Mike Linley has been at the cutting edge of wildlife programme making for more than three decades and is currently at the helm of his own independent wildlife production company, Hairy Frog productions. Throughout his career Linley has filmed, written and produced hundreds of wildlife programmes and since he formed Hairy Frog he has worked on a multitude of productions for companies such as Granada, National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet.
In addition to creating award winning programmes, Linley shares his vast knowledge and experience of filmmaking as a camera and production tutor teaching wildlife film courses at the specialist educational company Wildeye. This is an institution that provides independent education and information for both amateur and professional wildlife and conservation filmmakers.
The art of filmmaking is taught to students through a range of short courses whether it is learning the specifics of being a wildlife camera operator for wildlife filming, to production for natural history documentaries. Like any artists’ tools, the cameras and camera support equipment have been specially selected to provide the best possible creative performance.
One of the products in frequent use on both Linley’s wildlife productions and to demonstrate filming on the courses he runs is Vinten’s renowned Vision blue pan and tilt head and tripod system.
Linley says: “We use a full spectrum of cameras and tripods on our courses to show students the range of products available on the market. From the cheapest, basic products through to the higher end equipment such as the Vision blue. Its performance has gone down very well with the students and the quality certainly stands out.
“We find the Vision blue really good value for money. One piece of advice that we give to students on the course is not to just concentrate on buying expensive cameras. You can have the best camera in the world but the filming results will still be poor if you put it on a cheap tripod. Students need to budget for support equipment that matches the high performance of their cameras.”
When filming his own productions, Linley often uses a Panasonic AF101 camera and selects the Vision blue to support it.
The award winning Vision blue was designed by Vinten to provide professional support for the extremely high performance of the latest lightweight camcorders and DSLRs accessorised for video. It has since been used by filmmakers around the world to balance the smaller, lightly accessorised cameras that are so common in today’s industry.
Operators like Mike Linley are able to use the smallest professional cameras and work without creative compromise to produce the highest quality images. Linley will be using the Vision blue on his next project, filming hot air balloons in Norwich to mark the launch of a new charity.