Friday, 04 April 2014 11:47

Film Your Hunt Part II

Josh with GobblerWelcome to Part II of Film Your Hunt…In my last blog I covered the basics about the main parts of some filming equipment and some of the options you have at your disposal should you decide to go out and buy a filming ‘rig’. So, now that you have gone out and spent some of your hard earned ‘jack’ on gear, let’s dive right into the part that’s the most rewarding and fun…the filming part. I’ve gotta be honest with you…this is the part that I’m still figuring out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning when it comes to filming. I learn something each and every time I turn on a camera. Not just trying to record good footage for our TV show, but actually learning about what I’m doing and what makes a great shot. Being able to take creative ideas and share that with someone else through the lens of a camera is what I really love trying to accomplish. Hopefully, after reading this blog, you’ll have some creative ideas of your own and can incorporate those into some amazing footage to share with your friends and family. Or better yet, you could submit that footage to SVOutdoors for our Film Your Hunt segment and potentially have your hunt aired on our TV show this fall. I’m going to break this down into four (4) areas that, in my mind, cover everything that an audience needs to see to stay engaged in your storyline so let’s get started...


Josh InterviewIn Field Interviews…In my mind, there are four main types of in the field interviews. The pre-hunt, the update, the recovery and the post hunt interview. Let’s talk about all four quickly. The Pre-Hunt Interview is usually, but not always, conducted at the stand site or blind location. Right at first light or right after getting to your setup for an afternoon hunt, the hunter lets the viewers know simply what’s going on. Be as descriptive as possible without being too wordy. You can go to our Episodes page on our website or watch some YouTube or Vimeo videos and see how these types of interviews are done. Once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes rather easy to explain the setup and the situation in a minute or so. The Update Interview simply gives the viewers an update on what you’ve seen so far during your sit. I for one like to sit all day when it’s really good hunting and you simply can’t bring all that footage to the viewer so having one or two short update interviews in the middle of the hunt is always good. Talk Buck in frameabout how many deer, turkey, bear, etc. you’ve seen and just let the viewers know how it’s been going so far. The update interview (to me) is also an interview you do after shooting an animal. Your emotions are running high and you’re excited (or disappopinted). Let the camera capture all that emotion so you can share it with your viewers. The Recovery Interview is the awesome interview you get to do while sitting behind your trophy. Clean your animal a little with field wipes, sit behind it lookin’ sharp in all your gear and talk about the experience. Sometimes there is history with the animal or you’ve never seen it before and it just popped out of nowhere or it’s simply a successful hunt with a doe or youth. This is the most exciting interview and it shows off your trophy so have fun with it and don’t be afraid to smile and show some emotion. You just had a successful hunt and you’re happy! Show it! Hunters who act all ‘hardcore’ or ‘super cool’ just get on my nerves. We all know that inside you’re jumping up and down like a 4 yr old at his/her birthday party so let it out and have a good time with it. The Post-Hunt Interview simply closes out the day or that particular sit/hunt so tell us what went on and what the plan is for the next hunt. There may be weather moving in or you have to go back to work or your wife may be having a baby…on second thought, if she’s having a baby you should probably just get home or head to the hospital and do an interview later. J Whatever it is…explain the situation and let the viewers know how the hunt went. During all these interviews, be yourself. Act as you normally would and just have fun. People can tell when you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera so just try to block it out and pretend like you’re talking to one of your hunting buddies. Remember to keep eye contact with the camera as much as possible. Don’t be looking around or fooling with your gear too much. Engage the viewer by talking to them and your interviews will turn out great.


