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Producing Video at The Lion Habitat Ranch

Aardvark Video takes on the task of helping a non-profit corporation, The Lion Habitat Ranch, produce a video that’s sure to get both tourists and Las Vegas locals to pay a visit!

The Lion Habitat Ranch should really be called a sanctuary as it provides a safe and comfortable environment for the lions that used to work in the MGM Grand Casino as well as a giraffe, ostriches, emus, and other birds rescued from various other facilities. When the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand shut down several years ago, these lions basically lost their job. The Lion Habitat Ranch is where they used to live and be cared for when not at work. The ranch has been converted to a non-profit tourist attraction to allow them to live out their lives with loving care and to generate the funds necessary for their support.

Many tourists and even Las Vegas locals are unaware that The Lion Habitat Ranch is not very far from the Las Vegas strip. People who do visit are amazed at the loving care and knowledge the staff provides and not to mention being able to observe the family of lions and other animals up close. The facility is capable of not only tours but holding events; everything from weddings to cocktail parties with entertainment.  It relies on visitors and contributions to continue the care of the animals.

ginny_depaso_lion_habitatMy wife Ginny is an animal lover and when we took her there for her birthday she was so impressed with the loving care and dedication of everyone working and volunteering there, she decided that she wanted to help.  She has been doing her best on a volunteer basis to generate publicity and funding. Because of her relentless efforts they’ve appointed her the volunteer Community Outreach Director.

Having a husband who produces video is a big advantage for her and of course she asked me to contribute video to help her cause. She came up with a bunch of subject ideas and for the first video we decided we would feature Ozzie a giraffe at the facility that actually paints on canvas in return for being rewarded with treats. His paintings are sold as well as T-Shirts and other items.

There are three parts to a video project, pre-production planning and scripting, the actual video shoot and the editing.

To start the process I asked her to outline some ideas of what she wanted to say and show. She came up with 4 pages. Like most people, she wanted to have something that looks good in print but doesn’t necessarily convert to a video script, which needs to be concise and motivating with planned visuals to support the narrative. I cut her 4 pages to 1 ½ .

Based on the script we had originally planned on having Ginny on camera as well as the owner, Keith Evans near the area where Ozzie lives.  However on the day of the shoot it was 108 degrees with a wind around 20 mph; not very conducive for a shoot with on-camera talent outside.

We had my crew onsite and had to come up with an alternate plan. We did a tour of everything out of the elements.  This included a covered veranda used for events and all the other buildings. We decided to set up a temporary set in one of their buildings used for bathing the lions.

For this we had DC powered LED panels, which with the available lighting there provided more than enough light. To provide an interesting pertinent background we used a table and decorated it with paintings Ozzie had created.

We did all the on-camera talent in that building while producing the B roll of Ozzie painting, people enjoying the facilities and video of the lions and other animals mostly roaming the sanctuary with a gimbal mounted 4k camera.

It took us 3 hours to shoot.

Keith is a very tall man and Ginny not so much. In the shots where they were together we had her stand on a bucket and hoped she didn’t fall off.

In the editing process we spent a considerable amount of time picking music that reflected the ambience of what we wanted to accomplish and about 8 hours to edit the piece.

The finished video has been used extensively to acquaint viewers with the Lion Habitat Ranch, generate visits and contributions.

At this point Ginny has been in contact with many people and organizations to generate support, we’ve had a new website built which is almost ready for release and developed a schedule of weekly meetings to continue moving forward.

My wife’s latest project is to continue generating interest and developing a board including a PR firm and legal assistance to continue the process of growth and support. Anyone interested in helping should email Ginny DePaso at ginnydp@cox.net

1 Comment
  1. Nice job. Pretty model too. A little surprising seeing people feed the lion and giraffe. Thought that was a no no.

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