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      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.

      Four Ways you can Improve your Turkey Hunting Footage

      Four Ways you can Improve your Turkey Hunting Footage

      By Tracy Breen

      Turkey season is upon us!  One thing more turkey hunters are doing is filming their own turkey hunts.  It seems there are two types of filmed turkey hunts.  Amazing films that capture everything turkey hunting is about and films that show a gobble or two, some blurry footage of a turkey, and a loud boom.  Dr. Grant Woods of GrowingDeer TV films countless turkey hunts every year.  Woods loves turkey hunting and he enjoys capturing the hunt on film.  Below are a few of his tips to ensure you end up with a film all your friends will want to watch.   

      KEEPING CAMERA GEAR CONCEALED

      Most turkey hunters run and gun at some point during their season. Unlike deer hunting where most hunters are stationary and can take their time setting up their camera, turkey hunting requires hunters to be on the move which often makes filming more difficult.  “Often turkey hunters are forced to set up in a hurry so little details like making sure the camera is completely concealed gets missed.  A turkey will spook the moment they see a big black camera or a bright shiny camera lens.  We try to hide the cameraman near a big tree or bush.  Then we cover the camera with a cloth so the birds can’t see the camera or the lens.  Carrying all this around when we are hunting can be difficult, but it is worth the effort because we spook fewer birds and get better footage,” Woods explained.   

      A DECOY IS A MUST HAVE TOOL

      Turkeys hunters often debate whether they should use decoys when turkey hunting because decoys can sometimes spook birds.  According to Woods, decoys are often required when filming a hunt.  “A decoy takes the birds’ attention off where the calling is coming from and then they focus on the decoy.  We put the decoy about twenty yards from our set up and even closer if we are bowhunting.  With a decoy close, we can get good footage of a tom when he comes into the decoy,” Woods added.     

      HUNTING FROM A BLIND

      When Woods and his team notice a tom and his ladies are regularly hanging out in a food plot or field, they often set up a Redneck Blind near the field edge. “The wonderful thing about hunting out of a blind is it conceals your movement and the turkeys don’t seem to get spooked by a blind.  They don’t pay attention to them.  In addition, all the filming from a blind is much easier than running and gunning.  Every turkey hunter should have a blind, especially if a person is going to bow hunt.  A blind conceals the camera man and the hunter when they draw their bow,” Woods noted.

       THE REX ARM

      One item that has changed the way Woods and his team films turkey hunts is the Rex Arm from Fourth Arrow Camera Arms. This camera arm can be used with almost any tripod and it allows the hunter to move the arm with the camera attached without moving the tripod when filming. “Turkeys often come strutting in and moving around.  In order to keep them in the viewfinder, we have to move the tripod.  The Rex arm is an efficient system, allowing the hunter to utilize 360 degree movement within a 10-inch radius of the tripod.  Now we can easily move the camera and keep up with the gobbler without having to jerk the tripod around.  It minimizes movement and increases the quality of our footage,” Woods added.
       

      Filming a turkey hunt is fun and exciting. Hopefully the tips above will help you produce a better film this spring that you will be able to enjoy for years to come.

      5 Reasons not to Purchase a Point of View Camera to Film your Hunt

      5 Reasons not to Purchase a Point of View Camera to Film your Hunt

      By Tracy Breen


      When it comes to filming a hunt, there are many opinions. Fill a room full of cameramen and they will all share an opinion on which editing software is best, which camera arm is best, and how to position a treestand perfectly for filming a hunt. The opinions will vary and some will disagree with each other. One thing all camera guys will likely agree on is that point of view cameras aren’t a good investment for those who want to capture great footage.


      Grant Woods from GrowingDeer TV spends countless hours in a tree every fall with a camera man over his shoulder. Over the years, they have come to one conclusion: point of view cameras are good for one thing: getting footage of the hunter taking the shot. That’s about it. “Point of view camera companies do a great job of marketing the cameras so many people buy them but besides being lightweight and easy to use, they aren’t a good camera to record a hunt with,” Woods said.


      Below are a few reasons Woods believes hunters wanting to film a hunt should not purchase a point of view camera.


      POINT OF VIEW CAMERAS CAN’T CAPTURE THE DETAIL


      “These cameras are not detail oriented. You can see very little of what is going on at twenty or thirty yards with one of these cameras, which is where most shots are taken with a bow. You can hardly see the deer in the footage,” Woods said. We film hunts so we can watch the footage and see the action after the hunt. With a point of view camera, you can’t really watch and enjoy the footage.


      SEEING SHOT PLACEMENT IS DIFFICULT


      Filming hunts has changed the way we recover deer. Make no mistake: filming hunts has increased the number of deer that are recovered. “With a real camera, I can watch the footage after a hunt and see where an arrow hit exactly. Based on the shot placement, I can decide if I want to try to recover the animal right away or give it time. I can see if I hit the deer in the lungs, a little back, or a little high. Filming has changed the game for us. It is difficult to see exactly where you hit a deer when using a point of view camera,” Woods explained. “One of the greatest benefits of filming a hunt is being able to watch the kill shot over and over after the fact. That is lost when filming with a point of view camera.”


      THE AUDIO ISN’T VERY GOOD


      “Point of view cameras do not capture very good audio, therefore if you are talking with your buddy in the tree or want to hear what is going on around you after the fact, the camera won’t do it. If person is on a dirt bike or using a loud machine, it will capture that kind of noise but subtle noises like birds chirping, people talking and other noises we hear in the woods won’t be captured well,” Woods explained.


      POINT OF VIEW CAMERAS WERE NOT DESIGNED FOR FILMING HUNTS


      “Point of view cameras were not designed and manufactured to capture the type of video footage a hunter wants or needs to produce a quality production. They are perfect for action sports but not hunting. When someone wants to film a hunt, they should invest in a camera that can do a good job of filming a hunt,” Woods said.


      POINT OF VIEW CAMERAS ARE PRICEY


      “Point of view cameras are pretty expensive for what you get. They really aren’t a good value. For about the same amount of money, a person can buy a real camera that they can use to produce a quality video they would want their friends and family to watch,” Woods advised.


      Do you own a point of view camera and regret the purchase? Are you considering purchasing a camera to hunt with this fall? Save your money and invest in a camera that can actually capture high quality footage you would enjoy watching with a bowl of popcorn and a cold drink.