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Q&A With the Pros: Camera Equipment For Filming Hunts

by Justin Zarr 13. December 2011 03:22
Justin Zarr

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jeremy Leu of Campbell Cameras about camera equipment and methods for filming your very own hunt.  There is a lot of information available in regards to the equipment and tactics of filming hunts, these are answers for just a few of the most common questions we hear... 

Q: If you’re a bow hunter looking to film your own hunts, what are the bare essentials that you’ll need to get started?   

A: A good mid range compact HD camcorder package like the Canon HFS30 Whitetail package will have everything you need to get started.  The bare essentials would include a camera, camera arm, camera case, recording media and a spare battery.  From here you can add to and upgrade your camera equipment.

The Canon HFS30 is an excellent package to start filming your hunts!


Q: Assuming you have a partner with you to run the camera while you hunt, is there any additional or special equipment that you should consider purchasing?

A: If you can budget for it I would scale up on everything if you have a dedicated videographer. Most of us operate on a budget so the items would definitely suggest are a LANC controller and wireless microphones.

 

Q: When picking out a camera to use, what do you believe are the most important features to look for?

A: The things I would look for are; Low Lux rating, 10x to 20x Optical zoom, manual focus option and 1080 HD recording format.

 

Q: What do you think are the most important technical features that every amateur videographer should learn about their camera and other equipment? 

A: Learn to use manual Focus!! Also don’t over use your zoom!  Zooming in and out can  be nauseating for an audience, only allow the subject to fill up about 1/3 of the screen.

 

Q: What camera and camera arm combo is the best bang for your buck right now?

A: The Sony NX70U and the 3rd Arm Bandit is a great setup.

Jeremy picks the Sony NX70U as the best "bang for your buck" camera.


Q: What are your feelings on Point-of-View (POV) cameras like the Epic Cam and GoPro?

A: Point of View cameras are a necessary tool for all videographers now days, solo hunt videographers especially. It allows the self videographer to set up multiple views from their stand live as they happen. I don’t go into the field without at least 1 but usually have 2 or 3.

This is a still photo taken from a video recorded by my Epic Cam.


Q: When filming by yourself where is the optimal location to mount your camera?

A: I prefer to have the camera on a small tree arm in front of me, centered but down low. That way when I stand up to get ready for the shot I can shoot over top of the camera and get full range of motion for filming.

 

Q: When filming with a partner, where should the cameraman be located in relation to the hunter?

A: Of course opinions vary and there is no true right or wrong way, I like to position the camera stand 90 degrees to my right and high enough to not affect my shot but low enough to allow the camera operator to get that perfect over the shoulder shot.

There is no "perfect set" for every situation, but this is one we strive for.

 

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see amateur cameramen make while filming hunts?

A: Using auto focus and zooming in too tight or zooming in and out too much. Also audio can be over looked by beginners.

Using manual focus is key when it comes to filming quality hunts.

Q: What are the top 4 things you should check on your camera every time you go into the woods?

A: Make sure the batteries are charged, card or tape capacity checked, lens is cleaned and free of scratches and the audio is operating properly.

 

Q: Is the extra time and money really worth it in the end?

A: Depends on what level you are at or what you plan to do but any HD camera will provide good quality footage, the difference is in the lens size, low light capability, and size and number of sensors for color processing.  

Sometimes cameras, equipment and everything that goes with filming a hunt can be quite overwhelming for something that most of us do as a hobby.  If you have questions about camera gear don't hesitate contact the guys at Campbell Cameras and they'll be sure to give you sound advice, whatever your goal may be.  Also, don't forget to check out the photo/video forum right here at bowhunting.com!

The Highs and Lows of Self Filming

by John Mueller 7. November 2011 14:11
John Mueller

Self filming your hunts can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your hunting career when you capture that trophy of a lifetime on video or as I recently discovered, the most disappointing. You must remember to hit record to capture that hunt of a lifetime. I was recently bowhunting on my property and had a nice buck put on a fine show, but I never hit the record button. So I’ll relive the hunt in written form for you to enjoy.

