SELFILMED 101 – Part 6 – Importance of 2nd and 3rd Angles

Part 6 – Importance of 2nd and 3rd Angles

You got the kill on camera!  Not only did you bag the biggest trophy of your lifetime, you also managed to get the shot in focus AND in frame.  Now what?

For most this ends up being a short clip showing the animal walking within range, and then promptly sprinting off in the distance after the shot.  Unfortunately, with only one point of view not only does the viewer quickly become impatient, but this limits the amount of adrenaline build-up you can reveal leading up to the shot.

What takes your SELFILMED hunt from novice to production-quality is the use of 2nd and 3rd angles.  Aside from B-roll footage and the pre/post-hunt interviews this gives you critical footage that helps illustrate the full emotions of the hunt.

Assuming you are using a camera-arm/fluid head assembly as your primary camera angle, some of the most popular secondary angles are:

  1. Continuously running camera in 3rd-Person view
  2. Tactacam or stabilizer-mounted camera
  3. Riser-mounted shooter-view
  4. Chest or head-mounted Point-Of-View action-cam

The first option, in our opinion, is the most important.  Actually…we consider it a must!  This view can capture a TON of useful footage, typically placed in front of or above to observe the shooter manipulating the primary camera, grabbing your bow, etc. This view will capture everything from a time-lapse of the hunter, a clip of glassing in the distance, and potentially capture the shot in the off-chance that you are unable to get your primary camera on target.  This is an example of just that:

This type of footage can completely set you apart from other YouTube hunt videos.  When using decoys as with turkey hunting, setting this camera up-close-and-personal with the decoy can often grab some great footage as well.

Many of us at employ a riser-mounted camera looking back at the shooter.  Aside from the drawback of the additional step to turn on the camera prior to the shot, it can also change the balance of your rig.  Due to this I typically do all of my target shooting with the camera installed.

The fourth option, chest or head mounted POV cam, can be useful as well but has its drawbacks.  Unlike the continuously running camera in 3rd person, this camera sees every little bump and movement you make.  The vast majority of the footage will typically either be so shaky as to make you seasick or the steady parts will be very short in duration.  In addition to this,  the movement to your chest or head to turn on the camera can tip-off your quarry.  Not to mention, your bow/gun will typically be blocking the main view folks are most interested in seeing.

If you can afford any of these options, by all means, use them to help enhance your footage.  They will definitely add to the final product when you get to finally edit your footage.  However, if you are tight on cash, look at this purchase in light of what you’ll gain:  Approximately 5-10 seconds of footage in the overall video depending on which angle/s you choose.  This approach may make you focus your hard-earned dough on items that will pay bigger dividends.

Despite the hassle of carrying additional cameras into the field, the additional footage they can provide is priceless.  As Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you never take.” You will never regret having additional angles available to you as you are editing the best footage of your life.

If you have any questions or would like further clarification on the information from this article, please visit our contact form and let us know.  We love hearing from our readers, and as always, we welcome any feedback or tips you have to offer.

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2017 Virginia Doe

With work and a new addition to my family, finding time in the woods has been difficult.  Once I saw the impending storm front coming through on the Halloween weekend Saturday evening, I knew it would be an ideal opportunity to burn one of my few “all-day-sit” cards.   

The wind would be out of the south, so I decided to use my climber on a tree I had prepped the year before but never hunted.  My alarm was set for earlier than normal as I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get set up.  I quickly got prepped up and out the door after my pre-hunt interview.

Typically my trails are highly visible in the black of night as they are overly marked with white flagging tape, not fluorescent orange, as a dear friend of mine taught me several years back.  As expected, I quickly found the head of the trail from the service road on the property.  Making it roughly 20 yards or so, a downed tree blocked the usual trail.  Not a show stopper, I’ll just sidestep around the tree and make my way back on the trail…  About 45 minutes later (and now 30 minutes from shooting light) I knew I needed to find a tree and get set up ASAP.  I found the closest one that looked suitable and started climbing.  I climbed a little higher than normal to account for the minimal cover and quickly set up my gear.  

