Video & Photography Tips, tricks, and suggestions for videotaping and photographing your hunts.

solo filming

Old 07-28-2017, 10:47 AM
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WildlifeBiologist402's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 88
Default solo filming

hey guys,im from Nebraska. I want to get into start filming my own hunts and also hunts with friends...any input/advice or pointers on a good video camera and equipment would be helpful...thank you guys!!!
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Illinois
Posts: 64

Never filmed, but while I was checking out some YouTube videos; I was thinking about just doing a GoPro on the bow this year but decided I'd rather not try to have something else to mess up. I came across a guy named Sean McVeigh. I believe his YouTube channel and website are called Sean outdoor adventures . If you email him he'll respond pretty quickly. He's a good guy with lots of advice. Good luck this season. I am know I am getting excited.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:37 AM
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 87

There are a LOT of great cameras out there these days to pick from, but when I upgrade again here before too long, I'll likely be switching over too the Sony AX53 or AX100 instead of the Canon XA10 or 20 like I have been using over the last few years. They are still very good cameras, and reasonably priced though so don't overlook them depending on your budget. 4k allows you the ability to film in 4k with pretty much no zoom involved if on an average bowhunt for example and allow you too crop in as close as you'd like during the edit. One less thing to worry or even think about while in the field.

For arms, there are a lot of them out there, but the Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm is hard too beat. Super light-weight, and when you're self filming, you'll like the lightness of that arm. I've been using it for 2 seasons already and love mine.

Aside from that, I started adding 2 or 3 action cameras too my stands when filming to always have 2 cams 100% dedicated too the hunter from different sides at all times, while another gets an overhead view of in front of them, and the main camera only on the animal. Seems like a lot, but easier than recreating the events later, which in my opinion makes for a more real feel too it as the post shot reaction is 100% real as it happened. I don't think you can ever really replicate that. is offline  
Old 10-10-2017, 11:10 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 3,810

I've gone through this discussion from both sides several times in the last decade, so I'll offer my thoughts. I don't have a desire to get famous or try to earn a living by posting hunting videos, but I do enjoy the process and have been drawn into several different opportunities over that time. I've made a professional career of launching products and brands. Per my usual, this will be long, but unusually scattered for me - consider this a bullet list of "schitt to consider" as you launch your outdoors content social media brand...

What I can say about the gear:

Most guys doing the more successful "low rent" or self-film shows are running 3 cameras. Three seems to be the tipping point for expense, managability in the field, and producing enough content to piece together a well directed product in post production. Too many cameras become too heavy and unmanageable. The primary camera should be a quality camcorder with a shotgun mic, mounted on an articulated arm with a fluid head and a remote. The second camera will be a DSLR or another camcorder on a mount, usually fixed on the hunter, but without the mic and possibly without the remote. Action cams can be used here, but they don't typically produce the best quality video for this purpose. The 3rd camera is where an action cam can be used. You have options here, either on the hat of the hunter looking at the weapon as it's raised and panned (you'll see this done with an overlay from the primary camera in post, since it doesn't have the zoom to see the animal) OR it's mounted on the weapon pointed back at the hunter. For an archery hunter, it can be mounted on the bow, but for a rifle hunter, typically the ranges are too great for action cams to be serviceable. A 4th camera could be an action cam on the weapon - one looking back at the shooter, one looking out into the field, but again, action cams don't have the zoom to really see the field.

More than those 3 cameras (maybe that 4th "shot cam" on the bow) becomes simply too much to manage in the field. If you add a camera man, or multiple hunters, you can add cameras, but generally 3 seems to be the most any one person can manage effectively. It ends up somewhere around 15lbs of gear, and can fit into a backpack well enough. Set up time for more angles also becomes a problem. If you're hunting private where your arm mounts can be left in the stand, that's an advantage.

Your primary camera will likely be over $350-400 used. I've been using a Canon XA20 which I purchased new for a company training film project, then bought used from my company at a significant deal later - wanna say it was $1700ish new? My secondary for personal use is a Canon T5i which I got on a refurb deal - something like $450 at the time, and I use GoPro's for my "dynamic" shots at the hunter's position.

