
David, you have done it again. Great music but what a wonderful story. I love the way that you have started with the beginning of the evening and shown us what happens during the night as it unfolds.The leopard drinking at the waterhole silhouetted against the moonlight is beautiful and the final shot of the leopard up the tree is a perfect ending for the night. Thanks David, once again you have created a very therapeutic video with a great story.

WElcome Peter Braat

Peter Braat (known as Pete) is an incredibly interesting guy. Born and bred in Holland he speaks five different languages and has travelled the globe extensively. Having lived and worked in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Kuwait and now South Africa he has picked up a vast amount of knowledge. Working as a chemical engineer and general IT man means that WE welcome his technical abilities on the ground and believe that he can really make a difference. Over the years Pete has also played around with cameras extensively and has volunteered for many conservational projects since living here in South Africa. This all culminated in the trusty Wildlife Film Academy course in Cape Town where he realised that wildlife film making and bush living was what he really wanted to do. WE are excited to welcome this quirky and highly intelligent man to WildEarth and feel that WE couldn’t have picked a nicer person to become our latest director.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

WElcome Herman Gerber

Herman is a South African born and bred and like many of our crew frolicked in game reserves as a child with his parents. From a young age he mastered the family handy cam and realised that some how he would end up in the entertainment industry.

After studying to be an actor and travelling with the community theatre he became intrigued by jobs behind the camera as well. The Wildlife Film Academy has set him in good stead for the complexities of what we do here at WildEarth and now we sit back and watch this true entertainer as he settles in. His passion for the bush and experience in film making and telling stories will hopefully shine through and enable this jack of all trades to smoothly slip into the WE team . Welcome Herman, we look forward to seeing your work.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Well the WEwiki team have IDed the new leopard.

 
At first WE thought he was Matimba. Then we compared him to the picture from Andre that we thought was Matimba, but realised that he was not the same. Then some very late night spot recognition work, akin to what the FBI might do, turned up a further confusing fact ... the shot of Matimba by Andre is actually Mbali, Matimba's sister. So that solved that issue, but it got us no closer to solving the mystery of who this leopard was.
It was only when one of the team tracked down a photograph of a leopard that matched him perfectly that the trail warmed up. (WE are trying to get permission to show you this image.) It had been taken at Leopard Hills in the western Sabi Sands, but there was no name attached for the leopard. 
The next break came when images of the same leopard were found in the guest galleries on the Elephant plains site under the name Mfuni. Then more images were found at Outdoor Photo under the name Nfuni. According to some posting on another forum Nfuni is actually Mvula. So while we are confident that we know who he is not and also that he has been seen recently at Elephant plains and before that at Leopard Hills, and we have three names for him, we still want to find out what he was first called and where he came from.
WE would like to thank the WEwiki team, all of the viewers that sent in clues to the wiki@wildearth.tv mail address as well as all of you that have been participating in the discussion in the WE Social Network ... it really is in your nature. 
Well WE will try and get the permission to post some of the images that have been taken of this new male leopard, finalize his name and see if we can't dig up a little about his history and parentage. This story isn't over yet.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Who is this leopard?

This image of a male leopard was taking by Pieter on the 27th July 2008. He wasn't sure who he was, but suspected that he was a new face.
Over the past few days Rex, Marco and Motheo have been seeing this male leopard, who WE all thought was Matimba.
But this morning Aquila pointed out that the leopard Pieter found on the 27th of July and the male WE have been seeing recently are one and the same. And what is more, neither of them are Matimba. Here is shot taken by Andre at Arathusa of Matimba.
Now here are some shots that Aquila snapped on the 16th June 2008 of Matimba on the WE game drive. But was this leopard in fact Matimba? Are we dealing with three leopards?
If you compare the spot patterns in all these images you will clearly see that this 'new' leopard is just not Matimba. So who is he? And who is the leopard identified as Matimba on the 16th June 2008. Well Rex and Marco are trying to find out and as soon as WE know we will let you know. In the meantime why don't you surf the web and see if you can ID this beauty. If you do manage to get an ID on him, please email wiki@wildearth.tv as this mail goes through to the team that are working on building the WEwiki that will hopefully make it much easier to make these IDs in the future.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

