If you have spent much time filming hunts and editing footage, you have discovered that not all hunting footage is created equal. Some hunters do a great job filming, editing and creating a production that grabs the eye of hunters everywhere. Some hunters fall short when it comes to creating a great film. Jake Cornish from West Michigan is a professional cameraman and producer. He says there are a few things all hunters can do to increase the quality of their footage and their finished film.
THE RIGHT CAMERA
One camera that Cornish often recommends is a Panasonic FZ 1000. “This bridge camera has a great built in 16X zoom so it zooms in well and it zooms out pretty wide. It boasts a versatile lens that a hunter will be able to use to capture great footage of deer when they are close and far away. It shoots 4K resolution and has a jack for a microphone so it is a great all around camera.” If a simpler camcorder is desired the Canon Vixia lineup is an industry favorite. Last I checked Campbell Cameras had some good deals on the Vixia lineup.
PROPER SECONDARY CAMERA ANGLE
When self filming your camera arm should be situated about waist high. This offers a great range of mobility and easy access to the camera. Be sure to note that any interviews should be recorded in a seated position so the sky is not the background. Often times the sky is bright behind the hunter so they end up getting washed out instead of achieving perfect exposure. Point of View cameras are particularly notorious for overexposing the shot if the subject is skylined, Using a Fourth Arrow Outreach Arm is a great option because a hunter can use the arm to get their point of view camera up in the air and out of the tree where the camera can be pointed down instead of having the camera pointed up to the sky,” Cornish added.
KEEP THE CAMERA ROLLING
Another mistake Cornish sees hunters make is not having the camera on unless there are deer around. “Many hunters keep their camera off until a deer shows up. As a result, they end up with a few minutes of deer footage and a kill shot. Many hunters fail to realize that to produce a great film, the hunt should tell a story. Shoot as much footage as possible. If a squirrel climbs a tree nearby, film it. If a hawk lands in a tree, film it. Film everything that is going on so after the hunt there will be plenty of footage to choose from so a good film can be produced. When there isn’t much footage to begin with, the storyline ends up being pretty weak,” Cornish noted.
DON’T FORGET THE MICROPHONE
Many hunters aren’t afraid to spend a little money on a camera, but that’s it. One purchase that Cornish believes is a must is an external microphone. “There are several different mic options on the market from inexpensive to really expensive. Even if a person doesn’t want to spend much, a cheap mic is better than nothing. A good story can’t be told without good audio. Many people forget that good audio is necessary. The built in camera mic is not enough- especially when wind is a factor” Check out reviews on sites like Amazon before you purchase a mic.
Last but not least, shaky footage is not good. A general rule of thumb is you want to avoid touching the camera as much as possible. “When self filming or running camera for someone else a hunter should always have a good camera arm.” Cornish suggests a Fourth Arrow Stiff Arm. “When a hunter is in a blind, they should use a tripod and a Rex Arm. Even when walking and filming, it is best to use a glide cam that can stabilize the camera. Hand holding a camera results in shaky footage and shaky footage is hard to watch.”
Cornish is quick to point out that creating a quality film doesn’t require a lot of money, but it does require being patient, taking your time, being knowledgeable, and having the right gear. By investing a little bit of money in the right gear and educating yourself, you can produce films that everyone will enjoy watching.