There is a growing trend of people filming their hunts, and it’s a good thing. It’s easier than ever to capture high-quality video. Many people have a camera that can record 4K, slow motion and time-lapse in their pockets. Your cell phone. Social media makes it easy to share your content with the world via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media.
If you don’t have a video camera, you should. It’s worth it to be able to relive your hunt memories and share them with others.
First, you will need a camera. The best camera is the one that you already own, which is often your phone. There are many high-quality cameras available at an affordable price if you want to improve your filmmaking skills.
There are many options available and I cannot possibly cover them all. However, I will give you some tips and point you in the right direction. You have four options, other than a GoPro or a smartphone, to pick from.
Read: How to film a hunt with a GoPro
Each one has its pros and cons. It all depends on what you need and how much money you are willing to spend to learn how to use the camera. A standard video camera is best for someone who needs simplicity and ease-of-use. These cameras are very affordable and many of them now shoot 4K, like the Sony Handycams. A video camera also has the added advantage of a built in superzoom. This will let you zoom in on an animal while hunting without changing lenses. Video cameras are a versatile and very useful option.
While action cameras have their place, they can capture some truly unique angles while also being waterproof and durable. However, they are limited in functionality and not as versatile as other options. The main problem with a GoPro camera is the poor audio quality. However, these cameras can still take good images and can even shoot 4k.
Point and shoot cameras are becoming increasingly popular as more people start to vlog. Many cameras have a flip-out screen that allows you see yourself while you record. The Sony rx100 and the Canon G7x are two examples. These cameras are very affordable and simple to use. They can be carried in your pocket and have microphones built into the top of the camera. However, the audio quality won’t be as good. You can also take high-quality pictures with the camera. These are the perfect choice if you want something simple that I can take high quality photos and videos with.
A DSLR or mirrorless camera is best for those who want the highest quality, and more artistic and cinematic footage. This category includes great cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Panasonic.
These cameras are not only difficult to use because you have to carry multiple lenses, but they can also be very rewarding in the end. A DSLR or mirrorless camera is a great option if you’re willing to learn how to use it. A Sony a6500 or Canon 80d would be great options if you’re just starting out in filming and photography. The Canon SL2 is a great option for videography that captures great quality, but it’s also very affordable. It has excellent autofocus and flip-out screen. You can also shoot slow motion with the input for an external mic.
Like hunting gear, cameras are a matter of personal preference and budget. You should only purchase the best quality gear that you are able to afford.
A camera is only as good or better than its lens. Video cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, and mirrorless cameras all have built in lenses. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras allow you to choose the lens or lenses that work best for your needs.
Many cameras include a kit lens such as an 18-55mm and 18-135mm. This might be enough for you. An 18-135mm lens gives you a good range but is not as sharp or as effective in low light as a higher-end lens with a smaller aperture.
First, determine the range of your lens. A 16-35mm lens is great for landscape shots, and can be used to film yourself. However, it won’t have the reach necessary to zoom in on animals. A longer lens, such as a 70-200mm, is great for filming distant objects. However, it is not easy to film yourself or others close up with that lens. A standard lens is a lens that falls in the middle of the range, such as an 18-135, or a 24-70. You can buy multiple lenses if you have the money.
Once you have decided on the focal length of your lens, it is time to choose the aperture. A lower aperture means that it will be better in low light, and it will have a better depth of field (blurry background). The aperture is the number that you find on the lens, or in the description. It can be f/2.8, f/3.5-5.6 or both. Look for a lens that has a smaller aperture.
Video is essential for capturing your story. However, audio is only half the picture. While you have the option to make a highlight video with music, audio is just as important as the visual. However, having high quality dialogue, sounds like elk buzzing, and your voice while speaking to the camera are essential for telling a personal and quality story. It’s not difficult to capture good audio.
Point-and-shoot cameras come with a built in mic, but you can add an external mic. Most video cameras, including all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, offer the ability to add a better microphone to record clearer audio. Most cameras’ built-in microphones aren’t very pleasant to hear so you might consider adding a shotgun microphone to the camera. Rode Videomic Pro is my personal favorite, but there are many cheaper options online.
Now that you have all the equipment necessary to film your hunt, let’s talk about how to go about actually filming it. Your camera is essential for filming hunts. It’s impossible to predict when you might find an elk or deer, so you need to have your camera readily available. It doesn’t matter if you carry it around your neck or keep it in your hand; just make sure it is there. A clip that attaches to your backpack’s shoulder strap will allow you to quickly access your camera while being comfortable. These clips are available from both Peak Design and Cotton Carrier. The more accessible your camera is, you will be able to film more.
Tell the story
Your job while filming is to tell the story. Film what you find important, regardless of what’s happening. While there are many technical skills that we can go over, the most important part of a great film is a compelling story. Film the excitement of hunting an animal, as well as the slow moments of relaxing at camp. Filming anything that will propel your story and keep viewers engaged is worthwhile.
While you’re there, think about the events that are happening beyond the hunt itself. There are often “stories within the stories,” which go beyond “we bought an animal tag, shot it, and then we went on with our lives.” What were some of the challenges of the hunt? What is interesting about the history of the species and the landscape? What is hunting important to your life? These are important things to share and make hunting videos even more entertaining.
Film a short interview about what happened, either during or after the hunt. You can either film yourself, or you could film others telling you what they remember. This is a great way of putting together the story of your hunt.
It’s important to keep it steady
A common mistake made by beginning filmmakers is to have unstable and shaky footage. Although this is sometimes a good thing (in a chaotic moment), it can be very distracting to see when the video is being edited. Your footage will look more professional if it is stable, but not necessarily static.
Many cameras come with built-in stabilization. However, there are many other things you can do. You can improve the stability of your footage without any additional equipment by holding it closer to your body and trying multiple points to contact it. Keep your camera steady while you move. Bend your knees to protect it.
A monopod or tripod is another good option. While both are great options, a monopod is easier to use because it doesn’t need three legs. A tripod will be more stable than a tripod, as you likely already have one for your optics. There are many stabilizers that can keep your footage stable while it moves like a gimbal. However, I don’t know of any hunters who would be willing to transport them or handle the batteries or motorized ones.
These are just a few of the many creative options available to you. You are filming your hunts to have fun. You should only film the part of the hunt that is most meaningful to you. You will be able to cherish these memories and share them with your friends.