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Create Your Story

By Keith Riehn of Sqwincher Outdoors

 

While producing and editing an outdoor TV show for the first time, I learned a lot about what I needed, and what was lacking from the footage I had to work with. Now when I hit the field, I have a much better understanding of what I need to do to make an editor’s job a whole lot easier. If you want to get your hard-earned footage some exposure, here are some key points to making a producer more than happy to use your video creation. Although most of my references are towards filming deer hunts, the tips to getting what you need will overlap into almost all game animals and hunting situations.

 
Start From The Top


 You cannot tell the whole story if you don’t start from the beginning. The first step in filming a hunt is capturing the preparation. This can include dialogue with your hunting partner or directly to the audience. Do not start your story from the tree or ground blind. Let your viewers know exactly what you plan to do.

 

The Walk In

This part is the most difficult time to motivate yourself to capture because of the time and effort it takes. Fight the temptation of putting everything in your pack and waiting until you are set up to start filming. Shots of the hunter walking in gives the audience a feel for the hunt. Make viewers feel like they are there.

 

 

 

Once You Are There

This is the more common interview you are used to seeing, when hunters describe the setup, the hunt, the animals they are after, the wind, weather conditions, etc. Film B-roll footage while you wait for your deer. Create some perspective of the time passing by as you wait. These shots include creative pans of the landscape, leaves, your hunting equipment, the hunter, etc. Alternative perspective cameras such as action cameras are great for these short shots. Fourth Arrow has a variety of products to make these shots easier.

 

 

 

The Moment of Truth

Nothing but experience can really prepare you for that time when the deer you plan to take is on its way in. Capturing the moment is an art in itself. Do not zoom in too much! Remember, you want viewers to feel like they are there, so give them a feel for the surroundings as well as the animal itself. After the shot, do all you can to keep the camera on the animal until it is down or out of view. Directly after the shot, do not turn the camera off! Zoom out and film the hunter’s reaction. It is critical to capture the emotions of the hunter, good or bad depending on the shot made and the situation. Again, directly after the shot, zoom out, refocus on the hunter and capture their post shot emotions.

 

 

 

Cutaways


Some producers will want good cutaways to add to the story. It is important to do this right away, while the lighting still matches the hunt. Other producers will only want to use live action, but it never hurts to get some shots of the hunter drawing his bow, grunting, and other actions he/she may have done during the hunt that were not captured live.

 

Climbing Down and Tracking

Again, this another storytelling must. This step includes packing up gear, climbing down from the tree, getting out of the blind, and starting the blood trail. Filming the tracking job is a critical point to connect the shot and the recovery.

 

Reactions and Hero Shots


Film the hunter’s reaction as the animal is recovered. This part can be very emotional and often what the viewer will remember the most.

 

Retell the event


If there was a history with this animal or hunting land, tell the viewer about it. Tell the whole story leading up to the grand finale. The editor will be glad to have these pieces to use between scenes to help give the whole story a theme. Stage these interviews with an appropriate background. Choose your setting wisely.

 



Many hunters are very enthused about capturing their hunts to share with others. If you are one of these hunters or videographers, do yourself a huge favor and capture everything. You will have a much better chance of someone choosing your footage for production.

The Benefits of Filming from Several Angles

By Tracy Breen


Now more than ever, hunters who watch TV shows, YouTube shows and other types of videos want authenticity. There was a time when TV celebrities could piece together a TV show with some real footage of the hunt and some cutaway footage that shows the hunter reenacting part of the hunt. Now more than ever, hunters want real footage that shows the hunter hyperventilating before the shot, shaking footage during the shot and real excitement after the shot. To capture these moments, most average Joe hunters and celebrities use point of view cameras like a GoPro. Tim Wells, host of Relentless Pursuit TV uses GoPro’s often. “Point of View cameras can be set up at a variety of different angles so viewers can see what is really going on during a hunt,” Wells explained. “This is why I like using them all the time. A well-placed GoPro really helps tell the story.”


THE OUTREACH ARM


There are a variety of ways you can set up a GoPro camera. Fourth Arrow Camera Arms offers several accessories that can help hunters capture great footage from a variety of angles. One of their most popular point of view camera arms is the Outreach Arm. This arm can screw into a tree and telescope a full six feet out in front of the hunter. The camera can be placed in such a way that it films the hunter and can be used to film the camera man who is filming the hunt. Adding this additional camera angle can add excitement to the finished film.



