Frequently Asked Questions

What will I get out of the program?

The course is aimed at assisting in the development of aspiring wildlife film makers. Students on the course will spend a month designing, writing, filming and editing their own five minute wildlife documentary situated on one of Africa’s most beautiful and well stocked game reserves. At the end of the course, students will present their film to students and staff of Africa Media and walk away with a showpiece that can be used to break into the demanding wildlife film making industry.

What practical training will I receive? 

Film techniques, camera operation, understanding wildlife, equipment maintenance, crew management, footage workflow, working with talent (including animals), video editing, voice over/sound track, pitching your film

What theoretical training will I receive?

Course introduction, orientation, inspiration and story, what is selling today, film equipment, script writing, wildlife presenting, marketing you/your films, ethics in wildlife film-making, funding your films, the art of pitching.

What does the program cost?

2,800 USD per month. In addition, applicants will be responsible to cover any additional bank charges (circa 1% surcharge) or paypal (circa 4%). This fee covers the following:

  • Dorm style accommodation
  • Meals for the month
  • Local transport
  • Entry and access to filming platforms (including Schotia Reserve)
  • All tuition and experiential learning
  • Use of programs equipment and facilities
  • Internet

The fee excludes the following:

  • International transport to and from George airport
  • Medial and travel insurance
  • Weekend excursions
  • Laundry

What do the fee include and exclude?

What does the course fee include? 

Accommodation, 3 meals per day, expert tuition, 2 training field expeditions,  10 days filming and living on Schotia Game Reserve, use of broadcast quality HD video cameras (Panasonic P2), use of professional audio gear, use of mac edit & production computer (Premier CS.6), travel to/from George Airport.

What does the course fee exclude?

Internet, additional short courses, laundry service, tourism excursions, extra food and beverages, international and domestic flights

Can I cancel or change the dates of the program I am accepted onto?

Due to the number of applications received and limited places, we unfortunately do not accept all applying students. Therefore, we do not welcome cancellations or date changes after the final confirmation has been sent to us. Please, make sure that the dates you indicate in your application form suit your own schedule/budget before applying.

We request that a non-refundable USD 750 deposit is paid within a 14 days of being accepted into the program as confirmation. The remaining fee must be paid in full 30 days prior to arrival in South Africa.

Am I eligible?

No special requirements or qualifications are required, however a background in film or biology will be of assistance

What is the daily work?

The course is divided into three components, namely: Pre-production (6 days), Production (10 days) and Post production (5 days).

  • During Pre-production, students will learn the concepts of making wildlife documentaries and also the basics in camera use and filming techniques.
  • During production, students will stay on Schotia reserve and spend the days collecting footage for your documentary.
  • During post production, students will edit your footage into a 5 minute documentary and learn about pitching and selling yourself and films.

For how long is the course?

The course is for 1 month in total and begins on the 1st of each operational month.

What months is the course?

At present we run six programs each year, starting from 1st of May with the last program finishing at the end of October.

  • 1 – 31 May
  • 1 – 30 June
  • 1 – 30 July
  • 1 – 31 August
  • 1 – 30 September
  • 1 – 31 October

Do I need to bring my own video equipment or gear?

All video equipment is supplied as part of the course. If you want to bring your own equipment, particularly if you are interested on shooting with DSLR cameras, you are more than welcome.

In terms of post production – we prefer you bring your own laptop to edit on. This should have at least 4gb RAM and be pre-loaded with a version of Adobe premier. We do have a limited (three) number of editing computers available if you do not have your own personal editing computer.

What equipment do students have access to?

Video Cameras available:

  • 6 x Panasonic HVX-200P series P2
  • 7 x GoPro cameras (effects camera)
  • 1 x Phantom 4 drone

Audio Equipment available:

  • 6 x RODE shotgun mics (camera or boom mounted)
  • 3 x Sennheiser and sony lavallière radio mic systems
  • 1 x Tascam digital audio recorder
  • 1 x Rode DSLR mounted shotgun mic
  • 1 x Soundproof audio recording suite

Accessories available:

  • 6 x video camera tripods
  • 6 x video ‘throw bags’
  • 1 x video camera crane
  • 3 x reflectors
  • 1 x radio control ‘cub cam’ filming vehicle

Computers: Please bring your own laptop if you have one. It must be pre-loaded with Adobe Premiere Pro CC2015  or CS6 as we use this extensively on the course. We do have three computers to use if it is impossible for you to bring your own computer.

Where do I stay?

Your home for 20 days of the course will be in the beautiful town of Mossel Bay, South Africa. For 10 days you will be staying on the Schotia Game Park living in the wilderness and collecting content for your production.

Where must students fly to?

Travel arrangements must be made from your home town to George Airport, South Africa. We will pick you up and drop you off from George Airport.

What are the arrival dates and pickup arrangements?

Pickups and drop offs from George Airport will be organised for the 1st day of the month. Students arriving or leaving outside this time will be required to arrange transport between the airport at their own cost.

Do I require a VISA?

No. You will not be employed by Africa Media nor paid. On this course you are entitled to enter on a temporary visitors permit (e.g. tourism permit). Tourist visiting visas are usually issued for three months/90 days upon entry in South Africa. However, we do recommend that you contact the South African Embassy or Consulate in your country and confirm this fact.  If your application period is for a period longer than three months, or if you plan to travel in South Africa prior or after the course for a period extending 90 days, you will have to apply for a Volunteer VISA application through your home embassy.

Who owns the media I collect

All media (video and audio) collected by you will belong to you. However, the following licencing conditions on collected materials is required:

  • Africa Media retains total right to use the media for any non-exclusive purpose whatsoever free of charge and without requiring permission or paying compensation to the student (this includes the sale of footage). This further means that the student may only license any collected footage for non-exclusive rights to a third party.
  • Africa Media will be recognised as the ‘executive producer’ on your finished documentary.

Do students need insurance?

Yes. When you are accepted into this program, you will have to sign liability, copyright documents, as well an agreement that you are knowingly partaking in potentially dangerous activities. You will not be covered for accidents or illnesses, so please do organize your own medical and health insurances. You may apply for a normal travel insurance policy. Chances that you will be injured by a predator are very slim if you follow the safety guidelines, and do not try anything foolish of which we would not approve. However, you will be filming on a wildlife reserve which can result in accidents. So it is important to be covered in case of an emergency or accident. Be sure to have an insurance cover for your entire stay in southern Africa.

Do I need malaria medication?

No, we are far from Malaria areas, and there are no strange African diseases which you could pick up (that is if you respect the same safety rules as anywhere else in the world).

What clothing do I need to bring?

For the field work in the reserve, some tough jeans or khaki pants, tough and warm tops (neutral colors)  and outdoor shoes/boots are required. Good waterproof clothing; factor 30+ sun block and a wide brim hat; sunglasses. You may bring toiletries, or buy them when you get here.

How much extra money should I bring or have available for extra’s and weekend excursions?

Our partner Oceans Discovery runs weekend trips for students and interns. We recommend you have around USD300 extra per weekend trip you wish to go on these. Please note you do not have to go on ANY of these extra trips. This is simply for your information should you wish to.