11 years ago43.2K views
Walking With Lions is more than just another wildlife documentary about lions. Husband and wife team Phil and Lynne Richardson lived amongst lions, elephants, and baboons in the African bush of northern Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley.
Using video technologies—like miniature infrared cameras and lenses for nighttime vision—helped them capture natural behavior without interfering with the wildlife. Living With Lions, a profile of the Richardsons' experience in the African bush.
What's unique about these films, particularly with lions, is that the filming is done out of the vehicles. It's done by foot, and lions are very dangerous animals. The Richardsons decided to film the wildlife on foot because this particular spring was surrounded by a gorge and impossible to reach by vehicle. This spring was the only source of water for miles around, and one pride of lions had made this their home, an ambush site for wildlife that come to the spring to drink.
In order to capture natural behavior, you don't want to disrupt the wildlife. By using standard lights at night, Lynne and Phil Richardson felt that they were not seeing the animals behave naturally, So they decided to use infrared lights and infrared cameras. They had to walk to the camera locations and position themselves behind a blind, with only a flap of canvas separating them from the wildlife.
When you use infrared cameras and lights, it's pitch black. The only image you do see is on the camera monitor. You hear sounds of animals all around you, but you can't see them. It can be extremely dangerous, especially since lions can see very clearly at night. So they can see you, but you can't see them.
Lynne and Phil spent four seasons in the field filming. It took time to habituate the lions, to a certain degree. You can never really habituate a wild animal. But the animals tolerated their presence enough to allow them to film. As long as you do not go beyond the lions safety zone