Black Fox SquirrelHunting ‘Events’ as they happen…This is some of the most important footage that you’ll be shooting. The animals that you see during your hunt need to be seen by the viewer. If you’re talking about seeing all these deer,
turkey, bear, etc. in your interviews, but you have no footage of them, it takes away from the story line of your hunt (and obviously no one will believe you saw Bigfoot if you don’t have video of him). Film EVERYTHING that moves. Hopefully you bought a big enough SD card and some extra batteries for your camera because this is where you’ll need them. I film everything from squirrels to birds, deer, turkey, opossums, raccoons, etc. You name it and if it moves, I film it. Heck, I’ve even filmed friends walking to their stand or planes and helicopters flying over my hunting area. Having all this footage will help during the editing process. If you think about it, when the time comes to actually film your shot at an animal, that footage is only as little as 30 seconds sometimes. It can happen that fast! What else do you have to tell your story? Film it all and then review it later to find those moments that really stand out that you would want to use for your final cut. When filming these animals, make sure you get a good focus on them using manual focus (if supported by your camera) and also fill the screen the best you can with the animal. Give some ‘lead room’ on an animal that’s walking instead of trying to keep it directly in the middle of the frame. Having that fluid head on your camera arm or your tripod will help dramatically with staying smooth and moving with an animal. It takes some practice, but you’ll get it with a little camera time.


Session Interview with JoshSession Interviews…After your hunt(s), sometimes days or weeks later, sit down and talk a little more in detail about your adventure. Sometimes it’s not all happening in one day. You may have been hunting a certain buck for a week or more and you have several hunts and interviews to try to roll into one segment of video. Conducting session interviews and narrating the story makes for a great video and storyline. You keep the viewer’s attention and can use the voice over while your hunting or b roll footage is playing. Session interviews can be conducted virtually anywhere. Just pick a spot with good lighting for you with a ‘cool’ background that adds some depth to your ‘film set’ and talk about the footage that we’re going to see. I like these interviews to be done without camo or face paint. It’s the ‘real’ you just sitting or standing there talking about your experience. Again, be yourself. Smile and include some humor just like you would be talking to one of your buddies. This makes for great footage and really can bring all your hunting footage together into a nice segment to share with others. Remember to keep that eye contact with your viewers. Look at the lens of the camera and not the view finder. You’re talking directly to the viewer no matter what means of media they’re using to watch you (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.) so make sure you’re looking at them. J


Time Lapse FootageB Roll Footage…Something I would consider fairly new to the industry is this term B Roll footage. Another name for it could be ‘fill’ or ‘secondary’ footage. This is where your creative mind can be unleashed. Time lapse shots, focusing shots, using sliders, jibs or my personal favorite, the helicopters for the POV cams…all these techniques (and many more) are used to turn an ordinary video scenario into something that is very catchy and it grabs the attention of the viewers. To be honest, the first time I saw this type of footage, my jaw dropped. Sure you’ve seen really cool camera movements by the Hollywood cameras, but who would have thought that adding that kind of ‘flare’ and ‘flash’ to hunting footage would make it that AWESOME. It does! This footage inserted in the right areas during the production phase can change the mood or emotion of the video. It’s very helpful to have a camera man when filming b roll footage (especially if you’re in it), but most shots can be done by yourself. The key is just being creative. Thinking of shots that you’ve never seen before or one you’ve seen before, but you have a better idea. There are several industry leading hunting shows that now use b roll footage in every episode. During their intros, transitions to segments of the show, even when they’re filming commercials for their sponsors…b roll footage simply makes for awesome video segments to add to final production. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try something crazy. It just may turn out to be an awesome clip and you can use it in your final edit!



Tommy Long SpursOnce again, this has turned out to be a lot of information, but the cool thing is, this blog isn’t going anywhere so if you need to you can come back to it for reference. Don’t forget that watching what other people do can spark an idea. I watch a lot of YouTube and Vimeo videos to help me with ideas and to help me learn what works best. Simply searching for ‘What is B Roll?’ or ‘How to film interviews?’ on YouTube can yield you a ton of information. I watch a lot of professional videographer’s videos that have nothing to do with the hunting industry, but taking what I learn from them and applying it to my business with SVO helps tremendously. I think the coolest thing about all of this is that it’s your footage and your ideas and your creativity. The end result matters only to you so get out there and have fun with it. Film, learn, share and enjoy! That’s what it’s all about…Good Luck!


As always…shoot ‘em straight! 


