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Old September 26th, 2003, 11:02 PM   #1
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Hunting video/series

I know this may be a slightly touchy subject. But I have two intelligent friends who have approached me about doing a hunting TV series/video. We had a brain storming session this evening and it seems like this may be a niche market worthy of my time and effort. I myself am not hunter but an avid outdoorsman and have no problem being outdoors in any setting. Has anybody here ever done anything along these lines, and if so are there any ideas/suggestions/tips with regards to equipment, techniques and general information you can provide. And if not within the hunting vein, then maybe anyone who has had wildlife videography experience who can provide some enlightenment in this area. Any information no matter how significant would be appreciated.

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Old September 26th, 2003, 11:30 PM   #2
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We actually have several regular members who do such work professionally. One has a regular outdoor television show in Arizona (I believe). Hopefully they will respond.
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Old September 26th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #3
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Just a quick note that responses to this thread should focus on Mike's technical questions and *not* debate the subject matter. Forgive me for having to point that out, but we don't do political issues here. Thanks in advance,

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Old September 27th, 2003, 03:59 AM   #4
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Hi Mike,

There is indeed a market for hunting videos.

You might also want to consider a TV show. The growing number of cable and satellite outlets has created quite a market for those, though sponsorship can be extremely tough to get with an unproven product.

Regarding equipment, we've quit carrying the larger "pro" style cameras. The quality of mini DV is more than acceptable, and the smaller cameras are a lot easier to handle in remote and rugged surroundings.

Be sure to get some good wireless mics. Often times your subject will be out of shotgun mic range. In my opinion bad audio is one of the first indications of a poor quality production.

Don't forget a good, lightweight tripod either. It's impossible to zoom in on wildlife and get a steady shot with a handheld camera. (there are some tricks you can use to improve that, but a good set of sticks is still a must)

The outdoors is tough on gear. You'll need quality covers to protect your cameras. That'll help them stay dry and keep the dirt out, but expect to clean your heads more than in a studio environment.

You should also go into this project with the right mindset. You'll be dealing with subjects and conditions you have no control over. Expect to spend a lot of time in the field with nothing on tape to show for it, and expect wind, rain and snow to interfere with your shoots on a regular basis.

It sure beats working in an office though.

Mike Avery
Outdoor Magazine TV/Radio
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Old February 25th, 2004, 08:21 AM   #5
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I, too, am looking into outdoor videography, which will include fishing videos as well as hunting and other outdoor sports. I plan to use the GL2 I just ordered.

To take Mike's question and add some more detail to the query, what wireless lavalier mics/transmitters/receivers do the pros use? What were the features that made them the best choice?

Also, are there any specific tripod models that are recommended? Smooth pans are important but so is the ruggedness and light weight of the tripod.

FYI, my budget for a wireless lavalier mic system and tripod is under $500 for each. With that in mind, are the recommendations different?

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Old February 25th, 2004, 08:35 AM   #6
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One of the hardest shots to get in a hunting video is the "shot" itself. When the hunter is about to shoot the quarry, keep the camera rolling on the critter, not the hunter. Tape the end result, then have the hunter return to his/her shooting point, frame in a medium shot and re-inact the looking, aiming and actually fire a round. (For safety, we always pack a few "blanks" for the shot reinactment.) Then go back again and get tight shots of the finger releasing the safety, on the trigger, looking through the scope, the recoil of the shot, picking up the spent cartridge.

In order to make this saleable, be sure all game laws are followed, hunters wear appropriate clothing (blaze orange) and safety gear (shooting glasses etc.)

Bear in mind that depending on the laws in your area, you may need a hunting licence, since you are technically participating in the hunt. Here in NY, the law reads:

"To huntómeans to pursue, shoot, kill or capture (other than trap) wildlife and includes all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife whether or not they result in taking. Hunting also includes all acts to assist another person in taking wildlife."

