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Muley Crazy Magazine March/April 2014 : Page 55

ike many of you, I grew up watching the MuleyCrazy video series on VHS. I was mesmerized by not only the giant bucks and exciting hunts, but also by the realism that Ryan was able to capture with his camera. I re-wound and watched those videos until there were scratches and drop-outs on most of them. In fact, I remember more about the hunts on those old VHS tapes than most of my own. Why? Because they had been cap-tured, documented, and shared with others. I knew long ago, that I wanted to do the same with my own adventures. L Now before I get going, I feel it’s important to explain that I am 100% self-taught in film production. From camera equip-ment to editing software, to uploading online, I have learned it all as I have went forward. It can seem overwhelming and complicated to begin filming; after all, there are infinite ways, methods, and techniques to film and edit your hunts. Thankfully, there are also tools and resources out there that can make it completely possible. During this edition of “Zac’s Tech Tips”, I will be giving a simple explanation of the gear and techniques I have grown into. While they are my personal recommendations, they are far from the only solution. What matters most, is you jump in and start figuring out what works for you. ~ Cameras ~ CANON VIXIA HF G30 / Price: $1,699 This compact and light unit is an awesome field camera. I leave it on my tripod, strapped to my pack, for quick access. The camera is relatively small but it is capable of amazing things. For one, it has a 20x optical lens; enabling you to bring in distant objects while retaining optical clari-ty. It is important to always remember that optical zoom is all that matters. Digital zoom is very low-resolution and the higher you zoom digitally, the grainier your image will become. Optical is the actual magnification and will produce an actual unenhanced image notably clearer than a digitally magnified image. The HD picture in the Vixia HF G30 is extremely good quality and it can also record up to 60 frames per second. In addition, it also has res-

Getting Technical with Zac Griffith Capture Your Hunt On Film

Zac Griffith


Like many of you, I grew up watching the MuleyCrazy video series on VHS. I was mesmerized by not only the giant bucks and exciting hunts, but also by the realism that Ryan was able to capture with his camera. I re-wound and watched those videos until there were scratches and drop-outs on most of them. In fact, I remember more about the hunts on those old VHS tapes than most of my own. Why? Because they had been captured, documented, and shared with others. I knew long ago, that I wanted to do the same with my own adventures.

Now before I get going, I feel it’s important to explain that I am 100% self-taught in film production. From camera equipment to editing software, to uploading online, I have learned it all as I have went forward. It can seem overwhelming and complicated to begin filming; after all, there are infinite ways, methods, and techniques to film and edit your hunts. Thankfully, there are also tools and resources out there that can make it completely possible.

During this edition of “Zac’s Tech Tips”, I will be giving a simple explanation of the gear and techniques I have grown into. While they are my personal recommendations, they are far from the only solution. What matters most, is you jump in and start figuring out what works for you.

~ Cameras ~
CANON VIXIA HF G30 / Price: $1,699

This compact and light unit is an awesome field camera. I leave it on my tripod, strapped to my pack, for quick access. The camera is relatively small but it is capable of amazing things. For one, it has a 20x optical lens; enabling you to bring in distant objects while retaining optical clarity. It is important to always remember that optical zoom is all that matters. Digital zoom is very low-resolution and the higher you zoom digitally, the grainier your image will become. Optical is the actual magnification and will produce an actual unenhanced image notably clearer than a digitally magnified image.

The HD picture in the Vixia HF G30 is extremely good quality and it can also record up to 60 frames per second. In addition, it also has resolution settings and can record up to 28MB/s. This produces a crisp, bright, high-definition image. An added bonus, the Canon Vixia HF G30 can hold two memory cards and you can purchase extra batteries for long-life in the field. All good cameras use SD cards now instead of tapes, which is great for file storage and retrieval.

The down-sides are few but need to be addressed. The camera is expensive…it retails for around $1,700. But for the filmmaker that wants the quality and high frame rate, it’s a steal. Overall, the zoom and ease of use make this an excellent all-around camera to film the majority of your hunts and scenes with. Guys that may want to simplify things can save a ton of money by buying a smaller hand-held camera, and there are plenty to choose from.

CANON REBEL T3i / Price: $499
The Canon Rebel is a large-format DLSR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) and an awesome camera for two reasons. First, the camera takes awesome photos. Autosettings and adjustable settings enable the photographer to fine-tune and capture excellent quality stills. These cameras accept a wide range of different lenses. Lenses differ in their clarity, zoom range, focus etc. I recommend starting with a kit lens (comes with the camera usually) to get started. I use a 1.4f 50mm that enables artistic and cinematic focusing and cool depth of field techniques. Again, don’t get overwhelmed. Start with the basics and learn as you go. You can get a lot of great results with the factory kit lenses. When you realize the value and benefit of the lens upgrades, you’ll make a more educated purchase.