WE-BiTS 15 August 2008


Another great WE-Bits (WildEarth Behind The Scenes) from Marco this week. He has been putting so much effort into this show and it really shows (sorry).
This week Marco went with Rexon and Motheo back to Dixie for a festival of dancing. What a spectacle, there really is some serious talent in this little village.
Then Marco takes us on a behind the scenes look as he tries to improve the sound on the Jiga, a never ending source of difficulty.
The last insert is a bit of a cooking lesson. Liesbeth, the WE mom of the camp, teaches us how to make traditional pap and sauce ... mmmm.
Take a look and enjoy.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Weekly videos

This week marks the anniversary of Rexon joining WildEarth. He joined in August 2007 and it has been a fun-filled, entertaining and extremely eventful year with him. Mr Rexon, otherwise known as 'eagle eyes' really does have the knack of finding us big animals. Whether it is one of our favourite leopard characters or a regular ellie herd, his drives are always filled with excitement and suspense. He ended his first year with us by finding WildEarth's first LIVE kill which Marco then filmed and WE broadcast to the world. I am happy for Rexon that he enabled the audience around the world to catch a glimpse of what happens in the bush everyday but is extremely hard to see. Congratulations Rexon on your first year here. WE think you are a wonderful asset to the team and hope that you grow with us for many more years to come. In addition to a wonderful tribute to Rexon, I have chosen two other videos that I felt were truly inspiring and extremely therapeutic. For those of you who have had a hectic week, put your feet up, grab a cup of tea or wine (depending on what time of the day it is for you) and enjoy these beautiful videos.


Rexon's First Year with WildEarth by Pegscan
Thanks for doing this, it is a lovely tribute which I am sure that Rexon will be touched by. You have shown how much fun he has had with all the crew over the last year and how he has been such a good sport when showing us wildlife. From eating dung to wading into a muddy waterhole to look for catfish, he has given us so many entertaining moments.

Painted Africa by Blaze
Wow Blaze, this is truly an inspired bit of filmmaking and artwork. I am blown away by your creativity and can't tell you how much I enjoyed watching it. I am not sure what program you did this on, but it is brilliant. I love the way that real footage turns subtly into art and the other way around. It is truly beautiful.You must have spent a long time making this and for that WE are very grateful. It is a new genre of video which I love. The serene music goes perfectly with the images and the whole thing was very relaxing. Thanks and well done.



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Twilight Moves by David Keen
Well WE can always rely on David to find an utterly beautiful piece of music. Once again you have excelled yourself in this department and it goes nicely with the video made by Blaze, in that it is truly therapeutic. The footage makes this a wonderful African scene. It makes me want to head to the bush right now. Your editing and transitions are beautiful, your video making skills have massively improved in a really short amount of time. Well done and thanks.

WE had a bad day!!

 
Well it was one of those Mondays. WE have known for some time that the starter was going to give up the ghost on the Jiga. You see, starters don't last long at WildEarth ... as those of you that have been watching for a while have begun to notice. The reason for this is the constant stopping and starting that WE do. Anyway the crew kept it going as long as possible. Texan and Eric have had it out a few times but on yesterday afternoon's drive it completely stopped doing it's job. 
Texan went out to fetch Rex and Marco in the Bubaloo, and when he got them safely home, he took out the starter and went home to Dixie. Before dawn this morning he was up and heading for Hoedspruit where he is having it repaired and if all goes well, WE should be back on the road this afternoon for the drive. 
But that wasn't the worst of it. Just before 17h00 CAT (Central African Time) one of our technicians made some major changes to the Origin server in Pretoria that distributes the Flash stream to Holland. It was an unscheduled upgrade that should not have happened when it did, he is very sorry, and it won't happen again. It was really unfortunate that this should happen the day after WE stopped the Windows Media 9 broadcast at One Net Place. It makes it look like Flash is a less reliable system than WM9, which is so not the case. Flash now has more than 90% market share of all video streamed over the Internet and that is no coincidence. WE have had a lot of bad luck with this new system, but I assure you that in the end it is going to give you a whole bunch of functionality that you need and that WE need. It is also going to make a couple of things possible that you didn't know you needed. Please be patient and gentle with us, WE are trying as hard as we can to get this right.
In future if you have any technical issues please please mail them to webmaster@wildearth.tv rather than to the Final Control. The crew in Final Control can't do much to help you, but our tech teams around the world receive the webmaster mail and they can make a difference.
A big apology from the whole WildEarth team for yesterday's mistakes. Soon WE will soar like eagles, and you will be able to say: "I knew them when they knew nothing."

