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      Blog

      Why Fourth Arrow Camera Arms

      After years of videoing hunts and general videography, a team sat down to start Fourth Arrow and one of the first innovations was reinventing the hunting film industry. The goal was simple: Begin the brand by creating three simple points of perfection that trumped every current arm system out there.
      Why:

      •    Lightweight. Is there a reason a camera arm needs to be the same weight as your average boat anchor?

      •    Removable and Affordable Base system. Why does an extra camera base cost $100? Can’t we have something affordable enough to install in every stand location we have?

      •    Range of adjustment for virtually any tree-stand situation. Why do we have to pick the perfect tree to hang a camera arm? Why can’t the arm accommodate to any situation, tree, or branch that I want to hunt in?


      After reviewing these questions, we answered all of them! It took us months of perfection and testing. It was a journey to team up with some of the best brands and productions in the industry to earn their trust and confidence in Fourth Arrow.

      Four Archery Tips with Levi Morgan

      Four Archery Tips with Levi Morgan

      By Tracy Breen

       

      In the sport of tournament archery, few archers are as accomplished as Mathews Archery pro Levi Morgan. Morgan makes his living shooting his bow and has won countless professional archery titles. He has a very popular TV show called Bow Life TV. Every year on the line and in the field, Morgan has to repeatedly hit the mark while under an enormous amount of pressure. Most bowhunters I know, including myself, are always looking for ways to become better archers and bowhunters. Below Levi Morgan provides some great archery tips about how a person can shrink their group and put more meat in the freezer.

          1.    To be a top notch archer, your equipment must be fine tuned. Morgan believes this is something many bowhunters overlook. “You are only as good as your equipment allows. If you want to be a great archer, you need to learn how to tune your own bow or find a trustworthy pro shop that can do it for you.  If a bow isn’t tuned properly, you won’t shoot as well as you could if the bow was dialed in,” Morgan explained.


          2.    If you are a hardcore bowhunter, you recognize that to be successful in the field, you need to be able to hit your mark. One way to fill more tags is by extending your range. “Many bowhunters will say that they don’t want to take a shot in the field past 30 yards so they only practice out to 30 yards. When a buck is standing at 30 yards, the hunter often gets nervous because the deer is at the greatest distance they practice at. All bowhunters should practice well beyond what they would shoot a deer at. Practice at 70 or 80 yards. If a person can shoot a pie plate at 80 yards, their confidence will be up and a 30 yard shot will be a shot they are confident they can make,” Morgan advised.


          3.    When shooting at extreme ranges like 80 yards, an arrow must be tuned perfectly. “I use Swhacker Broadheads. I like mechanical heads because they are easy to tune and they fly like darts.  If a person is going to use a fixed blade, they should practice with the heads at great distances so they are confident in the field with them,” Morgan added.


          4.    One of the major reasons most bowhunters go home empty-handed is because they get buck fever and fold from the pressure. Morgan knows all about pressure. When he is filming a hunt, he is under a lot of pressure. When he is shooting in a tournament, a lot of money is on the line and many people are watching. Over the years, he has had to learn how to deal with being under intense pressure. “I think the key to dealing with pressure is having a mental checklist every time you draw the bow. I have a checklist that I go through in my head when I draw and focus on the target. When my checklist is complete, I shoot. I am not thinking about the big buck standing in front of me or all the people watching me. I am checking off my list. By focusing on my list and not on the high pressure situation, I am able to make the shot,” Morgan noted.


      Being a top notch archer and bowhunter requires time and effort. Morgan believes archers starting out should try to practice 30 minutes a day almost daily. Seasoned veterans should practice several times a week. They key to success, whether a person is shooting in a tournament or the woods, boils down to practice and being able to consistently make good shots so when the moment of truth arrives, the body and the mind know exactly what to do.

      Five Tools and Tips for Editing Hunts with Nick Ventura

      Five Tools and Tips for Editing Hunts with Nick Ventura

      Although I have spent some time editing hunts I am well aware my current level of expertise is extremely limited. I plan to gain more skills and tactics by attending a Filmthehunt.com editing school this summer but wanted to first hop on the phone with the Film The Hunt’s co-founder, Nick Ventura to learn a little bit about the fundamentals of video editing- specifically as it relates to editing hunts. He was more than willing to let me share some of my main takeaways with the Fourth Arrow community.

