Preparation key to filming outdoor adventures

Posted on: June 23, 2017 | Bob Frye | Comments

Filming outdoor adventures isn’t just for professionals anymore.

These days, more and more outdoorsmen and women – be they hunting, fishing, hiking, camping or doing whatever outside – can and do film themselves and their adventures.

Southwick Associates, a Florida-based outdoor research firm, said there’s been a 68-percent increase over the last five years of hunters videoing some or all of their hunts. Thirty percent report videoing their hunts always or frequently, while 31 percent do so about half the time.

Of course, unlike men, not all videos are created equal.

Making a good one requires thinking about sight and sound, says said Tom Petry, co-owner of Outdoor Media Group, who’s been filming hunts for more than 20 years, the last half dozen of them full time professionally.

Image sensors

For starters, think about image sensors when choosing a camera.

“That little thing in there is super important to you as an outdoorsman when you go to look at buying a camera,” Petry said.

The size of the sensor determines things like how much light the camera lets in, he said. The more light a camera captures, the better it will produce “during the first hour and the last hour, those magical times” of day, he said.

A bigger sensor also impacts the quality of the images captured, particularly in regards to color, he added.

Multiple cameras

Consider using multiple cameras, as well.

In a deer stand, for example, Petry will always have one camera on the approaching animal. He focuses a second on the hunter, though.

That camera, together with a wireless microphone worn by the hunter, captures teh drama of a scene.

“It’s capturing that moment, all that emotion good or bad, real time. That’s what it’s good for,” Petry said.

“I don’t care how good of an actor or an actress you are, you’re not going to be able to recreate that moment when you release an arrow on your first bull elk or a turkey gobbles his fool head off at 15 yards or you make a good shot on a 150-inch whitetail. Let the video capture that moment live.”


Spend some time thinking about sound, too.

Petry said that when he’s filming for shows like The Life on Sportsman Channel, he places a huge emphasis on getting high quality sound.

“We want to make you feel like you’re there. Eighty percent of a good video is great audio,” Petry said.

He recommends buying the best audio equipment possible, even if that means having to save money for a while. That beats getting cheaper gear that will be full of “cracks and pops and interference.”

“Because cheap’s going to cause you more problems than you’re bargaining for,” he said.


Use multiple microphones, too.

Petry will often use a “boom” microphone to capture ambient sound, like the wind rustling leaves or a deer walking in to his stand. At the same time he’ll have a wireless microphone on the hunter. It will capture everything from a heartbeat to the joy or anguish of a shot made or missed.

Camera supports

Lastly, think about camera supports.

Hunters and anglers filming themselves need a way to hold their camera. A good support system – regardless of brand – is one that can support the camera’s weight, he said.

Supports come in handy even when there’s one person filming and one hunting, though, he said.

Invariably, someone holding a camera will jump, even if they first tell the shooter when to pull the trigger or release an arrow, Petry said. If the camera is on a mount, preferably a pan head that rotates freely, the results will be better, he said.

You’ll know when a video is a good one, he said, because people will want to watch it. And that’s the goal.

“You want to engage people,” Petry said. “You want them to watch what you’re doing.”

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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