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Earthflight (BBC Trailer)

21 November 2013


Earthflight Blog Picture1

  “Take a breathtaking flight on the wings of birds across six continents and experience the greatest natural spectacles from a bird’s-eye view.”



The blockbuster film “Gravity”  took us as close as we will ever get to the weightlessness of space. Director Alfonso Cuaron reveals the film took 4 years of hard work. This involved inventing new filmmaking technology to bring to space to the theaters. BBC One’s Earthflight series is no different.

From Kenya’s  Lake Bogoria to the Arctic to the Grand Canyons, Earthflight takes you to 40 different countries capturing the incredible point of view of a 100 bird species. To get shots of wild vultures in South Africa, the filmmakers employed techniques reminiscent to that of our own Green Renaissance team in the renowned film “Flying with Vultures.”

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BBC One’s Earthflight series documents a journey most of us have only ever dreamed of.

Click here for more information on Earthflight.

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19 November 2013

SURFWISE follows the odyssey of 85-year-old, legendary surfer Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children—all of whom were home-schooled on the beaches of Southern California, Hawaii, Mexico and Israel; they surfed every day of their lives, and were forced to adhere to a strict diet and lifestyle by their passionate and demanding, health-conscious father.

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The Holstee Manifesto – Live Life Intentionally

6 November 2013

If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.

The Holstee Manifesto inspires us to live our lives with intent, focus and presence. Not only is this disposition extremely beneficial to yourself, but it extends to your community, humanity and to future generations.

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Jack and his Cabin

4 November 2013

Jack is 93 and lives alone in a cabin in the woods and makes violin bows. He bought the land  and now lives off it. It’s not that he doesn’t like people, he just doesn’t like swarms of it.

Jack has found happiness in solitude.

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Urban Tree to Wood Bike

20 August 2013

Bill Holloway and Mauro Hernandez of Masterworks Woodworking in San Jose, CA, salvage condemned city trees, then build beautiful bicycles out of them – so from “urban tree to wood bike”. The story of these bikes goes from the felling of a family’s guardian tree, through the woodworking process, and finally, the completion of art you can ride.


RELATED: Wood & Design by Green Renaissance

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Madiba – In His Words

7 August 2013

Madiba has inspired a nation. Using steel wire scrubbing brushes, and cut out stencils, we reverse graffiti’ed some of our favourite Madiba quotes along the side of the N2 highway, near the Cape Town Airport. May his words continue to inspire us all.

Tip/Trick — To make the quotes pop visually, we chose to shoot in black and white. This made it easier to read as the contrast helps to focus on the words.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 35mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

Thanks to Damien du Toit and Kerri Muller for their help to produce the stencils.


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Duct Tape Surfing

26 June 2013

Pascale’s crushed dreams of surfing gets realized, thanks to a family friend and a roll of duct tape. Heartwarming.

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Mushroom Foraging

19 June 2013

As the first winter rain falls, it is time go Mushroom Foraging. Green Renaissance spent a morning with Gary, the Mushroom Guru, learning about difference mushrooms types, the best way to pick mushrooms, and were even lucky enough to find some of our favourite… Porcinis. Head out and explore the forests. You will be amazed at what you’ll find!

If you find the Shiitaki Mushroom you’ve stumbled onto a gold mine of health –  click here to check it out!


Filming in a forest is often tricky — the range of low light caused by the shadows of trees, and the high light due to suns rays filtering through the canopy makes it difficult to find the right balance. Try to find a location within the forest to film, where there is sufficient light, but not too much that it overpowers the image. This will help you to capture an image with a beautiful mid-range of light.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 35mm, Nikkor 50mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

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Freedom in Design

11 May 2013

Freedom in Design is another short film forming part of the Green Renaissance series about designers, who make use of old ‘junk’ to create something beautiful. Natasha Wood is a designer who uses scrap pieces of pottery and various elements from nature such as seed pods and wood, to create beautiful jewellery pieces.

Tip/Trick – When filming, try to capture as many sound bites related to the activities going on around you. Making use of some simple sound design really adds to the feeling of a film.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 85mm, Nikkor 50mm, Nikkor 35mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

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Wood & Design

5 May 2013

Wood And Design is the latest in the Green Renaissance series about designers, who create art pieces out of old, unwanted objects. Dagmar is an artist who uses scrap pieces of wood, from a furniture manufacturing factory, to create beautiful wooden pieces.

Tip/Trick – When filming, don’t compromise on your location. If you feel that a particular location is best suited to your character, but it is difficult to film due to noise and dust (as in this clip), arrange to film over weekends when it is quieter, to get around these complications. In documentary film making, authenticity is one of the most important elements – so always portray your character in the most authentic light possible.

Contact Dagmar –

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 85mm, Nikkor 35mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

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Go Gather – Chestnuts

30 April 2013

As Autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere, it is easy to find chestnuts strewn along the side of the road. This reminds those of us, who are foragers, to get out there and hunt for food across our city. The Green Renaissance team spent two hours before work one morning, demonstrating how easy it is to gather and prepare some tasty chestnuts. Go out and try it yourself.

