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      Filming Hunts On A Budget

      Filming Hunts On A Budget

      Self filming has become more and more popular over the last decade than ever before. With cameras getting smaller and more powerful it has become easier than ever to film your hunts. Most of us have very capable cameras right in our pocket — our cell phone. A lot of people don’t realize how inexpensive it now is to start filming their hunts. In this article we’ll go over the basics of filming hunts on a budget.

      Capture Those Special Moments

      Everyone has their own reasons why they want to film their hunts. For me personally, it is so much fun to be able to capture what happens in the woods so I can share it with others. Even if a shot doesn’t happen, just being able to show people what happened during your hunt is so much fun. When the hunt does come together and you fill a tag, being able to share that with family and friends is awesome. When I’m not self filming, I love filming others. There are so many priceless memories that you can capture with family and friends when you film their hunts. Another huge benefit of filming is being able to review your shot placement. Whether you are gun hunting or archery hunting, the the moment of that shot happens so fast its hard to always know exactly where you hit the animal. Being able to watch the shot back frame by frame can be super helpful in knowing when to start tracking an animal. Filming is a ton of fun for a lot of reasons and once you start, you won’t want to stop.

      Use Your Cell Phone

      The most important thing you need to start filming your hunts is obviously a camera. Cell phone cameras have gotten better and better over the years and have become a viable option for filming hunts. One disadvantage of using cell phones is they have limited zoom. A lot of recent phones that have been released actually have a lens for anything from 2x to 4x optical zoom which helps a lot. When you want to zoom in even farther, there are a lot of options out there for zoom lenses you can attached to your phone. Companies like Moment make zoom lenses that mounts right to a phone case. You can also get cheap clamp on zoom lenses that will help get you a little extra zoom. If you do film your hunt with a phone, shooting in 4k is a great option. Shooting in 4k allows you to zoom in during the editing process as most people export videos that are 1080p. If a cell phone is all you can afford to start filming, definitely give it a shot. You will find it has some limitations, but you can really get some great quality footage out of phone cameras these days especially for archery hunting where the action happens relatively close to you.

      cell phone

      Buy A Used Or Refurbished Handycam

      For anyone wanting to step up their game from a cell phone, you can get inexpensive used or refurbished handycams. The main advantage of a handycam over a cell phone is you get better zoom and a little better low light performance. If you do a lot of rifle hunting then a handycam is definitely for you. There are a lot of great handycams options out there that might be a little older but will still be sufficient for filming hunts. Some of the more popular cameras for filming hunts are the Canon G series cameras and the Sony AX Series. One spec to look for is sensor size. If you want good low light performance, get a camera with a larger sensor. Do your research when shopping for used or refurbished cameras. There are plenty out there on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Sites like BH Photo also sometimes have a decent selection of refurbished cameras.



      Get An Inexpensive But Functional Camera Arm

      The camera arm you use is a crucial part of your filming setup. No matter what camera or phone you use, you need something that will hold your camera steady. Fourth Arrow Camera Arms offers a great budget camera arm option. That arm is called the Baton Arm. The Baton is specifically designed to hold cell phones and small handycams. The arm itself is super easy to set up and easy to level. It is also very lightweight and packable. It extends out to 25” of reach but yet it collapses down to a 15.5” for easy carrying. The whole setup only weighs a little over 2 lbs. Fourth Arrow also offers a mini video head that is a great entry level head. For anyone looking to film with a cell phone, you have the option of including a phone holder with the head. With the Baton Arm coming in at $99.99, it is a very affordable yet capable arm for anyone looking to start filming their hunts.


      Get A Used GoPro

      Second angle cameras really help you tell the story of your hunt. I like to mount my second angle camera facing back at me when hunting. Being able to show people what happens in the tree makes the hunt so much more engaging and really makes people feel like they are right there with you. If you can afford it, a second angle camera is definitely a must for self filming. There are several great options for inexpensive second angle cams. The used second angle cam market is flooded because companies like GoPro are always coming out with new cameras. You can get cheap used GoPros or Tactacams off Ebay all the time. A second angle camera can really help elevate your video and the small amount you spend on one will be well worth it.


      A Mic Helps

      External mics for your camera really help you produce video with cleaner audio. My favorite inexpensive mic is the Rode VideoMicro. It runs off phantom power so you don’t have to remember to turn it on. It comes with a great wind screen for those windy days as well. A cool feature of that mic is you can use it with either your handycam or your cell phone. An external mic isn’t absolutely necessary, but it really does help make your videos much more enjoyable to watch.

      To put everything together, below is a breakdown of a the different things you will need to start filming your hunts and the prices for them.

