Welcome 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...
In 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 about 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.
Hunting ‘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 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
B 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!
Once 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!