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!