Published in The Blog
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:24

Film Your Hunt

Film Your Hunt

It wasn’t long ago that I started developing an interest in filming my hunts and started laying down footage from my own adventures. I guess you could say that outdoor television and hunting DVDs sold me on the fact that…’I can buy a camera and do that myself’! It all started, for me, with just a simple video camera mounted on my bow. I had a blast recording squirrels, birds, deer and other forest dwellers in their natural habitat and undisturbed state. It wasn’t professional, high quality footage with great audio, but it was mine. These were my adventures on film and I could do anything with them or show them toSmall HD camera on Bow mount anyone I wanted. Taking that footage back home and watching it on my computer or TV was and still is a blast. I didn’t have to harvest something that day to be excited about reviewing the footage. Just being able to enjoy the outdoors and then play it back to enjoy it again is something I love to do and something I enjoy sharing with my kids. I began playing around with the footage and editing it with some simple software to show my friends and family and I even got up enough nerve to upload some of those videos to YouTube. It was just another fun and interesting way to share my adventures. Simply learning and experimenting with filming my hunts landed me the opportunity to meet our producer, Mike Price, and eventually join the team here at SVO. My arsenal of camera gear for filming my own hunts has grown from one small HD camera mounted on my bow to a ‘prosumer’ style camera running off of a camera arm or tripod and a couple of second presence POV (point of view) cameras. I told my wife that I was buying these cameras not only for hunting, but for family events and to help ‘saver the memories as our children grew’. (Pretty slick huh?) Now most of our ‘family’ cameras are wrapped in camo and have multiple adapters for tree arms, fluid heads, tripods and other filming platforms. Heck, some of my older tripods have even been painted or taped to help me stay concealed while using them in the field. LOL


GoPro Angle from TreestandThinking about all that I have gone through with learning new techniques and experimenting with different filming gear, I know there are others out there in our viewing audience who share the same passion as I do for this stuff. At one of our production meetings, I pitched the idea to the guys about having a viewer driven ‘Film Your Hunt’ segment on the show. This would give YOU the opportunity to share your hunt with us. This would give us the excitement of watching another fellow outdoorsman or woman fill a tag or film someone else filling their tag. So that’s what we’re gonna do. Here’s your chance to show us what you’ve got! Your deer, bear, turkey, hog, etc. hunt could be edited by our production company and appear on SVOutdoors this fall. We will review the raw/unedited footage you submit to us and select the cream of the crop to fill our 13 slots for season 2. (Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information on submitting your footage.) If you already film your hunts, then you have a leg up, but if you’re interested in getting started, I’m going to talk a little about some of the equipment you’ll need and some of the things I’ve learned over the past few years of doing this. Once again, I’m not a professional! This is what works for me and these are my opinions.



Wanna Buy A Camera?Canon HF G30

First and foremost, it’s important to have a good Full HD video camera. I’m not going to recommend that everyone who wants to do this run out and spend $1,500 on camera gear. For one, that’s not in everyone’s budget and for two, it’s simply not necessary to spend that kind of money to have a decent filming setup. There are many affordable cameras on the market now that will record in Full HD. Finding a camera that will record in Full HD is the easy part. Finding a camera that will record in Full HD and record good audio is a different story. Audio is very important to filming your hunt. If the audience can’t hear what you’re saying during your interviews or hear that turkey gobble from just over the ridge, it (to me) takes the emotion and excitement out of the footage. During post production, video can be edited or ‘fixed’ to an extent, but if you have poor audio, even the best footage becomes basically useless for television. Do some research before purchasing a camera. Make sure there are options for using some form of external mic (wireless or shotgun) and you’ll be happy you did. It’s also important that your camera has the ability for you to use manual focus. Leaves, branches, twigs, blades of grass and anything else between you and your target will quickly grab the attention of your auto focus and your footage will not turn out the way you desired. It takes some practice, but once you get the manual focus down with your equipment, your footage will be exciting to watch.