Tip/Trick – Be spontaneous. We decided to film this clip, half an hour before heading out – the weather was great and the chestnuts had just started to ripen. It isn’t always necessary to overthink and plan each shoot – the real magic sometimes happens in these unexpected moments.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 35mm, Nikkor 50mm, Nikkor 70-200mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

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1 April 2013

While on a recent film trip to Namaqualand for Conservation South Africa, we were introduced to some of the charismatic locals who live in this beautiful part of the world. During a lunch break on one of our filming days, we asked some of them why they thought Namaqualand was such a special place. This is their story…

Tip/Trick – Instead of a classic locked-off portrait style interview, you can use movement to create a more dynamic feel. We used a 2m track with a home-made skateboard dolly to create this effect.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses: Nikkor 85mm, Nikkor 35mm
Memory Card: Lexar Professional

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Urban Beekeeping

27 March 2013

It is counter intuitive to think that honey from hives in our cities is often cleaner than from hives situated around agricultural lands, but this is often the case as urban honey does not contain pesticides. We spent a morning with a passionate urban bee keeping couple, who shared their experiences with us, and inspired us to get involved in urban bee keeping.

Tip/Trick – When filming with wild animals, such as bees in this case, it is important to keep calm – move slowly, talk quietly. Also, you don’t often get an opportunity for a second take, so keep the camera rolling continuously so that you don’t miss a critical moment. You can edit the best shots in post. Also, as lens changing is difficult, opt for the most practical lens – in this case we chose to go with the 35mm.

Camera Used: Nikon D800 DSLR
Lenses:, Nikkor 35mm, Nikkor 50mm, Nikkor 105mm macro
Memory Card: Lexar Professional


The Mushroom Guy

19 March 2013

We have always collected mushrooms from forests, but we have never tried growing them ourselves. At the recent Be Inspired talk held in Cape Town, Gary ‘The Mushroom Guy’ explained how easy it is to grow your own Shiitake mushrooms at home, and more surprisingly, told us about how eating these mushrooms has had a positive impact on his health.


Eco Swimming Pool

15 March 2013

There is no better feeling than swimming in a pure, clean mountain stream. We recently learnt that you can create a similar experience at home in your own garden – convert your chlorine or salt water pool into an eco pool.

By circulating the water through an ecosystem of plants, it is kept sparklingly clean – you don’t need any chemicals to maintain it. The end result is a vibrant, flourishing ecosystem that invites butterflies, dragonflies and even frogs and birds back into your garden. Bring nature back to your pool!


The Travelling Piano Tuner

13 March 2013

Richard is the fascinating story of a travelling piano tuner who chooses to live outdoors. Shot in London, the film takes an alternative look at someone who treats the entire city as a home.

We all live in a world of excess – we have things we don’t need. We buy things we do not need. To realise that you can go without something, and to actually go without it is deeply liberating.

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Hanging Plants

5 March 2013

Background: People are keen to learn how to do things themselves, and Green Renaissance wants to help inspire people to do this. As a result, we decided to produce a series of short DIY clips – here is the latest in this series. We love the idea of ‘hanging plants’ – taking an ordinary pot plant and suspending it from a ceiling or high beam using string. We found Marissa from Opus Studios – , who makes beautiful hanging plants in Cape Town. We spend two hours filming with her, getting a better idea of what goes into making these works of art.

Camera Used:Nikon D800 DSLR

– Nikkor 50mm
-Nikkor 35mm

Memory Card: Lexar Professional

To buy any of these beautiful hanging plants go to –

Tip/Trick: Often when working on a pro-bono project, it is difficult to film with characters during typical office hours. As Marissa was very busy, we convinced her to film with us after hours, from 5pm and 7pm. We made use of mostly natural light, and positioned the filming near big open windows to maximise this. Get creative – you don’t need to bring a long list of props with you. We used what was available to us in Marissas studio – improvise.

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Save the Sharks, Save the Ocean, Save Humanity

4 March 2013

Human life is not possible without the ocean. The ocean is dying.

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Bicycled – A bike made out of cars

26 February 2013

Cars are convenient but their overall impact is taxing to the earth and all living organisms. But recycling and ‘down-cycling’ old car parts into the most efficient, ecological and healthy means of transportation is a step up.


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GoPro Behind the Scenes with Green Renaissance Filming for WWF

23 February 2013

On a recent job for WWF, the Green Renaissance team were asked to capture the moving of Black Rhinos for the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. GoPro kindly loaned the Green Renaissance team a few sets of cameras for this project and this allowed us to get some unique footage.

Ordinarily the Green Renaissance team films on Nikon DSLR cameras, but when necessary we use GoPros to get images we ordinarily could not get.
Thank you GoPro and Nikon for your support.

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