- By Brandon Wikman
There are thousands of hunting enthusiasts from all over the country who have dropped several Benjamin’s in pursuit of capturing the kill on camera. The proliferation of chasing animals with the ultimate combo – weapon and video camera – has intrigued the hearts of many. As many newbies find out, filming isn’t for everyone.
I’ve been blessed to learn a lot about camera situations and scenarios thanks to my career as a TV personality. My knowledge is chocked full of blown opportunities, stupid mistakes, and regretful moments that I will never be able to take back.
Please take a moment to let the tips, tactics, and advice I’ve digested percolate in your blood. This will be a great buffet of camera techniques you should keep in mind come season!
OPEN FIELD SETUPS
Many camera setups are blown due to a lack of information of your area. There are several great spots to hang a stand in an open field, hoping to strike a deer in a food plot. As you may realize, open areas that aren’t engulfed with trees and vegetation are neat places to film. They are nice because the dense forest doesn’t block out camera light, which means you will be able to run the camera much longer during the last few minutes of daylight when bucks appear.
The only problem is that often times cameramen teams will set up with the sun directly in front of them. This is a major mistake. Not only will you stick out like blaze orange, but will also be blinded (not to mention, the viewfinder on your camera will show wretched sunbursts). You must always film with the sun at your back. This helps diminish your outline as a predator up in a tree and keeps you subtly hidden in the shadows of branches, leaves, and background cover.
There are numerous hunting shows on many of the major outdoor networks that still haven’t learned what a tripod is. Tripods are for stability. This ensures your footage is clean, crisp, and smooth. We’ve all watched hunting shows where the camera is bobbing from hunter to animal. The image looks like it’s something that was featured in the movie “The Blair Witch Project.”
Quality is everything when it comes to tacking down great video footage. There’s no producer, hunter or professional field producer who wants to watch the shaky hands of a cameraman. A tripod can be used to slowly pan across your surroundings in a sleek manner, which adds a nice aspect of quality to the eyes of your viewers. This establishes your area and provides the viewer with the needed information they desire. Tripods are also nice because you don’t have to literally hold on to the camera. This provides you a hands-free method of filming. Next time you’re watching the news or any primetime television show, notice the use of tripods in capturing video footage.
Most cameras give you an option to change the settings from auto-focus to manual-focus. This is by far one of the most important aspects of boosting the quality in the video you shoot. I’ve watched so many hunting shows where a cameraman uses automatic focus. This is detrimental and could easily jeopardize your hunt! As you know, when filming in the woods, there are hundreds of obstructions. Branches, tall grass, and bushes are just some of the many obstacles deer have to weave through. If you film in auto-focus, your camera will focus on the closest and most evident subject in front of you. This will blur out the animal and bump back-and-forth to try focusing on what you want to.
Using manual focus is a foolproof way of manually adjusting your lens to its desired subject. This will ensure that you receive perfect clarity of the subject you film. This is a simple and minor change that isn’t taken advantage of enough.
I’ve only provided you with a few simple basics to take out with you in the woods as you make your best attempts to capture your experience via lens. Throughout the next couple months, I will continue feeding you advice I’ve learned from several of the industry’s most incredible videographers.