When I started out filming and hunting, I did not have a lot of knowledge surrounding photography and videography. Nor did I take any classes or had a professor to answer my questions. Truthfully, I learned most of what I know through personal research. With this in mind, I am by no means an expert in the field of photography or videography. I do not claim to have extensive knowledge in either fields. Which is why I have referenced a few articles written by experts to compliment the subject matter. Below is a list of things you need to know and understand before you dive into the art of filming hunts. Having a solid understanding of these definitions, ideas and concepts will establish or reinforce a solid foundation of knowledge for yourself.
In short, Aperture is the measurement of the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the lens’s diaphragm or hole. The diaphragm can be adjusted to large or small diameters. The smaller the hole of the lens’s diaphragm, the less light that is allowed to pass through. The larger the hole of the lens’s diaphragm, the more light that is allowed to pass through. Playing with the aperture can create different effects with the depth of field and the shutter speed (more on shutter speed). To learn more about aperture, read the article, “Understanding Aperture” by Nikon.
Simply, ISO is used to adjust a camera’s sensitivity to light. The normal ISO range is about 200 to 1600. The lower the number, the more light that is required for the image. Lower ISO is great for bright light situations. If the camera is collecting too much light at 600 ISO, then one would want to lower the ISO to create a less overexposed picture. The opposite goes for low-light situations. The ISO needs to be increase to give a lighter effect during low-light situations. You can learn more about ISO and how to use this feature by reading,“Understanding ISO- A Beginner’s Guide” written by Photography Life blogger Nasim Mansurov. He does an excellent job of breaking down the fundamentals of using ISO, and does a much better job of explaining the concept than I ever could. This would be a great starting spot for anyone looking to learn more about ISO and its capabilities.
High shutter speed has the ability to freeze a fast moving object, and a low shutter speed can create a blurry image effect often referred to as “motion blur”. Think of the shutter as to double doors, and the faster the door opens and closes, the less exposure the camera sensor has to light. Having a rapid shutter speed can be used to capture an image instantly, and the object looks to have been frozen completely. On the other hand, a slower shutter speed allows the camera sensor to collect more light, and with the added time to collect light exposure, this creates the motion blur effect. Motion blur is used to give moving objects in the picture a sense of speed, which ultimately tells the viewer that the burred object is moving in the picture. If done properly, the play with shutter speeds can create some pretty cool effects when working with high quality DSLRs. A great article to read about shutter speed would be the “Introduction to Shutter Speed in Digital Photography”, by Darren Rowse of Digital-Photography-School.com.
In your typical hunting scenarios, the majority of action occurs either early in the morning as the sun is rising, or later towards dusk as the sun is falling. When it comes to filming your hunts, the understanding of how to handle low-light conditions is pivotal. You really need to know your camera and how it can adapt to these low-light conditions. It would be nice to have every monster buck encounter in perfect filming conditions, but as we all know that doesn’t always happen. Moreover, you really need to study the manual and understand what helps brighten the picture on your camera when you’re losing light. We talked earlier about the aperture and ISO, which both can help improve the quality of the image. When you’re filming with a certain HD digital camcorders, the feature to adjust aperture is often referred to as the Iris. Adjust the aperture (Iris) or ISO once it starts to get dark, and check it periodically until you lose camera light. Be sure to practice this prior to the start of the hunting season, especially if you are using a new camera. You don’t want to be fiddling around with your camera and not know what you’re doing once “Mr. Big” walks by at last light.
Know Your Equipment
To compliment what we have previously talked about in this article, it is so important to know what each button does on your camera. The experimenting and creativity comes when you’re in the field and you know how each feature performs. The best way to understand your camera is to break out the manual and start reading. Locate and study the function of each button on your camera, so you know exactly where everything is. Additionally, you can find a lot of “unboxing” and camera tutorials on Youtube. One of my favorite Youtube resources for DSLR tutorials is Michael the Mentor, he provides a TON of videos and articles on so many different DSLRs available. He even does a lot of camera comparison videos that help with making a decision on which camera to purchase. Another great resource isCampbell Camera’s. Not only do they have a number of great products available, but they also provide videos or articles on how to use their camcorders.
There are so many terms, phrases and concepts to know in the art of filming hunts, and obviously this article has covered all of the essentials. My goal is to provide more articles that explain concepts and explain ideas that will improve your game. Additionally, you will be seeing plenty of tech talk and equipment reviews following this article. However, I think that this is a great starting point for anyone that is new to the game. I encourage you to check out the resources I provided and email me if you have any questions. I hope this helps you on your journey to mastering the art of filming and hunting.