My Microphones for Video Production

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Tom Petry, in his 4-day Video Production School, says, “80% of good video is great audio.” He is absolutely right, too. This quote stuck with me and I certainly do not regret investing in good, quality audio gear.

I am fortunate to have many friends and contacts who are directly involved in sound production. I like to say I know enough to be dangerous, but having expert contacts in the audio field who know all about gear and making quality sound productions is a definite advantage. I know, for example, that the Sennheiser G3 wireless microphones are top notch. They transmit great audio and they are reliable. I also know the Shure SM58 mics are the industry standard among both musicians and public speakers. So when it came time for me to purchase great audio equipment I already had ideas for my wish list.

Here is a brief overview and timeline on how I acquired my audio gear for Outdoor Cameraman and my web show, No Place Like the Mountains. When I purchased my Sony NX3 video camera I knew I wanted great audio equipment to accompany it. I purchased a Rode shotgun mic and the Sennheiser G3 wirless mic right away. Then, just before producing No Place Like the Mountain episodes, I purchased the Shure SM58 mic for voice overs. Then when I wanted to do interviews, I bought the Sennheiser G3 wireless handheld mic, which uses the receiver from my previously purchased lavalier mic. This saved me some money but also complimented the great mic I already was using for my video productions.

Yes, this audio equipment is quite expensive but I am big believer in “you get what you pay for.” I do not regret one of these audio purchases and I am getting great results so far. It is very handy to have the versatility of a shotgun mic for ambient sounds, a lavalier mic for hunter talk and emotion, and the handheld mic for interviews. There are times, like when filming two hunters, that I wish it was easier to use two lavalier mics with the shotgun mic, but so far my current combination is producing excellent results.

My microphones are very necessary and wonderful tools to producing videos. Great audio is not a luxury, it is a necessity!

Thank you: The Life Outdoor Video School

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Thank you to The Life Outdoor Video School! I attended their 4-day Field Production Outdoor Video Course last April and I learned a ton! It was the best four days I could have imagined, too. I met some great people who, like me, hope to work in the hunting industry. We learned how to use our cameras and properly film a hunt from start to finish. Along the way, we had many opportunities to put our learning into practical use.

I created a short film at the Video School and it includes some of the techniques we learned there from Tom and Nick. You can view the short video here:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BGpOua2GDrs/

I highly recommend this Video School to anyone who wants to learn how to film hunts. You will learn a lot and meet some incredible people. I cannot say enough about these guys. There are just incredible. Check out their TV show, which airs on Monday nights on The Sportsman Channel.

My web show, There’s No Place Like the Mountains, features short hunting and wildlife films that were inspired by attending this video school. It is a dream that developed over this past year. Without all the information I learned last April at the Video School, this dream would still be wishful thinking. Thanks, guys, I am continuing to learn how to tell a story with film and I am loving each and every frame!

 

Going Light

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This past hunting season was my first attempt at filming the hunt. I attended The Life’s Outdoor Video School back in May of last year and I learned a lot. Taking my equipment out in bear and deer seasons this fall taught me a lot, too.

I did follow a recommendation from the Outdoor Video School just before hunting season, and that was to purchase a Badlands Camera Pro backpack. This pack is specially designed to carry all the camera equipment needed to adequately and successfully film a hunt. The number of pockets and inner pockets are amazing! There is a place to store my main video camera and a DSLR in the main compartment. The design of the backpack is excellent and comfortable with a fully adjustable harness.

My main problem occurred out on the first day of hunting season–I packed way too heavy! We typically hunt more than 2.5 miles from my cabin, so this means a minimum round trip of at least 5 miles. It is where the deer are and we have been successful at bagging bucks over the past decade, but carrying a lot of equipment is not advisable. By the end of that first day I was completely worn out!

My tripod is one that I use for photography but it is not designed for backpacking. The Manfrotto video head is likewise heavy and not easy to pack and carry. Almost as soon as I got home, I ordered two different items: a new Gitzo lightweight tripod and a different, lighter Manfrotto video head. In this one purchase, I cut the weight on these items in half, which will make my pack much more manageable.

Before this purchase, I experimented with some different options, none of which suited me. I like the stability of a tripod rather than a monopod for filming. My goal was to shave weight, be stable, and be portable enough to carry the gear while filming a still hunt. I believe I now have a much better and more efficient system to do this.

I will still use my Muddy camera arm whenever I am up in tree stand, but this new tripod and video head will accompany me on all other hunts, including still hunts and when hunting from a blind or on stand. I can attach my GoPro to the end of one tripod leg to allow from some self-filming, too.

I am learning the important lesson of going light when filming.

Web Show: No Place Like the Mountains

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The web show premiere episode of No Place Like the Mountains is available to view. This episode follows a black bear hunt in Pennsylvania.

I enjoyed filming my best friend and hunting buddy, Randy Greenly, on this hunt and later the next week during deer season. The first two episodes of No Place Like the Mountains follow Randy in these two big game hunts.

There really is no place like the mountains!

Just Back from a Video Production School

This past week I attended a 4-day Video Production School taught by The Life in Cambridge, Ohio. It was absolutely fantastic! I learned a lot of information on how to plan for and film a hunt from start to finish. The instructors, Tom Petry and Nick Ventura, were incredible teachers. We also had a presentation on the hunting industry by Cragg Fitz.

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I am now excited about putting my newly gained knowledge into practical use!

The week was also an opportunity to meet other guys who have goals to film hunts and/or get into the hunting industry in a variety of other ways. There were 20 of us students and all of them were incredible people! It was an awesome week!

I cannot say enough about The Life Video Production School. They rock!

Gearing Up

Gearing up for a hunt or other outdoor adventure is no small task.

Preparation is key. I like to make packing lists on Evernote. This way, I have the list on my computer as well as my iPhone and even my iPad. It makes the list easily accessible and easy to use. I use the checkbox lists, so as I am packing I can check off each item.

Packing List

Packing for mobility is helpful. Many people take too much gear with them. Be selective and only pack what you absolutely need for each outing. Learning to consolidate comes with experience.

I like to use a backpack for my video gear. This keeps my hands free for other items that must be carried, such as a tree stand, decoys, or other necessary gear. My Cinebag CB25-B backpack is roomy and also features a large waist strap that is comfortable on long hikes.

Another benefit of using a packing list is to avoid forgetting essential gear. There is nothing worse than getting on location and realizing that something you need is back home.

The next time you get ready to go on a trip, plan carefully as you gear up. It just might save some headaches and even a heartache or two!