Action cameras like GoPro's absolutely SUCK for filming anything more than the hunter in the field, and the audio is even worse than the video. If you find yourself in the field with an action cam looking across the field at deer a hundred yards out, you're doing something wrong. Action cameras are everywhere, because they are light, cheap, durable, and versatile, but they don't offer video quality to produce good hunting content at any significant range - and the audio quality is a joke (especially inside cases!). There are a few zoom models out there, like a re-lensed RunCam or Tactacam, a few dash cams, but they still lack in features to be serviceable. "clamp on" lenses are a joke for these - they vignette and ghost badly, and most often, the lower cost versions give really poor color distortion and especially edge distortion. You can record your own hunts with them, for your own satisfaction like home family video, but if you want to produce marketable content, action cams don't cut it as primary cameras. Even the Tactcams with 3x or 5x zoom don't end up with enough zoom to really produce quality footage past archery ranges. Audio quality is really, really poor with these. There's typically no shutter speed control, limited frame rate control, no iso control, limited white balance control (or none). No adjustable focus or depth of field. Viewers will tear apart videos when audio or video quality suffers - they'll usually forgive that "I didn't get it on the primary, but got it on the gopro, so here it is" type video, but if the whole channel is nothing but gopro, they'll tear it apart.

Learn about photography and videography, buy the right gear, and learn how to use it effectively. Get a set of white and grey cards to let you force the white balance - this helps really improve image quality in woods with high light sky showing between trees, or snow cover. Larger sensors and larger apertures draw in more light and don't have to condense the image as much onto the sensor, so you'll do better in low light. Learn how to run your shutter speed and frame rate together to produce quality footage. Point and shoot pocket cameras, action cameras, and iphones need not apply.

Remember to adjust your camera settings through the day - and KNOW your camera menus and settings well enough to let you do so efficiently. Transitioning from low light in the mornings to high light mid day, then to a completely different color palette, and back to low light in the evening will demand different settings from the camera. High light days are different than overcast days - practice your settings before season, watch the weather to pre-plan your settings through the week, and watch your watch to pre-plan your settings throughout the day.

I'm more of a wannabe photographer than videographer, so I lean towards DSLR's when and where I can. I've used them as a primary, which is not good, because the remote features are not set up well for this, but they make a great second angle camera (fixed position, fixed zoom). Compared to another camcorder, the DSLR can be utilized for still photography as well, so a guy can use their primary still camera as a secondary video camera and get great video content AND great photos - win win. A lower cost Canon Rebel will work well enough here.

Get a camcorder mount and a fluid head. Get a camcorder remote. Get a shotgun mic. Learn to mark your video and audio for syncing in post.

NEVER use digital zoom range. Digital zoom robs you of resolution, and your post editing software will give better control over the same "digital zoom" without crashing the video quality. Digital zoom stretches pixels to cover more pixels, making the video grainy, whereas physical zoom draws in a larger image to be fed to the sensor at the same high resolution as the lower zoom. Don't use digital zoom - it does nothing good, and lots of bad.

Your editing software will likely be able to fix a LOT of issues, but taking good video is still important. "Garbage in, garbage out," for your post editing program. You can fix a lot of things about video and add a lot of effects in post, but the lower quality you feed to the video editor, the lower quality will be your end product.

What I can say about the process:

Plan, plan, plan, plan. I say that multiple times NOT ONLY to reiterate it as an important point but also to exemplify the various types of planning required. Pre-season, you may need to plan your sets differently to accommodate filming. Plan your pack and field set up - you don't want to wake up opening season and realize you don't have a way to carry your kit afield, and don't want to spend an hour every morning to get set up once you're in the field. Plan how you're going to mark and sync audio and video in post, and plan how you're going to activate your cameras AND still get a shot off. Plan your angles - you see photos and videos of guys walking with gopro's on headbands, but realize, when you get into the field, your head isn't always pointing the same direction as your eyes - shouldering your rifle with a gopro on your hat will usually give you a great view of the inside wall of your blind or the ground beneath and to the right of your stand - NOT of the animal in front of your rifle.

One of the other biggest things I would say requires planning discipline is the content release. Pumping out 10 videos the month after you buy a camera, then not producing anything else all year is a great way to let your brand stagnate. PLAN YOUR CONTENT RELEASES - even if you end up holding video over until the next season, throwback videos or "last year's deleted scenes" releases can work to fill the off-peak months. Most of us want to hunt more than we want to generate content - so that's a difficult paradox.