THE MINI TRIPOD


Fourth Arrow offers a mini tripod that weighs just a few ounces but can easily stabilize a point-of view camera. The mini tripod can be placed on the ground near a turkey decoy or deer decoy to capture up-close footage of a gobbler or a buck coming in to a setup. This type of footage is often action-packed because a gobbler or buck will be destroying the decoy on camera.



THE TELESCOPING STAKE


Fourth Arrow makes a telescoping stake for point of view cameras that can extend up to 40-inches, providing another unique angle for viewers to watch. “Sometimes having several point of view cameras out at once can give viewers a more exciting video to watch,” said Wells.



Are you looking for a way to get more quality point of view camera footage? Consider purchasing a couple of the Fourth Arrow point of view camera accessories.

Self Filming A Turkey Hunt

By Tracy Breen

 

Tim Wells, host of the TV show, Relentless Pursuit, spends a lot of time self-filming.   His action-packed footage of killing everything from pigs and frogs to deer and other big game animals has made him extremely popular over the years.  Tim spends a fair amount of time filming his own hunts, including turkey hunts.  Filming turkeys can be difficult.  Below, Wells explains a few of his favorite filming techniques when he is filming turkeys by himself.   
 
THE POP UP BLIND ADVANTAGE


When filming on his own, Wells prefers sitting in a pop-up blind in a strutting zone or a well-traveled area where he knows gobblers love hanging out.  “Running and gunning can be difficult when trying to film my own turkey hunts.  My favorite tactic is to be on a field edge or strutting zone during the morning and wait for a gobbler to show up.  It isn’t always as exciting as running and gunning, but when a bird comes in, my camera is all set and I can film the action by myself,” Wells explained.
 
USE A HEN DECOY


Putting out hen and Jake decoys is a favorite tactic of many turkey hunters, but Wells prefers leaving the Jake decoy at home. “When a tom comes running into my setup, I want him to strut around for the hen and let me film him close to the decoy. When I use a Jake decoy, the tom always comes in looking for a fight and although the footage can be action-packed, the tom is often running back and forth and coming in and out of view which can create very choppy footage. This is why I prefer putting a hen really close to my blind, calling softly, and enticing a tom to come in close,” Wells added.
 
STALKING LONGBEARDS


Wells spends a lot of time bowhunting turkeys. When he isn’t sitting in a blind waiting on a tom, he stalks turkeys with his bow.  “Many hunters like stalking strutting birds and shoot them at a few steps.  When I hunt like this, I use a GOPro 5 or 6 that has 4K capabilities.  I attach the camera to my bow and hunt.  Because these cameras offer 4K, I can zoom in extra close when I am editing the footage and still have a high quality film,” Wells said.  
 
CALL SOFTLY


According to Wells, the key to filming turkey hunts is calling softly and just enough to bring a tom in extra close. “Hunters should not over call.  Over calling keeps the gobbler on the limb in the early morning hours or just out of range if he is on the ground.  When a bird hears lots of excited calling, they stop and strut.  The bird typically hangs up and doesn’t come in,” Wells advised.  Wells prefers playing hard to get and calls just enough to get the bird to come in close.  “My favorite shot to take when bowhunting longbeards is a head shot.   It’s a quick, clean kill.”  In order for Wells to pull off a head shot, he prefers that the bird is ten yards away or less.  “A  close shot is easy to make and produces exciting footage.”  
Are you hoping to get a great turkey hunt on film this year?  Take a few tips from Tim Wells and you might find yourself smiling over a longbeard in the near future.


Four Tips That Will Help You Produce Better Turkey Hunting Footage

BY TRACY BREEN

 


Turkey hunting can be a lot of fun. Filming a turkey hunt, on the other hand, can be difficult especially if you want to create footage that other people will want to watch. “Turkeys never stop moving,” Grant Woods, the host of GrowingDeerTV said. “As a result, we are constantly moving our cameras, our gear, and ourselves to try to get into position for a good shot and to record high quality footage.” Below are a few tips from Grant to help hunters record better turkey hunting footage.
 