As daylight peeked through the trees I started to survey my surroundings.  Luckily, my timber stand improvement in the area gave several reasonable shooting opportunities.  I had set up in a tree about ten yards from an existing ladder stand, and about 60 yards away from the tree I had intended to climb.

This morning was making me doubt my choice of stands.    Not only did I terribly miss my mark, but I had heard/seen zero deer in the precious “magic hour” of the morning.  About the only entertainment I had were the numerous squirrels in the area.  At one point I had five chasing each other within my 15 yard radius.  There was zero chance of me hearing any deer with this ruckus.  

 Luckily I spotted some movement to the east and quickly stood up.  Out popped a couple does… followed by a couple more… then a couple more… directly towards my stand.  As they approached my heart started racing once I noticed they kept looking to the southwest.  Out popped a yearling prancing like an NFL player about to score a touchdown.  Deer number seven. 

By this point all seven deer had worked their way to less than ten yards.  Surprisingly they each were interested in my treestand’s  bungee cord at the bottom of the tree, but didn’t seem to mind the smell. As they made their way underneath me to the right of my stand, I turned to prepare for a shot.  Picking out the biggest in the group, I waited until I had my favorite angle:  A quartering away shot. 

At eight yards, I lined up my pin with her far leg and let my 125gr whitetail special fly, watching my Firenock disappear in her side.  Jumping straight up and kicking, she took off running to the south around a downed oak.

After about ninety minutes I was convinced a buck wasn’t in the cards for the day. I decided to pack up for the morning and start tracking.  If the crash I heard was my doe then I could potentially be back out in the afternoon!  As soon as my cameras were in my bag I hear footsteps to the east again.  This time a basket rack four-point came through at 30 yards, following the doe’s exit path.

Once on the ground my excitement turned to confusion as I looked at my arrow shaft.  Some light, watery blood with a lot of fatty residue on my shaft indicated a less than ideal shot. Debating if I should give her more time, I decided to track slower than normal in the event that she bedded down. About an hour later, I had made it roughly three-hundred yards with minimal blood.  

Confused and frustrated, I was surprised when I found a bright red, bubbly pool of blood. The blood quickly picked up, at this point standing up while tracking.  Head down, videoing the progress, I looked up to see a splotch of brown in the reeds near the lake.  I almost walked up on her, until I realized that I could still see the rise and fall of her breathing.  I put the camera down and nocked my final arrow, the target the exact spot I had hit her the first time.  

After traveling another 15 yards, she expired.  Elated and relieved, I set upon the hard part of my day: documenting and processing my harvest. This much-needed meat will feed my growing family for a quite some time, but thanks to self filming the memories will be mine to share forever.  

Calvin’s Gear:

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SELFILMED 101 – Part 5 – Camera Setup and Placement

Part 5 – Camera Setup and Placement

Now that you’ve acquired your camera gear, it’s time to start talking about how to use it once you climb up your tree.  We really focus on making your camera accessible, while minimizing unnecessary movement.  Most importantly, it is imperative that you have your camera setup in a position that allows you to still make the shot when an opportunity presents itself.  This means you need to clear any branches that might reduce your camera arm’s range of motion.

The first thing you’ll need to do when you get in your tree is hang your camera arm base.  If you are right-handed, you will want the camera base on the left side of your tree (when facing the tree), if your left-handed you will want the base on the right side of your tree.  Height wise, you will want your camera to be at a comfortable height so you can operate it both sitting and standing.  Remember that when you put on the camera arm and fluid head, you will be adding anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of additional height to your camera, so play around with this and figure out what works, you are better off spending an extra couple of minutes getting it just right.  Finally, I recommend placing your base between 45 and 90 degrees around the tree from your stand.  Keep it as close to 45 degrees as possible, but don’t move it so close that you are unable to move your camera out-of-the-way in the event you need to shoot to the same side as it is hanging from.

