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Summer Movie Competition (c) Ben Cherry
11 Aug 2017

Summer Movie Competition – Top Tips!

We’re really excited to see people getting involved in our Summer Movie Competition. If you haven’t heard, all summer long we’re asking you to create a film – super simple or extravagant as you like – about being a Dusty’s Wildlife Ranger or getting up-close to the wildlife of Slimbridge. The prize? £250 worth of WWT vouchers and a year’s family membership!

All you need to do is share your movie on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), tagging @WWTSlimbridge and including the hashtag #LoveSlimbridge. Something along the lines of this…

“Here’s my entry for @WWTSlimbridge Summer Movie Competition. Hope I win! #LoveSlimbridge”

To give you a helping hand with putting together your movie we’ve spoken to Sam, our movie-maker extraordinaire and creator of WildWatch. He’s given us his top 10 tips on making your movie awesome.

  1. Always film in landscape – it’s just plain good practice. It makes things easier to see visually because of the way our eyes work.
  2. Make the most of what you have – you can film with just about any device these days so you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing professional camera to make a masterpiece. Try your smart phone, compact camera, bridge, DSLR, iPad – whatever you have to hand.
  3. Play with space and time – free apps and editing programmes are super-clever now. They’ll allow you to speed up hours of lovely Severn Estuary time-lapse footage into seconds, slow down a faster-than-the-speed-of-light shake of a duck’s tail or put an acrobatic otter on loop. Our favourite apps and programmes include Boomerang, iMovie and Windows Movie Maker.
  4. Experiment with sun position – Filming with the sun behind you lights your subject perfectly but get shooting with the sun in the background right and you’ll get dreamy silhouettes – play around with the sun in front or behind you. The time of day and weather will also affect how your subject looks so don’t be afraid to experiment.
  5. Think about size – When you upload a video to Facebook or Twitter, the platform will resize your movie for you so you don’t need to worry about this – unless you want to! If we’re getting technical, the resolution of your film should be 1280x720p or 1920x1280p and 25 frames per second (HD). Any bigger and you risk obliterating people’s data allowance in one fell swoop or the computer saying “no”.
  6. Make the hills come alive – don’t forget that sound can MAKE a movie. Be sure to capture quacks, coos and splashes to give your film atmosphere. If you’re feeling brave, experiment with recording sound separately and overlaying afterwards. Look for copyright free music – if you have a Youtube account, try the ‘create’ section or check your editing software, some have free music.
  7. Put things into perspective – Filming from above is fine but to get a birds-eye view you have to get down on the ground! Be on a level with your subject to truly get to grips with it. Putting your camera on your arm whilst hand feeding can get you some brilliant close-ups.
  8. Keep your film in focus – create a rounded story people care about by focusing on a specific habitat or species, rather than trying to fit too much in. For example, start your movie with you arriving at the centre.
  9. Extra marks for good behaviour – ducks sitting pretty is nice but capturing on film how they feed, fight and communicate offers an insight into a wider wilder world.
  10. Remember A.C.E. – Action. Colour. Energy. Capture the Dusty’s Wildlife Ranger action on camera and make it as big and bold as you can. Pump up the energy by getting friends and family involved – ask what made their day brilliant. Vox pops rock!


We hope our hints and tips have inspired you to get out there and film your super-cool Slimbridge movie. Find out more on our Summer Movie Competition page… http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/whats-on/2017/07/22/summer-movie-competition/