The evening prior to my hunt I had seen my first shooter buck of the season cruise over the ridge I was hunting on. Later I could hear him grunting down the hillside, presumably chasing does. Once the chasing starts happening on my farm I have a stand I head to down in a hollow. There are a bunch of small fingers that feed into the area around my stand and the bucks cruise up and down these fingers and through the bottom looking for receptive does. I purposely have stayed out of this area, leaving it alone until the chasing starts.

The ridge the buck took down into the hollow in front of my stand.

My Lone Wolf Hang On high in a Hickory Tree.

It was particularly windy that late October afternoon when I headed down to the stand nicknamed “The Well”, for it’s location in the bottom of the hollow. I figured the wind would also push deer movement down out of the windy conditions. Once settled in I could see both scrapes and rubs from my stand. To say I was excited is an understatement. My first deer sighting was a small fork horned buck. This was appropriate; I think I’ve turned into a fork horn magnet this year. I’ve seen more of them than any other type of deer. I did get some good video of him passing by the stand and working a scrape, completely unaware of my presence.

One of the many scrapes in the bottom of the hollow.

A good sized rub nerby my stand.

About 6:00 I spotted a deer coming down one of the fingers in front of me. I threw up my binos and saw decent antlers on its head. In one motion I stood up turned on my Canon XA10 and wireless mics and grabbed my bow. I glanced up and he was still traveling straight to my stand. I searched for the buck in the cameras view finder. Considering I use reading glasses whenever I need to see something closer than arms length, this is no easy task. I finally find him on the screen and zoom in, all the while trying to decide if I’m going to shoot this buck. He’s no monster by any means, but I haven’t shot a buck in 2 years, so he’s looking pretty good to me. He proceeds down the small ridge into the bottom and stops at a scrape 15 yards directly in front of me. I swing the camera on him and catch him working over the earth in the scrape and then he turns his attention to the licking branch. First he rakes it back and forth with his antlers and forehead, and then he takes it in his mouth and deposits his saliva all over it marking it as his. Well after that show I figure this will make a great episode for Bowhunt or Die and if he offers me a shot, I’ll take it. After working the scrape for a few minutes the bucks takes a few steps and slightly quarters away and stops. I draw back, take aim high on his last rib and touch off the shot. I see my arrow disappear and the buck blasts off across the hollow and up the other side. As he comes to a stop 1/3 of the way up I swing the camera over and find him in the viewfinder just as he starts to crash down the hillside and come to rest on the floor of the hollow.

I’m thinking, wow did that just happen, that was awesome and spin the camera around to catch my reaction…………That’s when I notice the little light in the viewfinder that is supposed to be red………is still green. In my excitement to find the buck in the viewfinder as he was originally coming down the hillside, I never hit the record button. I had just failed to capture the whole hunt on video. So now I had a borderline shooter buck on the ground with absolutely no video footage of the kill. I wanted to jump out of the stand with my safety line around my neck. I literally felt sick to my stomach, as you can see in this week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die. This is not the reaction I wanted to record when I swung the camera around after the buck hit the ground.

There was a great blood trail, but I didn't need it this time, I watched him crash.

So about all you get from this buck harvest is my sick feeling in the stand, a shot of the bloody arrow, a short walk to the buck (interrupted by a neighbor) and me sitting behind the buck the next morning. I really didn’t feel much like filming after I got down out of the tree that night and I had to get 2 buddies just to help me get him out of that hollow. It’s too steep to drive my four wheeler down there to haul him out.

The buck I thought I was making a "Movie Star" out of.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy filming my hunts and have some great footage from other hunts that I will no doubt relive time and again in the future. But this was the low of lows and I can assure you it will NEVER happen to me again. If you don’t already do so, I highly recommend videoing your own hunts or team up with a partner and capture your hunts on video. When it all works out you have memories for the rest of your lives to share with family and friends and the hunting community. When you do decide to start videoing your hunts, give our friends at Campbell Cameras a call. They have everything you need to get started from cameras to wireless mics, tree arms and all the accessories too. Happy filming………..and don’t forget to hit RECORD!!

