Friday, April 2, 2010

SoloCam Pro - Solo Camerman Producer
One of the more popular things to do while hunting these days is video taping your hunt. I was surfing the web the other day and found a link to SoloCam Pro. This is from their Facebook page:
SoloCam Pro is a hybrid acronym for "Solo Cameraman Producer". The SoloCam Pro uses broadcast video techniques to video tape his or her own hunt. Participants will have access to download a SoloCam Pro instructional DVD- giving all the details on how to professionally tape your own hunt... as well as how to get involved in being on our elite Pro Staff. Successful hunts can be submitted to Tom Miranda Studios in Florida for evaluation and possible use on several Whitetail TV series including Realtree's Whitetail Country and Mathews Dominant Bucks with Stan Potts. You must log in and register at www.solocampro.com to download the DVD or you can purchase the DVD at www.tommiranda.com
I am very new to the video taping part of my hunts, but I got into it last year and it can be a lot of fun. It can also be a lot of extra work, extra weight in your pack and it can slow you down depending on your hunt and how prepared you are. You'll have to do some serious planning if you want to take on this added part of your hunt.

The reason I am posting this is to help everyone out a little bit. Promoting the SoloCam Pro as a product is not my intention. What I am trying to do is share some basic info to help you guys be able to video tape your hunt more effectively and efficiently. The SoloCam Pro online How-To videos only focus on whitetail deer. I want to take it even further. I archery hunt for mule deer (spot and stalk style) and I archery hunt for wild boar and you can't follow exactly what the videos show. I have watched some of the videos in the series (still waiting to get them to load) and for treestand whitetail hunting it's right on. I am going to give my view on this as well. There is some great instruction here and the tips are worth it alone.

First, there are some great tips on this video series. Watch them carefully as they offer a wealth of information (if you have the patience to wait for them to load one by one, but you can purchase the DVD and save the wait time). While there is great info, I don't think you necessarily need to purchase the exact cameras they show for your hunts. Especially if you plan on hiking a vast stretch of land, or if you only plan on only sharing with your friends or on YouTube. Now, if you want to get it on TV you should follow the series quite closely. 

For me, I mostly share with friends and on YouTube. For that reason I like a camera like the Canon HF 200. It's small, HD and easy to carry. (Now if Canon wants to send one for a product review I am all for it.) Sure, it's not matte black and doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but who needs bells and whistles? It does have some great features, captures great high-def video and packs well. If you want to check out the reviews go here.

You can also attach a small Flip or Kodak Zi8 camera to a Gorillapod and attach it to your bow for video of your shot. I recommend you practice with this setup long before you hit the field. The added weight can throw you off considerably.

The other reason is budget. How many of us hunters have $2-3k sitting in our accounts waiting to buy a video camera? I am sure our wives would love that. Long conversation short, I imagine that the conversation would go something like this:
SoCal Bowhunter: "Hey babe, I am going to take $3,000 out of savings for a video camera to tape my hunts, ok?"
 
My Wife: "I'm sorry, can you tell me that again. I was in the middle of taking care of a tired infant, putting the groceries away and cooking your dinner. I thought I heard you say you were going to take $3,000 out of savings for a video camera for your hunting."


SoCal Bowhunter: "Umm, yeah. I was just mumbling out loud. Scrap that gibberish, I am off to research other options."
You see, for the guys who have families, who have invested a good deal of money in their actual hunting gear or who are low on funds (probably due to our economy) that wouldn't be a reasonable option. My recommendation is to go to Costco, or someplace that has a package deal on these smaller but HD quality cameras. You can get a HF 200 package for $570 or less at some places. Sure, you'll have to have a computer and software to edit the videos, too. All in all, you can do it all on your own at a more reasonable investment and still get quality video. Do some research, talk to your buddies and I am sure you can come up with a good plan for taping your hunts, plus you'll stay married!

I want to hear what you guys think. What cameras do you recommend? How would you shoot video if you were on a solo hunt? Don't be afraid to disagree with me. I am not expert and I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for an excellent post! I was very interested in the canon HF 200 you mentioned... I've been looking for a smaller camcorder that still has good quality and hadn't been able to find one that had a high enough optical zoom... most I've seen have a 10 or 12x optical zoom so I really liked the HF200 15x optical zoom... the one feature I didn't like was that there's no viewfinder...for me filming with a viewfinder works a lot better...(I have to use reading glasses to see the screen!) it also uses less battery, which is vital when you'er filming in the middle of nowhere!
    Our son tried filming his own hunt last year. He used a bow camera mount from http://insanearchery.com/products.html, and was pretty happy with it. He used the video feature on his HP still digital camera and ran out of memory before the shot... so you would need to get a bigger memory card for your camera if you're going to use this method!... also I'm thinking it might be a problem with running out of battery if you film very long, you'd need to carry extra batteries. You can read his review and see the footage he took here http://www.basecamplegends.com/2009/09/bow-camera-mount/. We are just amatures but it is a lot of fun to capture your hunts on film... and if we can find methods that don't cost an arm and a leg it makes it even more enjoyable! I've enjoyed the information you share and look forward to more!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an excellent write-up... and the exact reason I designed the InsaneArchery Camera Bow Mount. (Suzee - thank you very much for including the link to my website and the kind words. I'm glad you son is enjoying the product... tell him Brian says "hi"!).

    Regarding stalking; the InsaneArchery mount was designed to be extremely light weight (2.8 oz.) and maneuverable. It allows you to pivot the camera out of harm’s way when you’re crawling through the brush and then easily and quietly back into position when you want to begin recording.

    Regarding camera choice; I use several different cameras. If I know I’m going to be doing spot-n-stalk, then I will use my smaller, lighter cameras. If I’m stationary… like in a blind or a tree stand, then I’ll use one of the larger cameras.

    Here are the cameras I use:

    Kodak Zi6 (newer model is the Zi8) – Light weight and HIGH DEFINITION
    Kodak EasyShare M753 – Light weight and very good quality, better in low light
    Casio Exilim – Light weight, decent quality
    JVC Everio – midsize, medium weight, excellent quality and good zoom
    JVC MiniDV – heaviest weight but outstanding quality and powerful zoom

    ReplyDelete