Toward the end of last year, my family and I visited Taronga Zoo to show my nieces the animals. It was something we promised the girls we’d do, but it was hard to schedule a time when everyone was free.

For this reason, and the fact I see them once a week, I try to film everything so they can watch and relive it whenever they want. Even at their young age, they connect and understand film and movies so well, watching Disney’s Mulan, How to Train Your Dragon and whatever else we put on. Giving them their own movies where they’re the main characters will be priceless as they grow up.

Originally this family video was supposed to document our day at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, but once it got into the editing and I found the perfect song, I felt I had to invest more time into making it something special for my nieces to learn the names of the animals, words and things we said throughout the day.

Technical Notes:

With the filming, I used a Canon 600D w/ Magic Lantern + Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 on a custom Manfrotto 560B-1 Monopod with a 701 Fluid-head. For audio I had a Sennheiser MKE400 shotgun microphone. I was using John Hope’s Lightform Neutral Picture Profile as the picture style.

I experimented with a little bit of motion tracking for the text using one of my favourite typefaces “Trend Handmade”, as I felt it was reminiscent of my drawings back when I went to art lessons. Originally I animated the text to correspond with each animal, but the elephant’s trunk paired with puppet tool looked too phallic and I just bailed on that idea.

I colour graded this with Visual Supply Co’s newest collection of Archetype films “VSCO 05”, which emulates the consumer film which were available back when I was still a kid. Looking through my old photo albums, most of the colour was really vivid but the darks were a little crushed, I used a custom version of “Agfa Vista 400—“ with reduced contrast, I additionally added some Super 35mm grain, since the Lightroom Colour grading VSCO method doesn’t allow for sharpening or grain.


I feel this video is a combination of everything i’ve learnt through the years, from filming, editing, motion graphics, typeface usage and colour grading. There were several workflow roadblocks which at some points lead to very long nights but I really believe it’ll be something my nieces will watch to transport them back to being at the zoo. Minus the intense hot sun, several defacating and urinating animals, crowds and everyone getting tired and hangry.

Ok.. So I maybe put the animals peeing back in cause it was funny. Enjoy!


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