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Filming wildlife for Channel 4: Escape to the Chateau


Blog post from documentary and wildlife Director of Photography Simon Vacher about filming wildlife for Channel 4: Escape to the Chateau
Blog post from documentary and wildlife Director of Photography Simon Vacher about filming wildlife for Channel 4: Escape to the Chateau

Why have you been filming at Château de la Motte-Husson?

As a wildlife videographer, I had the amazing opportunity to work for the production company of Escape to the Chateau. My task was to regularly capture footage of the wildlife around the beautiful Chateau grounds. This footage would then be used to transition between scenes in the television show, or to set a particular mood at the beginning of an episode.


While I was responsible for filming the wildlife, I did not work directly with Dick and Angel, the stars of the show. Instead, that was the job of the embedded Producers/Directors who spent the season on location and followed the storylines for the show.


It was an incredible experience to be a part of such a unique and captivating show, and to capture the beauty of the natural world around the Chateau. I loved every moment of it, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to the success of the show.


Blog post from documentary and wildlife Director of Photography Simon Vacher about filming wildlife for Channel 4: Escape to the Chateau
Blog post from documentary and wildlife Director of Photography Simon Vacher about filming wildlife for Channel 4: Escape to the Chateau

What wildlife have you seen?

As a naturalist and wildlife videographer, I can confidently say that spending time at the Chateau grounds was a dream come true. Over the course of my trips in May, August, and November, I had the pleasure of encountering a wide variety of species that were just waiting to be filmed. I kept log notes in the field, sometimes in a hurry, but recently I took the time to tidy them up and compile a neat list, which I've included below.


The range of wildlife at the Chateau was simply amazing. One of my most unforgettable moments was filming a wild boar at dawn in a forested area from the top floor window of the Chateau.


For smaller creatures such as red squirrels, I used a doubler on my long lens to get up close and personal. It was delightful to see these little red forest dwellers jumping amongst the beech nuts. I had never seen a red squirrel or a wild boar before, so it was a truly special experience to witness them in their natural habitat.


During the winter season, one of my favorite sequences to film was the starling murmurations of 200-500 individuals on cold November evenings. To capture these amazing moments, I used a wide lens to showcase the Chateau in the background against a fading crystal clear inky-blue sky.


Overall, my time at the Chateau was an incredible experience that I'll never forget. The diversity of wildlife there was truly remarkable, and I feel fortunate to have been able to capture it on film.


Species at the Chateau

  • Large tree dwellers

    • Red squirrel

  • Chateau wall dwellers

    • Lizard

  • Bees, wasps, butterflies and wildflower species:

    • Speckled Wood

    • Small Tortoiseshell

    • Adonis Blue

    • Peacock

    • Cabbage White

    • Hummingbird bee hawk-moth

    • Hornet

    • Hoverfly

    • Bumblebee (species type not recorded)

    • Crickets

    • Milkweed Beetle

  • Birds

    • Tree creeper

    • Starlings and large murmurations throughout winter

    • Swallows

    • Kingfishers

    • Heron

    • Wood pigeon

    • Bluetits

    • Greattit

    • Greentit

    • Goldcrest

    • Wren

    • Nuthatch

    • Robin

    • Finch (juvenile) and adult

    • Wagtail

    • Jay

    • Cuckoo

    • Buzzard

    • Kestrel

  • Waterfowl

    • Coypu

    • Mallard and partner

    • Coot

    • Adult Moorhen

    • Juvenile coots/moorhen nesting

  • Pond life

    • Pond skaters

    • Tadpoles

    • Damselflies

    • Dragonfly

    • Fish in the moat (possibly carp, roach, tench)

  • Large mammals

    • Roe Deer

    • Wild Boar


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