In addition to the awesome still photo capability, most DLSR cameras also record HD video! The variations of lenses and video formats enable these cameras to capture unique and interesting footage. Although they take some practice, they are capable of capturing extremely high quality footage. In fact, much of the new, artistic and cinematic, hunting films are made with DSLRs.

GO PRO HERO,HERO 2,HERO 3
Price: $199-399

The GoPro has revolutionized consumer film. These tiny little cameras are waterproof, impact resistant, and the Hero 3 version has the ability to capture 1080p HD video at up to 60 frames per second! They are an excellent way to capture emotion, movement, action, etc. The cameras have a unique convex lens that creates a slightly distorted image but from 3 to 5 feet or so, their clarity is unbelievable! They are not designed for filming anything at a distance and you will find a lot of outdoor videographers mounting the GoPro to their bow or rifle. However, these cameras will not track or capture much of the arrow/bullet flight or the animal…they are designed more for capturing you!

They have a ton of different mounts, brackets, and harnesses that can be used to customize your GoPro footage. Capture your movement and reaction in the field with this camera. Use the other cameras mentioned above to film the animals and scenery. I like to carry my GoPro in my pocket and pull it out whenever I see unique or cool shots. They are convenient and add a ton of character to films.

~ Adapters ~
PHONESKOPE / Price: $60
There are a lot of awesome products out there that allow you to film through a spotting scope. One of the more popular and effective products on the market today is called the PhoneSkope. This is a device that allows you to attach your smart phone to your spotting scope and/or binoculars and capture some amazing, quality footage. I know all the guys at MuleyCrazy really love their PhoneSkopes and they all swear by them.

VORTEX DSLR SCOPE ADAPTER Price: $169
I personally use the Vortex adapter kit. It comes with a receiver for the scope as well as the adapter heads that thread into six different lens sizes. The HD video through a DSLR can be amazing, especially when coupled with your high-quality spotter! The Vortex kit is an affordable and excellent product to capture long-range video. I am able to record HD quality footage from 200 to 1500 yards with my current set-up!

Also, remember that a DSLR is a camera too. Therefore, the scope can serve as an awesome lens for long-range still shots! The key with the scope set-up is a heavy, high quality tripod. The scope with a camera attached can become off balance and difficult to navigate. Using a high-quality head will help stabilize the film and support the scope.

~ And…Action! ~
To capture quality footage, your camera must be mounted to a tripod. Use the tripod to center the image and take your hands off once it’s recording–– especially if it is a kill shot sequence. Trust me, the camera will jump when the shot is fired if you’re holding it. The tripod will capture the scene without bumps or shakes if you just center the image and lock it into place before firing. I recommend you keep a camera on the tripod at all times—whether you carry it or have it in your pack. You are more likely to film events when the camera is ready and available. Trust me, most of the shots you want to capture will be gone before you know, it so be prepared!

The adapter plates that come with the tripod head can be attached quickly to your camera. I leave my plates on my cameras at all times for easy interchange. You will need to buy more plates from the manufacturer but it is worth the convenience.

~ Editing Software ~
For the beginner, Mac (Apple) products come with iMovie, while PC’s usually have Windows Movie Maker software. These two programs are very simple and easy to use. You’ll learn how to upload your footage to the program and drag and cut the clips into meaningful sequences. Both programs offer basic text, transition, and audio effects.

Once you graduate from the basics and want to venture into more advanced edits, I recommend Final Cut Pro X. It is available on iTunes for about $300. For 99% of amateur filmmakers this program is all you will ever need. I have not begun to understand all of the capabilities of this program! It’s exciting to experiment with different effects and learn what they do!

~ Parting Shot ~
You owe it to yourself to take the time to film your experiences. Do your research, practice with your cameras and software before going into the field. But above all else, have fun with it. The bottom line is to learn as you go. Improve your technique and quality with each outing and before it’s all over, you will have priceless memories to relive with your family and friends.

Zac’s Quick Tips for Videoing Your Hunting Adventures

Below are a few basic, but very critical, tips that will improve your film quality:
• Familiarize yourself with you camera and its features at home (before going into the field)
• Use a tripod to stabilize the image
• Keep your lens clean
• Record short clips to make editing and retrieval simpler.
• Carry extra camera batteries
• Keep the camera on the tripod and easily accessible on your pack (The best moments usually happen unexpectedly and quickly!)

Read the full article at http://www.onlinedigitalpublishing.com/article/Getting+Technical+with+Zac+Griffith+Capture+Your+Hunt+On+Film/1650344/199643/article.html.

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