In the Company of Wolves


Everyone has a defining moment that somehow ends up shaping their future. For me it was filming a wolf pack in Northern Minnesota.
I had recently made the switch to shooting HD video and this would be my first big adventure with my new camera.

My trip would be around Valentines Day and my camera arrived on the 7th of February. Not a lot of time to learns all the ins and outs.

So I fired off an email to a Panasonic guru asking for his advice. He gave me some pointers and wished me luck. As it happened, I came back with some incredible footage. I edited the footage quickly into a short film I called “In the Company of Wolves.” I showed my friends and family and that’s about as far as it went until the Panasonic guru sent me an email asking how the trip went.

So, I showed him some of the footage and that’s when things went a little crazy. He told me I had to put this footage out there and if I didn’t then he would.

It seems that I was one of the first ones to get this new Panasonic camera and people were clamoring to see footage from it. I had decided to order the camera before Panasonic even released any of the specs on it which was probably why I had one of the first ones.

Well, the footage because a wild success. If you mention the Panasonic HVX-200 people would say “Did you see the wolf footage?” Yeah, it was that nuts.

About the time things started to calm down I got another email from the Panasonic guru telling me he showed the footage to the number two guy of Panasonic North America. He couldn’t believe it wasn’t shot with a much more expensive camera.

Well, talks went back and forth and the next thing you know, I was being sent over to film in Africa with a brand new camera from Panasonic to shoot some test footage. It was a beta camera so unfortunately it had some issues that effected the final footage.

I’ve tested other camera for Panasonic, the footage shows up at NAB in Las Vegas but it was that first footage of the wolves that really started it all.

But the footage isn’t something I really show very much. Sadly one of the wolves a female, less than a year old was shot and killed during the time I was filming the pack. I imagine most if not all of the wolves are probably dead by now. So it’s sad that something that changed my destiny turned out so so badly for the wolves.

But I can’t forget how incredible the feeling was being in the presence of these remarkable creatures.

I do have to warn you that there is some pretty graphic footage in some of these scenes. So if you’re a bit squeamish you may not want to watch this film.


About the Author:

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD cameras for Panasonic. His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel as well as in commercials for such corporate giants as AT&T.


  1. Rlmosk100 March 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Really enjoyed the video. You seemed to have had great access to the wolves to get so close. Nearly all the footage seemed to be in slight slow motion. Is this common for shooting wildlife video? I think I’ve noticed this effect on wildlife movies as well.

    • Kevin J Railsback March 26, 2011 at 1:15 am - Reply

      Pretty much all the footage is shot at sixty frames per second. When played back at 24 frames per second it slows everything down two and a half times the normal speed.

      It’s such a common thing in wildlife filmmaking that there’s starting to be some backlash from it even by the filmmakers themselves.

      I love it because it gives the viewer an opportunity to really observe nature. If you watch my Yellowstone film you’ll see most of that film is in slow motion as well.

      To me there’s something magical about watching a geyser erupt or water falling three hundred and eight feet into a canyon and really be able to see al the details as that happens.

      As of lately I have been shooting more and more ant “normal” speed. But I think slow-motion will always be one of my favorite styles.

      I’ll be putting up a video tutorial in the near future covering slow-motion versus real-time.
      I’ll shoot several subjects in both modes and see which you like best.

      Thanks for taking the time to watch the film. I hope you enjoyed it!

Leave A Comment

CommentLuv badge
Filmmaking Naturally uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 5 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)