Once your base it setup and ready to go, finish installing your camera arm and get your fluid head pan handle set at a good height that allows for comfortable operation sitting or standing.  Remember, that most of the time, your camera will be angled downward, so set your fluid head pan handle accordingly to allow for this.  In the event you want to film a bird or squirrel up in a tree, it is less critical that your movement be kept to a minimum, so you can afford a little extra movement to shift your camera around.  Focus on setting up for the hunt, not the b-roll.  Make sure that your LANC Controller is in a position that you can easily reach all of the buttons you need to operate your camera, and be sure that nothing is in the way of your zoom control as this can become a problem during the hunt.

When all is said and done, the end goal is to have your camera setup in a fashion that allows one-handed operation at all times.  This is a critical piece of the puzzle as you will often have your bow in one hand, and you’ll be using the other to maneuver your camera into position for a shot.  If you have not already done so, I recommend you hang a treestand in your back yard and practice putting up your camera gear.  If you are not familiar with your setup and takedown process, it is really easy to make unwanted noise and you will risk ruining your hunt before it starts.

As a final note, I recommend assembling your fluid head, camera arm, and LANC controller before heading to the woods.  Carry this portion of your setup as a single unit, it will save you time when you get to your hunting spot, and it is also easy to strap to the outside or your pack to free up space for other gear.

If you have any questions or would like further clarification on the information from this article, please visit our contact form and let us know.  We love hearing from our readers, and as always, we welcome any feedback or tips you have to offer.

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SELFILMED 101 – Part 4 – Camera Remote Control

Part 4 – Camera Remote Control

The third and final accessory that we will discuss in Part 4 of the SELFILMED 101 series, is the remote control, specifically a LANC Controller.  As we shift away from the acquisition of your camera setup, we will move more in the direction of helping you understand how to use your equipment.  One of the most important themes you will see throughout future articles will be reduction of movement when filming.  The camera arm and fluid head certainly help in this arena, but I cannot stress enough the importance of one-handed camera operation as a SELFILMED hunter.

If you read Part 1 of this series, Brett outlined the importance of selecting a camera that has a LANC port available for remote control use.  There are several companies that make LANC Controllers and some do more than others.  There are a few functions that are must haves.  Zoom and Power Control, if your camera remote does nothing else, make sure it has these two options.  Zoom and Power controls are the two features you will use most, and they will be the two functions that will make the difference in being successful or not in the field.

It goes without saying that if your camera battery dies, you won’t be filming much of anything.  Any camera battery is going to die if you film long enough on a single sit.  I generally take at least one spare battery with me, but if your camera dies right as a deer is coming into range, that spare battery will do you little to no good.  Instead, opt for a good LANC controller that allows you to manually power off your camera during times that the action is slow.  Additionally, you also need to be able to power your camera back up as soon as it is needed. With the proper LANC controller, this is simple to do with one hand and very little movement.

Zoom is essential when filming, and not only should you look for a LANC controller that allows you to change the zoom on your video camera, but you should look for a LANC controller that has a zoom button so big it is hard to miss!  You will zoom more than you will do anything else when you are filming.  A product like the VariZoom VZ-Rock puts the zoom control right at your thumb.  It is the most obvious feature of the LANC controller, and it is easy to operate without looking away from your camera/target animal.  I highly suggest you find a  LANC Controller with a similar variable zoom button.  By variable, I mean that you can change the zoom speed according to the pressure you apply to the zoom button.  This is also a great feature as it allows you to capture those slow zoom in/zoom out shots that you see so often on your favorite hunting shows.

Last but not least, if you can find a LANC Controller that allows you to toggle between auto and manual focus, this can also be a nice feature to have.  Especially when hunting in thick cover or out of a blind where you will have constant obstructions in your field of view.  Locking in on an animal in manual focus might make the difference in a good or a great video.

If you have any questions or would like further clarification on the information from this article, please visit our contact form and let us know.  We love hearing from our readers, and as always, we welcome any feedback or tips you have to offer.

SELFILMED 101 Series:

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