       

      Color Correction & Color Grading

       

      In order to understand how to color grade and color correct footage you need to know what each term means.
      Color correction is tweaking the exposure and white balance, Color grading means adjusting saturation, contrast, and color schemes to achieve the ideal tone for the film. Nick elaborates, saying “The important part is that you go in and correct that scene first, and then go ahead and grade it to set the tone.” Examples of how color grading can impact your footage can be found here:

       

      Setting a Tone

       

      Now what is the tone of a video? Well in each video you need to identify the mood. You wouldn’t want to have a happy scene with dark colors- that will only confuse the viewer.  Nick often looks at the film, identifies the mood, and color grades the footage to reflect it.  “If we’re trying to bring out drama then we may add some more blues to the shadows to trick the individual into thinking it’s a very dramatic scene. If it’s a happy scene, we may try to warm it up. Each scene and project deserves different color treatment”.

       

      Nick referenced an episode of The Life where Matt Kline of Exodus Trail Cameras shot a big buck and the team was unable to recover it. “In the beginning the colors were warm, he shot the buck, and was pumped up! But over the course of the next two minutes when they started looking for the buck the footage progressively got desaturated and the colors got a little cooler. The goal is to have the video depict the emotions felt at that moment.”

       

      “Having two different color schemes can farther differentiate two settings.” Nick adds. “When referencing footage from the past the editor can make that footage cooler and less saturated than “real time”  footage. Subliminally, your viewer will start to see that color scheme and identify it as a flashback without the need for a lower third overlay.”

       

      In the Field Audio

       

      The biggest thing with audio is eliminating unnecessary and distracting noises without distorting the sound. There are many features in different programs that help to remove noise. You also want to avoid “peaking”. “When it comes to audio we try to run a minimum of one wireless mic in addition to our shotgun mic. One is directional and records the deer while the wireless records the It really separates the beginners from the professionals.” Nick adds.

       

      Dig Deeper Musically

       

      Audio from the hunt is extremely important, but music (or lack of) can really aid in setting the tone of your film. When it comes to music there are many affordable options. Nick suggests audiojungle, premium beat, and audiomicro as decent sources, but the key is to dig deeper. Avoid the best sellers or trending tracks like the plague, as many others have likely used them in the past. Look into old tracks or do what Nick suggests and have one of your musically inclined friends put together some tracks- You will have more control of these and can be confident nobody else can use that track in their production.

       

      Transitions

       

      So you know what tone you want your footage to have and you have selected some music and audio is under control, but how are you going to piece it all together? You can utilize transitions or incorporate jump cuts, or simply put, no transition at all. According to Nick, the three safest transitions include Fade to black, Fade to white, and Cross dissolve. While these can certainly be overused, they provide a non-intrusive way to tie clips together when a jump cut simply doesn’t flow smoothly. Nick notes that audio needs transitions as well, you don’t want your music to end or start abruptly, fade it out and fade it in for a less obtrusive effect.

       

      So there you have it! Some of the Do’s and Don’ts of video editing! If you’re interested in learning more check out some of the resources Film The Hunt offers. They hold both online and seated education programs from beginners to advanced editors! Happy Hunting and good luck editing hunts!

      How To Get Started Self Filming Your Bow Hunts

      How To Get Started Self Filming Your Bow Hunts

      You hear it all the time. Guys claim that self filming hunts is extremely difficult and in certain situations they’re 100% correct. However, there are many mistakes hunters make that make self filming more difficult than it needs to be. Avoiding these mistakes can save you a lot of frustration and make self filming much easier.

      Why Self Film?

      Unless you’re a major hunting personality you probably can’t afford a cameraman for every night of the week from Mid September through November. Your buddy may initially seem willing to film on occasion but you’ll quickly learn that schedules don’t often align and by our very nature, a hunter wants to hunt, not sacrifice his evening to film you. For many of us, self filming is simply the only real way to ensure you capture your hunts on film.

      Setup is Everything.

      There will be guys that complain that their camera arm get in the way of shots. When set up properly, this rarely happens. Let’s try a little exercise. Pretend you’re in a tree. You’re standing with your bow in hand and release clipped on. It’s go time. If you’re right handed, your bow is in your left hand and vice versa. Come to imaginary full draw.  As a right handed shooter you can cover a wide variety of angles to your left but shooting across your body to the right quickly gets very awkward. I call this hard to shoot area a self filmer’s “blind spot”. You almost have to turn and face the tree completely in order to pull this off, making it the perfect spot to place a camera arm.

      Simply put,
A right handed shooter should have the camera at hip height on his/her right.
A left handed shooter should have the camera at hip height on his/her left

      Why hip height? Hip height is low enough that you can still shoot over it if need be and any frantic full draw adjustments can be made by “Hip checking” the camera arm into position.

      Know your Camera.