Good luck with this - sounds like an interesting project. Feel free to contact me if you want additional information or ideas.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:15 AM   #7
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Here's a tip I found useful when doing outdoor photography:

Having "practiced" with my Canon ZR-65 consumer-level camcorder on past hunting trips, I found that preventing condensation was an issue. Every time I find one of those "don't eat this" silica packets, often used to reduce moisture in electronic component packaging like DVD players, I save them. When I'm out in the field, I keep several floating around in the large pocket of my fanny pack where I store my camera between takes. That has done a great job at avoiding condensation inside the camera due to the cold and wet conditions of the great outdoors.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #8
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Just from experience on the other side of where your lens would be, consider light. I used to hunt ducks. Shooting opens at 1/2 hour before sunrise and closes 1/2 after sunset. I think some of the other game shooting does too.

Also, since you cannot use white lights, you may want to go as low as you can on lux. You might also consider an infrared flood like it looks like they use in some of the African wildlife footage? If you do follow a hunter to a blind or stand, you can get the actual setup instead of having to stage it later.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 09:34 PM   #9
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Hi Mike,

I'm a new user here as well but have been in the outdoor television for some time. I produce a show called Kentucky Afield and we're celebrating our 50th anniversary this year! I have been associated with the show since 1997.

It's a great career to be in but it seems lately that everyone and their brother is producing hunting and fishing shows these days. I wouldn't try to dissuade you from doing a show but you have lot's of competition out there. Check out the Outdoor Channel's website, they link you to all the sites of the companies that produce outdoor programming on their network. There are many of them and for every 1 good show there are 10 pretty awful ones, at least from a production value standpoint. For some of the better ones take a look at the Ducks Unlimited show, Trout Unlimited, Walmart's great Outdoors, Cabela's Outfitter Journal, The Walker's Cay Chronicles and American Shooter, there are others but these come to mind. Also, for some beautiful nature photography/videography do an on-line search for Karl and Steve Maslowski. I'm not sure if they have a website but I'm certain you can find them on the net somewhere. They're out of Cincinnati, Ohio and we use their stock footage all the time.

As far as equipment, we use Sony and Lectrosonic wireless mic's. Our camera arsenal includes 2 Sony UVW 100's, with Canon and Fujinon 16X lenses and extenders, pretty much the low-end of Sony's Betacam line but durable cameras nonetheless. 1 Sony VX-1000 and 1 Canon XL-1. Also, various blinds, climbing treestands (Ol' Man), underwater housing, Treepod and tripods by Bogen and O'Conner. I personally just purchased a DVX-100A and am looking forward to getting it out in the field, I was a little concerned about only having a 10X lens but sometimes ultra-wide is as useful as ultra-tight.

Don't forget about the clothing!! We should have stock in some of the big outdoor chain stores. Rain and cold weather gear is of the utmost importance, buy the best you can afford, you'll be glad you did after a day in a freezing cold duck blind.

One last thing, we have a great host who does all of the hunting and fishing for the show. That's fine, but guess what I'm doing during all the hunting and fishing got it, I'm behind the camera watching someone else hunt and fish. I'm not saying that I never get to enjoy the great outdoors but I do a lot less hunting and fishing for myself than I did before I was involved with the show. On the other hand I really enjoy what I do :)

Sorry for the long post, please feel free to e-mail me if I can help you in your new venture in any way.

Carl Babcock
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Old March 8th, 2004, 07:11 PM   #10
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hunting videos

Hi Mike Good luck with your hunting videos. I bought a Canon XL1s camera to video deer, bear, and turkey hunting. I got some great footage with the camera. I filmed a bear hunt in 2002 in Kenora Ontario Canada where I filmed my dad taking a nice black bear with his bow. We are going back up there this year and next and plan to take a camera to film our hunts. The footage you get with the XL1s camera is definitely professional. I am now trying to sell my camera and replace it with a GL2 because the XL1s is too big to film by myself. Most of my hunting is deer hunting and its too hard to film yourself. What I lack is a cameraman, so I am going to try to sell my camera and get a smaller one I can manuever better by myself. If you get a XL1s camera I would suggest strongly to get the 1.6X extender lense. It makes all the difference in the world for filming in the outdoors. It pulls the animals in close from far distances and since its optical you don't lose any picture quality. If you want to talk to me about filming with the XL1s or want to see the footage we took bear hunting with it send me an email I would be glad to talk to you. Good luck with your show, I hope it works out, and maybe I'll have some footage to send you someday. I'd like you to send me your info on the name of your company so I can look for you in the future.
Good luck,
Sean Lange
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