When it comes to content - quality trumps quantity. You need product, but you need GOOD product better. Limit your intro, Outro, and B-roll time. If you insist on a long intro string of B-roll, utilize a voice over to introduce the topic of the day or something productive, instead of just a high music bed. Cold opens can make effective use of certain great footage which just isn't enough to make a complete product on its own. There are few things I hate more than watching a 20min video where a guy runs 15min of B-roll with nothing but a music bed showing deer grazing in the field, and then ends up with only 5min of quality content on the actual topic - or worse, NO quality content at all..

Product reviews are radio-active. In the right hands, it can be incredibly productive and powerful, in the wrong hands, it'll kill anyone who touches it. Many people - myself included - take great joy in tearing apart under-qualified product reviewers who give the whole "I love this thing, just got it today and don't even have it out of the box yet, but it's amazing..." If you've only owned one bow, you're not qualified to review bows. You can demonstrate YOUR set up and what you might do differently next time, but don't act like something you're not. Equally, don't do technical expert videos if you're not qualified. Lots of guys build AR-15's, not many really build them properly. Also recognize whether you're logistically capable of doing a review - If you're not going to take your new pistol out and run it through a pressure test, you don't have much means of standing up on a "this thing runs great" claim.

A guy CAN get away with doing what I call the "couch to marathon" video(s), where you describe how you've geared up, explain your choices, then after use, describe how it performed compared to your expectations. Audiences can relate to these videos because they often want to do the same thing. Don't sell yourself as an expert on it if you're not, but rather convey what you've learned, and pass it on to help the next guy. A video on "bow set up to win 3D matches" from a guy who's never won a match folds like a house of cards.

Watch your butt on use of copywritten music. There are plenty of places to get license free or distributed license music. Guitar riffs and hillbilly bluegrass are overdone - keep that in mind. Don't overuse your music bed - if you're talking, then don't distract the viewer with a high music bed.

What little money can be made in this market is through "quality follower interaction." Having a lot of followers is great, but if you aren't recruiting interaction and new follower growth, you're not a sustainable brand. Picking up 1000 followers in your first year is grand, but if you only have 1100 after 3yrs, you're not going to draw paying sponsors or advertising. Focus on content which elicits viewer interaction, either through subscription/followers, likes, or comments.

If you ever get to a point where you're doing a gear giveaway, be sure to do it responsibly for your loyal fans as well as your sponsors. "Subscribe to be entered into the drawing" might boost your subscribers until the contest is over, but you'll likely see folks flow out just as they flow in. It also doesn't reward your loyal viewers. Instead, you can work with sponsors to do a "share this sponsor post to be entered," OR you can do a "send me your content using these sponsor products to be entered." These reward loyal viewers and loyal customers, and drives a direct touch to sponsor marketing material.

If you ever get to a point where you're making branded merchandise, make sure they are quality products. It's too easy to produce quality hats, shirts, etc these days, nobody wants a crappy coozie made at Bill's print shack and tire center or a promotional Frisbee. Merchandise DOES drive revenue, but you run a fine line of balancing inventory risk and sales volume, and the "print on demand" game is slow, expensive, and never reliable.

Be disciplined - way too many guys generate content where they totally missed their harvest. Know how to activate your gear, and if you really want to make your brand, you need to be disciplined enough to pass on shots if you don't have them on camera.

Everyone thinks they can make it big by posting videos - but like any vehicle for fame (save infamy), there are a thousand guys who flounder for every guy who flourishes.

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Old 10-22-2018, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 12

My advice is to just take heaps of footage and be prepared to cut a lot. SOny FDR X3000 is still my favorite action cam.
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Old 10-31-2018, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Posts: 1
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Originally Posted by Conquistador View Post
Never filmed, but while I was checking out some YouTube videos; I was thinking about just doing a GoPro on the bow this year but decided I'd rather not try to have something else to mess up. I came across a guy named Sean McVeigh. I believe his YouTube channel and website are called Sean outdoor adventures . If you email him he'll respond pretty quickly. He's a good guy with lots of advice. Good luck this season. I am know I am getting excited.
I got the Panasonic HC-V770 Video Camera its a mid priced camera it serves all my needs. Go with this choice if you want functionality and affordability.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 5

Really depends, whats your budget?
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Madison Heights, VA
Posts: 52

I use a Canon Vixia camera, with a shotgun mic. Most your cameras now a days are HD so your good, mostly is get a good tripod for ground blinds and interviews and what nots. And a tree arm for when your in a tree.
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Old 09-21-2020, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 1

mine is $400
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