      The main resource that is limited because of self filming it’s time. You are trying to hunt and get the camera on the animal. That being the case you need to know the ins and outs of your camera. If running in manual mode you need to be extremely familiar with zooming, adjusting exposure and white balance, and focusing on the fly. Getting to know your camera is best done during the preseason. Spend some September afternoons filming velvet bucks in low light. Get to know your camera better than you know your bow! If looking for some help in camera knowledge, the guys at Film the Hunt are a great resource.


      

Have the Right Gear.

      Self filmers carry more gear. It’s unavoidable. You’re going to need a camera arm for smooth, solid  footage, especially at the shot. You’re going to want more batteries, POV cameras, audio gear, and more.  At the end of the day you’re trying to do the job of two, but you’re one guy. You have to seriously analyze what you’re willing to bring out with you. Packability becomes paramount, especially if you’re a mobile hunter. If you hunt the same property often and have established stands in place putting bases in every tree before season opens is a great idea. It eliminates noise and allows for quicker, consistant setups. Check out some great camera arm options here.

      Have a Backup Plan.

      Things will go wrong. It’s inevitable. One October afternoon I had a full battery and was bowhunting from the ground when a target buck stepped out 120 yards away. He was feeding with some does with no intention of moving. I opted to belly crawl through a  small ditch to get to him before last light. I snuck into forty yards, set up the tripod, turned on the camera only to discover that it had somehow turned on during my crawl and exhausted my only battery. I had to pass that buck, but believe me, I would have paid a large sum of money to have an extra battery with me that afternoon. Don’t be like me. Bring extra quick release plates, batteries, and SD cards.

      Zoom Out.

      When bowhunting the deer are generally within thirty yards, meaning your target can pretty easily move out of the frame between letting go of the camera and releasing an arrow. Don’t be afraid to “lead” that deer a little bit or zoom out altogether so that you have a little cushion where that deer can move without walking out of the frame.
Have some other tips? Be sure to add some to the comments!

      Best of luck to all you solo hunters in the field! Be sure to keep it fun and tag Fourth Arrow in your videos and photos!

      The Best Camera for Filming Hunts on a Budget (Flowchart)

      The Best Camera for Filming Hunts on a Budget (Flowchart)

      One of the most common questions we get is “What camera should I purchase for filming hunts?”  Obviously, the answer to this question varies depending on needs, budget, and type of camera desired.

      For example, you might want something simple where your camera automatically sets the focus and exposure so all you have to do is press record, aim, and shoot. Your buddy, on the other hand, wants something he can run in manual mode and fine tune in order to capture the best cinematic footage possible. His favorite camera would drive you absolutely crazy and your camera would have him overnighting a package from Bedfords or Campbell Cameras.

      In fact, finding the perfect camera for filming hunts might be comparable to finding the perfect broadhead. Every hunter has an opinion but there is no right answer. Rather than picking one camera and claiming it is the best camera for self filming or filming hunts, I created a flowchart. This gets you in the right ballpark, but does not mean the cameras listed are your only options. Note: If there is a camera you highly recommend feel free to add it in the comments!

      So what are your options? The first step is to select from three types of cameras.

      Camcorders 

      •    Easy to use
          •    Simple design
          •    Built in lens
          •    Automatic focus, aperture, and white balance standard
          •    Aren’t ideal for  “cinematic” shots
          •    Video Only

       

      DSLR & Mirrorless

      •    More complex- Most don’t have autofocus (though autofocus is available in certain lenses)
          •    Multiple lenses needed for shooting different distances
          •    Generally better in low light than consumer camcorders at same price point
          •    Perfect for cinematic shooting
          •    Great video and image capabilities

       

      Bridge cameras (* on flowchart)

      •    A bridge between camcorders and DSLR/Mirrorless cameras
          •    Built in lens with impressive zoom
          •    Easy to use or complex, depending on preference and situation.
          •    hotos are far better than camcorders but not as crisp as a DSLR/Mirrorless

       

      After picking the style of camera you are looking for you’re going to want to identify your budget and see what cameras on the flowchart match up with your needs.

      With this knowledge, I hope you find yourself more prepared to purchase the camera that best suits your needs and budget. Keep in mind that even the best camera is only as good as it’s owner. To improve on your camera skills, in the field production, and post production head on over to Filmthehunt.com and tell Tom and Nick that Fourth Arrow sent you!

      The Fourth Arrow team wishes you the best of luck in your search! If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to leave us a message via Facebook or here on the website! Lastly, please keep Fourth Arrow in mind for all of your camera arm and accessory needs!

       
      Please note: prices on flowchart were generally the cheapest prices I could find via a simple google search. If considering a Canon I strongly recommend looking into their refurbished options.