      Item Breakdown


          •    $0 if you use a phone you already have
          •    Around $200-300 for a used or refurbished camera

      Camera Arm

          •    $99.99 for the Baton Arm
          •    $39.99 for the mini head and $10 upgrade to include phone holder

      Second Angle Camera

          •    $49-$149 for a used Second Angle Cam


          •    $59 for a Rode VideoMicro - Additional $10 to include cable for cell phone

      Filming your hunts is becoming more popular for a reason. If budget is your barrier for getting into filming, it shouldn’t be any longer. You can start filming for as little as $150 if you use your phone. You won’t regret starting to film your hunts.

      Self Filmed On The Ground Bowhunt Breakdown with Tag N' Brag

      Self Filmed On The Ground Bowhunt Breakdown with Tag N' Brag

      Bowhunting whitetails from the ground with no blind is one of the most challenging ways to hunt. Then throw self filming into the mix and its even more challenging. In this self filmed hunt breakdown episode, David with Tag-N-Brag takes us through his North Dakota hunt where he tags a velvet monster.

      How To Start A Successful YouTube Channel

      How To Start A Successful YouTube Channel

      By Tracy Breen

      It seems that everybody wants to be a YouTube star these days. Every kid on the planet dreams of being Dude Perfect and making big money posting videos and having fun. The truth is making tons of money off YouTube is about as likely as being the next NASA astronaut, but if your dream is to have a successful YouTube channel with a lot of hard work, success will come. You may not be able to make millions of dollars, but earning some money and having some sponsors is achievable if you take the right steps. Below are a few things to consider, especially if your goal is to have a channel that focuses on hunting and the outdoors.


      Every person who starts a YouTube Channel hopes that they will be an overnight success, but that rarely happens. Nate Sellers knows how much work it takes to build a solid following. Sellers has a popular YouTube Channel called Average Jack Archery. “I started my channel years ago and it has only become popular the last couple years,” Sellers noted.

      youtube channel blog


      The key to success is producing content every week, whether you want to or not. “It is really easy to be excited about producing content the first few months,” said Bernie Berringer who has the YouTube channel, Bowhunting Road. “It isn’t as exciting six months later when your average video has 100 views. The key to success is sticking with it and producing content every week. Over time, people become fans of the channel and watch every episode.  It takes a lot of time to get there. It took me about three years before I started gaining a serious following and started making a little bit of money.”


      In addition to regularly producing content, you must also think about what type of content you want to produce. If you want to stand out and have a channel that people want to watch, the content must be unique in some way. Average Jack Archery focuses on archery-related product reviews. His reviews are entertaining, to the point, and he typically tells the good, the bad, and the ugly about the products he is reviewing. Bowhunters and archers regularly check out his reviews when they are shopping for something because they want an honest review before they spend their hard earned money. Honest reviews are hard to find so the Average Jack Channel has been able to fill a niche. “Filling a particular niche is a must,” said Sellers. “Most bowhunters want to just create and post videos about bowhunting. I have seen some amazing bow hunts with great videography and amazing editing on YouTube that only have 100 views. It takes more than quality bowhunting footage to build a following.”

      youtube channel blog


      Another YouTube Channel that has been extremely successful is called Whitetail Habitat Solutions. The host of the channel is Jeff Sturgis. Sturgis is a whitetail habitat expert and spends endless hours managing whitetail property and showing others how to do it. There are a lot of shows like his on YouTube, but Sturgis is considered one of the top in his field and produces more content than almost anyone in his category. “We produce over 200 videos a year,” Sturgis noted. “Being prolific without a doubt is one of the reasons we have been successful. We produce lots of videos.  We produce videos that help whitetail hunters solve their land management problems.”

      youtube channel blog


      All of the people I interviewed for this article have monitored their channel in several ways. All of them make money directly off Youtube and all of them also make money from sponsors, but all of them told me that people won’t make lots of money right away. Many YouTube show hosts have told me it took them years to make a little bit of money off of YouTube and when the checks started coming, they were $50-$100. “Very few people get rich off of Youtube. It takes millions of views to make a lot of money,” said Sellers.


      One way most YouTube shows make money is by having companies sponsor them. This is the path most shows try to take, but in my opinion many shows try to get sponsors too early which can be a big mistake. I am a marketing consultant and one mistake I see many people make is trying to get sponsors before they have many subscribers. I regularly get emails from start up shows looking for free product and sponsorship money. A channel that only has a 100 subscribers or a 1,000 shouldn’t expect free product or money. If you ask for product or money before your channel is popular, you stand the risk of burning a bridge with a company before you really get started. Instead, I suggest trying to create value for the companies you hope to work with. Buy their product and do a review. Wear a certain type of clothing in all your videos or offer to produce a video for free to get your foot in the door. Most YouTube Channels try to monetize their channel long before they should. Produce quality content and eventually the sponsors will come.


