Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio

Filming with Animals - Top Tips & Techniques

May 17, 2024 by Naz Foroodian

When filming with animals on a studio or film set, it's crucial to adhere to specific procedures and safety protocols:

filming with animals

Filming with Animals: Tips & Tricks

Here are out top tips, tricks and things to consider when working with animals:

•.  Utilise trained animals for your shoot, avoiding using neighbour's pets
•.  Trained animals accustomed to green screen and studio environments are recommended, as they have experience with large crowds and production settings.
•.  Employ highly experienced animal handlers and trainers who are familiar with film production techniques. Provide them with detailed production information beforehand, including camera positions, timing, location details, and any complex actions expected from the animals.
•.  Seek input and suggestions from handlers and trainers, as their expertise can streamline any logistical challenges, save time, and ensure animal safety.
•.  Make sure that all cast, crew, and clients are aware that animals will be present on set, and provide descriptions of the planned actions involving the animals.
•.  If feasible for your shot, use trained personnel as extras or doubles to handle animals on screen. Alternatively, green screen suits can be utilised for trainers, ensuring they do not obstruct the animal's view from the camera.
•.  Conduct thorough rehearsals with animals, involving a trainer, director, and the animal itself. This familiarity between the director and the animal facilitates a smoother shoot day.
•.   Consider the welfare of the animal and assess exactly how reasonable the tasks assigned are.
•.   Limit non-essential crew presence during animal shots, including make-up artists, additional cast, and extras, to avoid unnecessary distractions.
•.   Avoid petting or interacting with animals unless necessary, as it may affect the animal's behaviour and disrupt your trainer's instructions.
•.   Note that when using smoke effects, opt for CO2 hazers instead of water or oil-based smoke machines to prevent harm to the animals.

Once you've mastered green screen filming with animals, you'll unlock a world of incredible possibilities.

They can effectively showcase a product or service, bringing your project to life in unexpected ways. The spontaneity and unpredictability of animal behavior often yield happy accidents and unexpected moments that enhance the final piece.

However, it's crucial to remember that failing to follow these basic rules can turn this experience into a nightmare.

FAQ: What Should I Know Before Filming with Animals?

Never work with animals, right? At least, that's what WC Fields advised (although he really meant that they will inevitably upstage you!)

Filming with animals isn't really a problem if you follow some basic rules summarised below. And that cute fluffy kitten, majestic giraffe, docile sheep or imposing lion can really add colour to any shoot and bring your film to life.

Remember, when filming with animals make sure you:

1.  Always use trained animals
2.  Preferably, hire animals that have some studio experience
3.  Hire experienced animal trainers whi know what they are doing and their way around a shoot
4.  And make full use of those handlers - they are usually brimming with great advice
5.  Let everyone else know there will be animals around
6.  Think about using those trainers as extras etc. And limit who is on set when your are filming your animals
7.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
8.  Make sure your animals health and safety is paramount
9.  It may be tempting to stroke that cute puppy, but try not to
10.  Be careful what physical effects you use so your animals are not spooked

Always, always prioritise the safety and well-being of the animal over rushing to complete the job.

Filming with Animals at Broadley Studio

Broadley's raison d'etre is to make sure your production - however large or small, simple or complex - be the best it possibly can be. With our track record and 25+ years of experience, we've encountered pretty much every production issue and challenge you can think of, so working with animals is something we have done many times before and we can help make your animal shoot go smoothly.

To get a flavour of what we can do for you and your shoot, check out our latest showcase, case studies and studio specs. Or take a virtual tour of our studios.

To find out more about our studios and production services, our experience of filming with animals, and how we can help you and your shoot, please call us on +442077255858 or email us at [email protected].

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