Saturday, 9 August 2008

WE-BiTS 9th August 2008


This week Marco out did himself. Certainly his best WE-BiTS so far. Take a look as Marco shows you how Neville came down from Johannesburg and managed to repair the sound at Gowrie waterhole ... thank you Neville. There is an amusing look at Pieter and Rory swapping out the batteries between the Final Control and the Jiga, with some strange hand thing at the end. But what makes this BiTS special is the journey that Marco and Rexon took to Dixie to show us around the school and the new Shangaan dance venue. Enjoy, I know I did.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

WE weekly videos

I am sure that you all agree that the highlight of this week was WildEarth's first ever LIVE kill. Graham has featured it in the post below this one and I hope that you have all seen it. For me it was a sad and moving event that brought home the raw reality that WE face on a daily basis here in the bush. It was incredible to watch a moment like this LIVE and unscripted and to realise that this really is true nature. Thanks to everyone who recorded it for those who did not manage to see it LIVE.
WE have had a huge amount of wonderful videos made by you this week, I have truly enjoyed watching them. There has been some serious leopard action with Karula and her two cubs and obviously Safari. It was great to catch up with the Mapogo's again and also some lovely ellie footage with our resident elephant man. Marco also made a great behind the scenes show featuring Alex and what he learn't whilst he was here. Just as a quick update, Alex is safely in Cape Town at the moment and will soon be heading to Mozambique. WE wish him well.
Emily Wallington



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A Week At WildEarth by Koloakid
I must admit I do love weekly highlight packages. It is nice to see all the sightings from the week sprinkled with behind the scenes footage from our crew. It brings the week together for me because I don't always get to see all the drives. I loved the music and felt it gave a true African bush feel. The shots of Pieter and the rest of the crew doing their thing also makes it feel so real and the passion they have shines through. Thanks koloakid,I really enjoyed this.

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Ellie -li -cous by Sagresta
What a wonderful little clip, thanks so much Sagresta. Firstly this type of music and small elephants seem to go so well together. It is almost like the elephant is actually hearing the music and performing for us. Baby elephants have so much character and personality, they make the perfect lead role in a film. This,coupled with great editing and transitions made it a perfect video for me. I especially liked the ending where the baby ellie ran across the grass with its tail up like a warthog - wonderful.



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Djuma Baby Faces by Colleen
Well, for those of you who know me this really appeals. For one I love seeing these tiny mini-me's but secondly I am having a baby of my own so I am completely broody. Thanks for this Colleen, it made me very happy. The music was perfect, it sounded like a lullaby and I truly enjoyed the baby elephants and the baby hyenas. What a wonderful choice of videos, thanks.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

WildEarth's first LIVE kill!!


Well, there is not much that I can say.
It was 10 years ago in August 1998 that we began the world's first wildlife broadcast from here at Djuma Game Reserve. I am humbled by the privelage of still being here 10 years on, to broadcast our first LIVE kill. especially as it is Safari, a leopard that I have watched and filmed for a long long time. It is very special to just see this beautiful grandmother, let alone watch her make a kill.
A very big "thank you" to Rexon and Marco for achieving this special moment in our history. You guys are stars.
Thank you Valorie for being so fast off the mark with the video.
Thank you, thank you.
Graham

Monday, 4 August 2008

Change is coming.

On the 10th August 2008 WE will stop broadcasting in the Windows Media 9 format outside of South Africa. That means you will need to watch WildEarth by going to www.wildearth.tv.
WE are all very grateful to One Net Place and in particular Art Bacon, for having provided a distribution platform to so many of our viewers when WE only had capacity for 80 simultaneous viewers all those months ago. I know that I speak for many many people when I say a big WE thank you. Art, you made a lot of people happy ... it's in your nature.
The time has come to move onto the Flash platform as this will allow us to build a very exciting set of services and functions around our LIVE video that would be very difficult or impossible in the Windows Media 9 format. Also, WE have operated without our own website for a long time and it is now quite important that we consolidate our viewers and streams in one place so that we can better control the flow of information, and just be a little more professional. Being spread all over the Internet has been interesting, but WE are growing up now.
I realise that change is difficult and in some ways it's a leap of faith, but like the monkey above, WE will be OK. I think that the vast majority of people have managed to receive the Flash stream with no difficulties, and those that have had problems have almost all needed to download the latest version of Flash and they were fine. If you do have a problem please write to me at webmaster@wildearth.tv, but first please check the video section under 'resources' on the site. If you can't solve the problems yourself please include information on your operating system, Flash version and browser type and version when you write to me.
Those of you that live in South Africa, and buy your Internet connection through Telkom, will still be able to view WildEarth in the Windows Media 9 format at www.do.co.za.
Finally, Zaplive are implementing a significant upgrade of the underlying content management system that wildearth.tv runs on tomorrow. This process will begin at 08h00 CAT (Central African Time) and the site will be down (unavailable) for between an hour and 4 hours.
Please don't panic ... it's not in your nature!
Graham Wallington

Saturday, 2 August 2008

What WE can see.

