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There's a scene about six minutes into the "Living Edens: Ngorongoro" when wildebeest exchange glances with a nearby cheetah. It's an intense series of moments, with the cheetah finally deciding that grown wildebeest are too difficult to overcome. It's also a completely fabricated scene. Not that it didn't happen, but the way we see the scene on television is the result of expert editing. The filmmakers had to shoot hundreds of feet of film just to get the wildebeest looking in the direction of the cheetah, and vice versa.

What kind of work is required to produce a completed one-hour episode of the "Living Edens?" Thanks to Ngorongoro producer Adrian Warren, you can find out. The Ngorongoro team took three trips to the region, keeping a journal of their days. What follows is a day-by-day diary of their third trip.

Trip Three (February 9 - April 11, 1999)

The Living Edens: Ngorongoro Team

Producer/Camera Person: Adrian Warren
Production Manager: Dae Sasitorn
Field Assistant: Rebecca Cecil-Wright
Coordinator: Jean Hartley



Introduction

The filming has been superb; extremely productive and full of opportunities. The start of the trip was timed, by calculation of the wildebeest gestation period, to coincide with the calving, which is concentrated into a period of approximately two weeks. Our calculations worked, and the first births had just begun when we arrived. The weather in February was still quite dry in the Crater, but it became progressively wetter and, by the end of March, the weather had turned against us with the onset of heavy rains, causing frequent very dull days and difficulties in moving around as the Crater became flooded. Aerial filming was a real struggle, but successful in the end after 11 days of trying. We had to bring in the aircraft later rather than sooner since there was so much action going on in the first few weeks, I was unable to abandon ground operations at that time.

To summarize, a total of 34,230 feet of film was shot on this trip (camera rolls AW 88 - AW 175). A total of 21 hours and 25 minutes were flown. Key subjects filmed were wildebeest births and young calves; lion kills and cubs; cheetah kills; serval mother and surviving kitten (now independent); golden jackals family story and predation of flamingos; aerials of Ngorongoro Crater to show change of seasons; short scenes on Serengeti; Thomson's gazelle mother with young fawn; hyenas; elephants; black rhinoceros; vervet monkeys; scenics; and time lapses.


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