Campbell Outdoor Video School: Learn To Self-Film Your Bowhunts

by Bow Staff 24. February 2011 08:38
Bow Staff

Would you like to learn how to film like the pros? Get tip and tricks to break into the industry? Learn from the best outdoor videographers in the industry? If you would like to start your outdoor filming career today attend the 2011 Campbell Cameras Outdoor Videography School.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!

 

No experience? No camera equipment? NO PROBLEM!

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!

 

Learn everything from starting your own outdoor television show to how to obtain sponsorships to in depth outdoor video techniques. This video school will supply you with the tools and knowledge youneed to be successful in this remarkable outdoor industry!

When: April 13-15, 2011

            May 18-20, 2011

Where: Carmi, IL

Our Price: $1295.00/Person*

*Includes Lodging and Meals

Visit Campbell Cameras website to learn more about the Campbell Cameras Outdoor Video School!

Archery Opener in Wisconsin; Bowhunting The Early Season

by Cody Altizer 20. September 2010 10:18
Cody Altizer

The morning of Saturday, September 18th, began a new chapter in my short hunting career; the role of camera man.  Bowhunting.Com founder, Todd Graf, and I left Huntley, Illinois Saturday morning around eight and headed north to Central Wisconsin for the archery opener.  I was experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. The anticipation and excitement of sitting in a tree stand 900 miles from home to the nervousness of making sure I pressed record when we saw deer!  Nevertheless, Todd and I were eager to hunt some whitetails.
    We chose to sit out opening morning, because as many of you know, morning hunts during the early season can make for some long, uneventful hours in a tree.  On the drive up we were tremendously surprised by how far ahead the areas farmers had gotten.  Many of the corn and soybean fields had been picked clean, with combines running continuously through the fields that still had crops standing.  Less standing corn will give those old, mature bucks less places to hide!

My camera setup for 2010 purchased from Campbell Cameras through their brand new website constructed by the Rhino Group.  This fall will be my first season seriously filming myself and others.  It adds a whole new dimension to the hunt which can be frustrating at times, but rewarding all the same.

    Saturday afternoon found Todd and me sitting in a double set in some pine trees overlooking a corn field where Todd had some good day time trail camera photos on his Reconyx and CamTrakker cameras.  With a west wind forecasted we were sure we would have some action.  Unfortunately, as the sun began to set and the afternoon started to cool, the thermals began to swirl.  We ended up seeing 8-10 does Saturday afternoon, but were busted by several more.  The way our stands were hung in the thick pine trees, deer could literally be right under our stands without us knowing they were there.  We found this out the hard way.  A few times were sitting comfortably in our stand, only to be frightened by the sound of deer blowing at us.  I believe we were just as scared by them as they were of us!  That wasn’t the only thing that went wrong, either.  Todd and I were extremely clumsy in the stand with our gear.  Throughout the course of the afternoon we dropped Todd’s bow and my camera arm.  In spite of our misfortune, we still saw deer which is always a good thing.

My view from our opening day stand in Wisconsin.  Despite being 900 miles from home, I quickly found that the tranquility and peacefulness of bowhunting follows you everywhere.

    We opted to pass on a Sunday morning hunt, instead Todd and his friend, Paul Mazur, scouted around their swamp dominated hunting property.  Hoping to hunt the pine tree set again that afternoon with a more favorable wind, we were bummed to find an east wind forecasted. So we got creative and did a quick speed scouting session only to find a great spot. It was a phenomenal pinch point littered with acorns dotted with early season scrapes.  We hung our stands, trimmed some shooting lanes and got settled in for another promising afternoon.  Again, we were skunked by the whitetail!  We saw a couple does and fawns with Todd passing on a easy shot on one of the does.  With the entire season ahead of him, passing on an early season doe isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Todd drawing his bow back in preparation for the evening hunt. It's always a good idea to draw your bow when you get in stand in case you have to trim any last minute shooting lanes.