TRIPOD TRICKS


For starters, Woods prefers using the Fourth Arrow Rex arm when filming turkey hunts. “When we use a regular tripod to film our hunts, we constantly have to move the tripod around to get footage of the turkey,” Woods said. “Because the Fourth Arrow Rex Arm can rotate 360 degrees, we can easily move the camera to capture footage of the moving bird without moving the tripod. It’s great! This eliminates the choppiness you sometimes see when filming turkeys as they walk and strut around, especially when hunting out of a blind. When just using a tripod, we have to move from window to window. With the Rex Arm, that problem is eliminated.”
 
USE A GOPRO


Using GoPro cameras is another way to get interesting footage of turkeys as they approach a decoy setup. Toms that are beating up on a jake decoy can make for entertaining footage, especially when a GoPro is only a few steps from the decoys. Fourth Arrow makes a GoPro stake that can be quickly and easily put into the ground by the decoys. Grant Woods likes to have GoPro’s facing him and the cameraman when he is turkey hunting. “Having a camera facing me and my cameraman provides another angle for viewers to watch. It allows them to see how we like to film our hunts. People like to see all the action from a variety of angles, so having a camera out in front of us facing back towards us works well,” Woods explained.
 
LET GO OF THE CAMERA


Another thing Woods does to increase the quality of his footage is lets his camera man know a few seconds before shooting a tom that is he is about to pull the trigger so the cameraman can take his hands off the camera and the tripod. “It doesn’t matter how many times a cameraman has heard a gun go off. When I pull the trigger, he always jumps. This typically produces shaky footage. To eliminate that problem, I will give a kee kee call a few moments before I pull the trigger. This alerts my camera man to take his hands off the camera so the camera won’t shake,” Woods added.
 
DECOY TRICKS


When the hunting gets tough and Woods needs to leave his blind to run and gun, he brings Montana Decoys and cloth to cover his camera and tripod and hits the woods. “One more way people can increase the quality of their footage is by being mobile. We use lightweight decoys, and bring cloth to cover our cameras so we don’t spook birds. As a result, birds often come in close which gives us great footage. Being lightweight is necessary when filming turkeys.”
Because a turkey doesn’t have a unique rack like a deer or enormous antlers like an elk, watching turkey hunts on TV or online can be somewhat boring. Hunters who film their hunts can increase the entertainment value by showing the hunt from a variety of angles and by making sure the footage is steady and clear throughout the film.

Bowhunting Longbeards with Levi Morgan

BY TRACY BREEN

 
When it comes to the sport of archery and bowhunting, many consider Levi Morgan to be one of the greatest that has ever lived. He consistently kills big animals and consistently finds himself on the podium at tournaments. Spring is right around the corner and Morgan is preparing for turkey season. “I love turkey hunting with a bow.  It is fun and challenging. People think turkey hunting is easy, but it can be extremely difficult when you are bowhunting them,” Morgan said.
 
SHOT PLACEMENT IS KEY


One of the toughest things about bowhunting turkeys is they have a knack for disappearing after the shot. “You can shoot one and watch the arrow disappear into the bird only to watch as the bird flies or runs off, never to be seen again,” Morgan noted. Because of that, Morgan prefers shooting a turkey right above the drumsticks. “Some bowhunters love shooting them in the head.  That’s a great option, but the margin for error is extremely small. I prefer shooting them two inches above the drumsticks. This takes out the chest cavity and takes out their legs so they can’t fly or run.”
 
MECHANICAL BROADHEADS


One way Morgan increases his odds of success is by using a broadhead that creates a devastating wound channel. “I like using the 2-blade Swhacker mechanical head that has a 3-inch cutting diameter. When that broadhead hits a turkey, it brings them down fast. Since it has such a large cutting diameter, even if my shot is off a little, there is room for error when a broadhead has a 3-inch cutting diameter,” Morgan added.
 
DECOY TRICKS


To increase his odds of success, Morgan prefers taking extra close shots at birds. One of his favorite ways to get close to birds is attaching a decoy to the riser of his bow and stalking birds. “Last year, I customized a Primos B-mobile decoy so it could easily be attached to my bow. I had a fan and everything on my bow. I had the body of the decoy cut just right so I could use my sight and rest without the decoy interfering with my setup. It worked great! Birds would charge me and I would shoot them at 10-15 feet. I love hunting longbeards this way; it is a ton of fun,” Morgan exclaimed.
 
Regardless if you hunt turkeys by stalking them or calling them in, getting them close before you take the shot is fun and increases your odds of success. This spring, shoot a large mechanical head, aim right above the drumsticks, and get close before taking the shot.  Maybe Thanksgiving dinner will be served early this year.

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