The Wild Life: Filmmaker Mia Stawinski shoots in Botswana
July 2, 2024

The Wild Life: Filmmaker Mia Stawinski shoots in Botswana

Mia Stawinski is an award-winning photographer and videographer who specializes in capturing the raw beauty of nature and wildlife. She recently used Atomos’ Ninja Ultra, along with Sony Ci Media Cloud, as the foundation for her remote workflow while capturing wildlife in Botswana.

Growing up, Stawinski lived in different countries and experienced a broad range of environments and cultures, fueling her passion to protect the natural world. Working collaboratively with sustainable brands, eco-conscious hotels and conservation organizations, Stawinski’s occupation has taken her to the jungle, mountains and even the depths of the sea. 

“What I enjoy most about my job is that I have the chance to create meaningful impact through visual narratives,” says the videographer.  “My goal is to foster a greater appreciation for our planet, encourage outdoor exploration and drive real conservation impact.”

One opportunity that presented itself was to capture the awe-inspiring movements of lions, elephants and rhinos in their natural habitat in Botswana. Requiring a reliable and efficient monitor/recorder to ensure footage was captured at the highest quality, Mia Stawinski opted for the Ninja Ultra, one of the latest additions to Atomos product range.

The Ninja Ultra paired well with Stawinski’s Sony A7R V mirrorless camera, as it unlocked the ability to record in ProRes RAW – a feature that  helped simplify her workflow and allowed her to spend more time behind the camera. 

“Recording in ProRes RAW ensured I received high-quality footage with minimal compression, while being able to record directly to the SSD drive eliminated the need for time-consuming file transfers,” she explains. “Not only did ProRes RAW refine my workflow, but it preserved the fine details, vibrant colors, and dynamic range of my footage.”

“The Ninja Ultra and Ci Media Cloud were absolute game-changers for me,” she continues. “They have fast become staple products in my workflow.”

The Ninja isn’t just a recorder. It also incorporates a range of essential monitoring tools, such as focus peaking, zoom and vectorscope. With easy access to these tools via a highly responsive touchscreen display, Stawinski was able to review her footage quickly and discreetly, without disturbing the animals. 

“Focus peaking and zoom were invaluable,” she notes. “They helped ensure my focusing and exposure levels were correct, reducing any surprises during post production. Being able to review footage easily with the ability to set in and out points directly on the monitor has significantly sped up my editing process.”

While roaming the subtropical climate of Botswana, clear visibility was paramount while capturing shots of the mammals. Thanks to the Ninja’s high resolution five-inch display, the images could be viewed clearly, even in direct sunlight. 

“The large, bright display of the Ninja ensured my view was unrestricted, which facilitated the precise framing of shots,” she explains.

Stawinski uploaded her footage to Sony Ci Media Cloud – a cloud-based platform that allows large files to be stored securely. 

“Ci Media Cloud streamlined my media management, enabling me to access and review footage from anywhere.”

Using cloud storage meant that footage could be viewed anywhere in the world, and Stawinski’s client was able to provide regular input by reviewing and commenting on the project, which resulted in a final product that exceeded their expectations. 

“I love how Sony Ci Media Cloud streamlines client feedback and encourages efficient collaboration,” she notes.

Having previously relied solely on the A7R V’s internal recording capabilities and managing physical media with sluggish file transfers, Stawinski’s entire workflow has since been transformed. The Ninja provided high recording quality with ProRes RAW, while Ci Media Cloud lifted the time-consuming burden of organizing files with its intuitive platform.

“The Ninja Ultra and Ci Media Cloud were absolute game-changers for me, making my production set-up easy, quick, and smooth. They have fast become staple products in my workflow.”