Camera Mounting Options

Canon on Tree ArmThe next thing I would recommend is to think about how you hunt. Are you mostly a treestand hunter? Do you mostly hunt out of box or ground blinds? Do you run & gun or spot & stalk? Do you hunt with other people who would be willing to film for you and you for them? Answering these simple questions will allow you to make your next gear purchase much easier. I’m talking about mounting options for your camera. Cameras can be mounted on a lot of different things. Camera arms for treestand setups, tripods for blinds or spot and stalk hunting or even camera ‘shelves’ for your gun or bow are readily available for purchase. Finding the right gear that fits your hunting style is the most important thing. I do highly recommend some form of camera stabilization. Trying to film freehand simply results in ‘herky-jerky’ footage that no one can hardly sit through without getting dizzy or changing the channel. Very few people have the steady hand it takes to not shake when that big buck is close or jerk when they’re surprised by the shot going off.Canon on Tripod


Protect Your Investment

After you have your main setup, the next most important thing is how you’re going to safely and securely pack your gear back to your favorite honey hole. Carrying camera gear along with our already full packs of calls, scents, extra clothing, etc. just adds more weight and takes up space. Securing your expensive camera gear is important to successfully filming your hunts over and over again. Be careful not to pack things to tightly. You may inadvertently turn something on and waste precious battery life or even storage space on your SD card. Just make sure you have a system and that you practice with your setup time and time again before you hit the woods. I can quietly get everything out of my packs and setup my camera arm, camera, shotgun mic and second presence cameras without a light in the mornings and when tearing down in the evenings. That’s important especially since these animals we hunt are already hard to kill.

Backpack for Gear 

Get Fancy With It & Be Creative

If you still have some coin in your pocket after your purchases of a camera, mounting system and pack, it’s time to start thinking about a second presence camera. This is usually a single or multiple set of cameras that are placed around your hunting setup. I personally like and utilize the GoPro series of cameras. These POV (point of view) cameras are great for second angles of the hunter’s setup or facing where the hunter expects that game will come from or go to. POVs around decoys are awesome and can produce some amazing footage as well. Having these second angles to addLANC Remote Controller to your footage really brings the viewer into your setup with you and simply can add some really cool shots to your final production. Back in the day, hunting teams would have to shoot ‘re-creates’ to add to their final production cuts. That’s why on some of the older hunting shows you’ll see guys pull their bows back with fewer arrows in the quiver, or they’re suddenly not wearing binoculars or a range finder, or they’re even shooting an arrow with a field tip on it instead of a broadhead. I’ve seen several mistakes in these re-creates by some of the top production teams in the industry. Having these multiple angles simply eliminates the need to go back and re-create shots. They capture everything from the emotion of the hunter to the reaction of the animal in real time just as it happened. They’re simply awesome to have and can be mounted in many different ways. Most of the POV cameras can be controlled by your smart phone or a separate remote. I know the GoPro Hero 3 series remote can control up to fifty (50), that’s right…fifty (50) different GoPro cameras. That’s a lot of angles and a lot of footage. J

Accessorize For Greater SuccessGoPro on Bow Hanger

Some accessories can be purchased later down the road if you really get serious about filming your hunts. I for one self-film some of my hunts and having a one arm/hand operation for my setup is key to my success playing both cameraman and hunter. A LANC controller or zoom remote can be added to certain cameras. This allows the cameraman or hunter to have all the controls of the camera by simply using his/her thumb. I can power on/off the camera, record, zoom and focus all with a single hand operation. Not to mention the minimal movement that is required to do all this with one hand instead of two. This becomes especially important when hunting from the ground down at eye level with our targeted game. Not all cameras support these types of remote control so before you purchase your camera, check on this option as well if you’re interested. There are a ton of accessories out there for outdoor filming so be creative and try something that you haven’t seen before. It just might turn out really cool and land you on the ‘Film Your Hunt’ segment on SVOutdoors this fall!


GoPro on TripodWOW! That was a lot of information and this has turned out to be a very long blog. I didn’t even touch on the world of DSLR cameras, but I think for the sake of this post, it wasn’t necessary. Sorry, but I can talk for hours about this stuff so after covering the equipment suggestions in this blog, come back next time and I’ll cover some tips and ideas for capturing footage that you can use to make an exciting hunt and tell your story. Until then…

Shoot ‘em straight! 


Published in The Blog