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The single most recurring question we receive at Bowsite.com is about video taping your bow hunt. I don’t know why that is. Maybe people relate to my video taping skills more than my bowhunting abilities.  Whatever the reason, there is a lot of interest in this area and with the explosive growth of email, websites and home-created DVD’s, this interest will only grow over time.  

Lots of sites put a quick and shallow article together on how to video your hunt. But we wanted to do something special for our visitors by creating an in-depth online guide, which covers everything from equipment, to field setup, to editing, to tricks to techniques. 

We hope you enjoy our updated and comprehensive series on videotaping your hunt!

Do you want to hunt? Or Video?

The first question I ask any budding bowhunting videographer is: Do you really want to do this?  Videoing your hunts adds a tremendous bonus to your hunting experience but it’s not without a price.

Still photo taken from a single video frame of my Sony VX2100 camera. This deer had one antler snapped off during a late winter Kansas Bowhunt.

The benefits to videoing your hunts are tremendous, like the ability to share your hunts with family and friends. You will be able to relive the excitement of that big buck heading toward your stand – even if you never get a shot – you bring home the trophy footage. And a side benefit of being able to see the exact location of your shot placement – on most cameras; in slow motion to boot!  This greatly aids in your recovery decisions.

But, it is not without its downside. You will have to cough up some cash to get started.  You also have to decide for yourself – IS IT REALLY WORTH IT??

The first thing you must understand, and answer honestly before you ever spend a dime is; are you prepared to blow a shot at a deer in order to video it?  If your answer is no, then read no further and spend your money on a new Bowtech or Ross Compound Bow. But if you are serious about capturing memories to last a lifetime, then this comprehensive feature is for you – so Read On!

Goals for your footage?

The second question I ask is: what do you want to do with your footage? If your objective is to do nothing more than play your shot back to your buddies at hunting camp, then you probably want a low-end camera. However, if you may potentially create a marketable DVD like Beyond Adrenaline, or use the footage on a website, or TV program sometime down the road? Then your choices will change dramatically. 

Beyond Adrenaline, Our First DVD has sold over 5000 copies, and is in its’ third printing

Let’s use myself as an example. Several years ago I never thought I would do anything with my footage other than stream videos from Bowsite.com.  So I purchased a cheap, 1-chip camera, and a makeshift video-arm that did nothing more than clamp the camera to the tree.  During my first hunt in Kansas, I witnessed (and captured) a spectacular scene on tape.  Due to the limitations on the camera, it was jerky, grainy and far away.  I will always regret not having a quality camera and video arm for that scene since it was probably the one and only time I will ever see anything like it in my lifetime.  I’m not rich. Money is important, but the footage will never happen again.  Imagine being the person who videos the next world record whitetail on a $400 camera?  If you did what I did (buy low, then buy a better camera later) you throw money away on the first camera.  Think about that before you buy inexpensive gear. 

How much do you want to spend?

Unlike your hunting setup, camera gear can range from $500 for a camera and arm, to $25,000 or more.  The amount you spend is directly relational to your objectives for the footage.  If you are creating a documentary for IMAX, you would use different gear than if you were creating a DVD to send to your cousin in Pittsburgh. 

Generally speaking, I always suggest cameras referred to as “Prosumer” camcorders.  They are in-between the cheap cameras that you get at Wal-Mart and the big professional cameras that require a separate insurance policy. The following Gear list is approximate but relatively accurate:

·        Prosumer Video Camera - $1500-2500
Camera Arm - $300-500
Shotgun Microphone - $200
Remote Control device - $100

Conclusion - Think about what you want to do with your footage. Think about what you are shooting and how important it may be down the road? Figure out whether you are willing to accept blown shot opportunities messing with a camera. And finally, figure out your budget for the equipment and buy the very best equipment you can afford.

Lesson 2 - Discusses Essential Gear, Pat's recommendations, and cost estimates.


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