      Over the years, I have interviewed dozens of YouTube celebrities. Most of them have a channel for 3-5 years  before they ever made a dime. If you want to make a living on YouTube or even have a side hustle, realize the road to success is a long bumpy one. The good news is if you work hard, dreams can come true. Bill Winke, the Founder of Midwest Whitetail, learned that sooner than most.  Bill was producing an online hunting show long before it was popular. “The key to success is to stick with it and to constantly work on improving your craft. People who never give up and stick with it usually succeed.”

      youtube channel blog


      Nate Sellers believes writing a script before shooting a video is a must. He also believes having top notch audio is more important than having great video. The key is to always be focused on improving the content you are producing and always do your best to produce videos that people will want to watch.

      Self Filming Hunt Breakdown - Treestand by Foodplot Setup

      Self Filming Hunt Breakdown - Treestand by Foodplot Setup

      The self filming workshop continues! David with Tag N' Brag breaks down a past hunt "play-by-play" and shows how your self filming setup is so important.

      The Tag N' Brag boys have been self filming for years and have a lot of great tips and tricks to share!

      5 Ways To Make Your Turkey Hunt Footage More Entertaining

      5 Ways To Make Your Turkey Hunt Footage More Entertaining

      Turkey hunting can be a ton of fun. Communicating with fired up birds and watching turkeys interact with each other and with decoys can make for a really fun hunt. Filming a turkey hunt can be a ton of fun as well. Some guys say turkey hunts are all the same, but there are some things you can do to make your turkey hunts more entertaining and to better communicate the excitement of the hunt.

      Use a POV Camera in the Blind

      A POV camera (point of view or action camera) in the blind helps tell the whole story of the hunt. With only a camera on the game animal being pursued, you don’t see everything that goes on in the blind to pull the hunt off. With a good POV camera in your blind you can capture exactly what calls you used to draw the turkey in. You can also show what you go through to film the hunt. The best part about a POV camera in the blind is you get to capture the raw emotion of the hunter after the shot.

      One important thing to note about using POV cameras in a blind is placement is crucial to getting good video. Don’t put the POV camera behind you and have it look out the same window that you are looking out of. What usually happens with that type of view is inside the blind gets under exposed and outside the blind gets over exposed. The best place to put your POV camera in your blind is in front of you looking back at you. You will be well lit from the window in front of you, and you’ll be able to capture the reaction of the hunter after the shot.


      Image courtesy of Ben K. with Michigan Whitetail Pursuit

      Use a POV Camera Near the Decoys

      One of my personal favorite places for a POV camera on a turkey hunt is right near the decoys. A really fun and unique view is having both the decoy and your blind in the frame. When that angry tom approaches that decoy, you’ll be able to capture everything up close and personal. If you are hunting with a bow, you might even be able to capture the arrow in flight. If you are using a shotgun, just make sure to keep an eye on your camera and make sure to avoid shooting it (unless you want an excuse to buy a new GoPro).


      Image courtesy of Victor G. with Crimson Trail

      A great tool that helps you capture this type of angle is the Fourth Arrow POV stake. With the stake you can easily raise or lower the POV camera to get the perfect angle.


      Image courtesy of Victor G. with Crimson Trail

      Let the Turkey Interact with Your Decoy

      If you aren’t desperate for a bird, let the tom that comes in interact with your decoy a little. It can be really fun to watch a tom tare into a jake or tom decoy.


      Image courtesy of Ben K. with Michigan Whitetail Pursuit

      Film a Youth Hunter or First Time Hunter

      Turkey season is a perfect time to get a new hunter into the woods. Its usually not that cold during turkey season, turkeys are fun to watch, and the chances of success are much higher for a turkey hunt than a whitetail hunt. Turkey hunting might just be the thing that gets other people hooked on hunting. Filming a new hunter can be a lot of fun. Capturing the action in the blind before the shot and the reaction after the shot can be priceless. The first time anyone does something can be the most exciting and capturing that emotion can add to the entertainment value of the video.

      Shoot In 4k

      The problem with turkeys is they constantly are moving around. If you zoom in too tight, you will have to constantly be moving your camera. Moving your camera too much can distract from the hunt and be annoying. A helpful tip is to shoot your footage in 4k and export your hunt in 1080p (HD). This gives you the flexibility of zooming in in post production. Having good, smooth footage will really help people enjoy the hunt.

      Capturing entertaining turkey hunting footage boils down to creativity. Be creative with your camera angles and take a new hunter on a turkey hunt.