    Convinced that we had found a great spot the night before, we headed to the pinch point with another unusual east wind the following morning.  The spot just looked too good to not hunt there.  A lone doe made her way by our stand, unfortunately, it was at dawn and not enough camera light allowed for an attempted shot.  The rest of the morning passed without incident, except for the three turkeys that, unbeknownst to me, managed pick us out of our tree stand over 100 yards away while we remained motionless with ample cover in stand.  Those birds have some incredible eye sight!  Again, we came away empty handed but we still some saw some animals which makes any hunt worthwhile.

It's important to make sure "all systems are go" when filming hunts.  There is a lot that goes into capturing good footage and telling a good story, but it's worth it when you can play the video back after the hunt.

     Opening weekend in Wisconsin was like riding a rollercoaster.  We were up and down, up and down.  We were clumsy with our gear, unorganized in the stand and educated several deer.  However, we were blessed with beautiful fall weather, a couple close encounters, discovered a bountiful acorn crop (which seems to be consistent across the country) and found an awesome pinch point for future hunts.  Sound familiar?  Early season hunting is just that, a roller coaster, but that’s what makes it so much fun!  Good luck to all you fortunate bowhunters who get the unique chance to hunt September while the rest of us have to wait until October.  God Bless and Happy Hunting!

Bowhunting.com and the colors of early fall, our favorite time of year is upon us.  Get out there, be safe and enjoy yourselves this fall!

First Deer of the Season

by Josh Fletcher 11. November 2008 15:24
Josh Fletcher

It was several weeks into the opener of the Wisconsin archery season and I haven’t seen a buck yet. I’m hunting in central Wisconsin, and I’ve seen and passed up several opportunities at good does. This year handed us a warm season with temperatures in the eighties and rain almost every day I sat in the stand. I let the does walk do to the fact that I had several photos of good bucks on my game cameras during day light hours and I wanted to key into an early season buck.  However it was now several weeks into the archery season and I haven’t seen a buck yet this year.  The temperatures dropped into the fifties and with the fall crispness in the air, I knew it was go time.  With my camera man behind me filming every move this year, it was time to do some herd management. Now first let me tell you about my camera man Chad. This is his first year behind the camera, but with training from White Knuckle Productions we have him sharp as a tack. He stands 6’ 2” and is built like a brick house. Why am I telling you this? To show my intelligence because he makes a great work mule! He can carry two tree stands,  all of his camera gear and drag a deer at the same time! With Chad behind the camera and a bow in my hand we hung a set on a T- intersection of a logging road. Just off of the logging road is a cut corn field that the deer have been feeding in. It wasn’t long when a young doe came walking down the logging road offering me a twelve yard shot. After making sure that Chad had the deer on camera, I settled my Fifteen yard pin at the shoulder crease. I squeezed the trigger and the arrow drove home.  Half of the arrow was sticking out of the doe as she bolted for the thick cover. Within several leaps and bounds she was out of our sight but her hasty flight was quite loud, with in several seconds we could hear the doe crashing around approximately eighty yards away, followed up by deafening silence.  She was down!! We just harvested a doe and helped with the herd control in Wisconsin.  After giving the doe some time, just to be safe, we took up on the track. After a short track and a good blood trail we recovered my first deer of the 2008 archery season! Not only did I take a nice doe for the freezer but I also realized that even a small doe still gets my heart pumping, and more importantly, memories and stories for around the camp fire were made.

 

Chad is ready for his time out! Was he ready for the task or not - only time would tell.

It did not take long to get set up and the action started. Chad looks like he was warmend up and ready for the job.

Here I am with my first harvest of the year and I have now earned an additional Earn-A-Buck Sticker!

Chad ended up doing  a great job in capturing the entire hunting on film. "Thanks Chad" Now its time to find a nice buck.




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