I want to write you a story. It is easy, because it happened and was real. I was there, many of you were there, and WE shared it, saw it, felt it, LIVE.

It is a simple story. I will tell it in broad brush strokes, and let some images fill in the beautiful details.

It started this morning, the second of August '08. The drive, as WE leave camp, starts with the anticipation of leopard. You, WE, saw them around the pan during the night.Thank you.

A sunrise , beautiful as always , full of mystery and promise for the awakening day. Only, many things always happen during the night . . .

A large herd of impala, young males sparing against the sunrise.

!!! WE spot the white belly of another impala, further away, dead at the base of a marula tree.

I must try to keep these words short, brushstrokes.

The impala's eye reflects the world outside. Death seems peaceful, tranquil here by the marula tree. The bruising around the neck is clear, leopard kill . . . this explains all the activity around the pan during the night.

Must be Karula, her tracks are there, but where is she? We look, we think, we wonder . . . could she have gone to fetch one of the cubs, or is there maybe a male around?

I decide for us to go look around a little, to come back in a bit . .. just now (as we say in South Africa). We see buffalo, elephants and then we head back to the marual tree and the dead impala.

Wow!! There she is, Karula, on her kill. It got better, Tingana, classic leopard on a sunny branch.

Karula still sharing her large kill. The next was too long to tell.

Beautiful light, the careful attention of the cub that is now not the cub anymore, but an independent leopard, spending time with mom, on maybe one of the last carcasses they'll share.

I hope the pictures will say a thousand words each. This afternoon will continue the story . . . and you can be there . . . LIVE. After all ... it is in our nature.

Enjoy the beauty and live the adventure.

Pieter Pretorius

WE - Behind The Scenes - 1 August 2008


Well here is Marco's second stand alone WE - Behind The Scenes (WE-BiTS) show. This week he takes us down to Gowrie pan to explain the problems with the leaking. Why it's happening and what is to be done about it. I know that he plans to give us all a follow up on this important story. He also took Alex out on a drive to find out just how much he has learnt in his 8 months of working at WE.
Sorry that this show is a day late getting out, but we have had a few tech issues to resolve. Those of you that were watching closely would have caught it last night on the WildEarth Facebook group already. next week WE will be on time and the WE-BiTS show will be out at 15h00 CAT (Central African Time) on Friday afternoon.
(Note: WE would love to hear from you. Please tell us what you like and what you don't like about this show. How do you think that we could improve it? What would you like to see covered in the WE-BiTS show in the future? Please comment on this post.)

Leopards ...

When I am on Final Control director duty, I usually start off with a strong cup of coffee ... with this drive (Thursday) been Rexon's first WE afternoon drive since his leave ... I was looking forward to something special. So I buckled up and wished Rexon and Marco good luck for the drive. Twenty minutes into the drive SAFARI the leopard was sighted ... it sure felt good watching from the safety of Final Control ... you see I have a thing for leopards ... in my travels I have seen very few of them ... and here at Djuma they are all over the place ... now that is something to get used to!
After that the afternoon went quiet, with not much excitement in the air ... buffaloes at GOWRIE, impalas all over the place ... I started to think that maybe, just maybe, we have seen the last of the ingwe ... moments later I got the fright of my life when someone informed me that a young leopard was spotted around camp moments ago!
I really did not want to hear that somewhere around camp (where I live) had seen a leopard roaming around. I have been told that young leopards show an interest in anything that moves ... and with me alone in Final Control with my eyes glued to the monitors, I was an easy meal  (a tasty one at that). All of a sudden I look up at one of the monitors and BANG ... a leopard at GOWRIE ... I radioed the guys and in minutes they were at GOWRIE ... filming the leopard in stalking mode.
Listening to Rexon talk about leopards is fascinating to say the least ... all of a sudden the leopard  closed in on a nearby duiker, but the little fella had seen the leopard and sprinted off, leaving the leopard dissapointed. What a lovely time spent in the Final Control ... so the next time you ask me, what is my favourite animal; I will tell you it is a leopard ... INGWE.
words by Motheo Seleke