Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Getting It In The Can
Getting It In The Can
Shotgun microphone mounted. This camera has a separate mount for the unit. On some cameras, you have to use the hot shoe to hold the shotgun.

Sound or audio is a huge headache for camera men and editors. Just about none of the consumer or prosumer video cameras have quality microphones. Camera noise, usually from lens movement with zooming, is audible as well as the dreaded ďwhite noise whineĒ that is prevalent when a camera is in automatic audio gain setting and it is constantly searching for sound to set the level to. If you are going to use a camera mic, learn how to set the audio levels manually if your camera supports that. Watch your levels closely while filming.

Getting It In The Can
Foam filter media for a household humidifier makes a great low cost wind sock for the on board camera microphone. A rubber band can make it fit on just about anything.

Getting It In The Can
Camera with the shotgun microphone and wireless microphone receiver mounted. This camera has 2 XLR inputs allowing for 2 outside sources of audio.

Better yet, buy a good shotgun mic or wireless mics and a good set of production headphones. Most cameras will support at least one and often two microphone inputs. When Iím filming one on one with a hunter I put a wireless lavaliere unit on the hunter and a shotgun mike on the camera for ambient sound. Set the audio levels manually to each host and watch your levels readout while listening to the audio in the headphones. Interference, electronic clicks and battery drop outs are only caught through the headphones. Watch out for hostís levels to change from the pre-shot whispers to jubilant post shot shouting. Clipped audio from peaking is as good as no audio. Buy a good wind sock for the mic head and watch out for wind noise as it can totally ruin a video clip. Good audio is a lot of work and doesnít come by fluke or blind luck. It is easily the most screwed up facet of video production.

Getting It In The Can
Wireless microphones - small, lightweight and relatively inexpensive - have come a long way in ten years!

Format, what you shoot that video on, can be just as important as what is shot. Today we all film in HD or high definition. What we record the footage on is where the snag comes in. Mini Digital Video (Mini DV) tape while seeming archaic is still the industry standard and anybody can work with it. Hard Drive cameras, flash and disk all have format issues, in that some compress as they record or record in a format that isnít compatible with common editing software. I edit in Final Cut Pro HD and there are cameras using formats like the new XD or MPEG 4 compressions that I canít touch. Before I spend the coin to upgrade the suite Iíll wait and see what format climbs to the top of the heap. In the 10 years Iíve been filming on mini DV many have threatened to, but none have succeeded so far.

Getting It In The Can
Mini DV tape is still the overwhelming choice of recording media. One strong feature is that the physical storage of the footage isn't taking up space on a hard drive.

Tape or hard drive, whatever format you record on is cheap. Make sure you get a lead in to each shot and some tape laid down after the action stops. 10 or 15 seconds is all that is required, but most new camera operators stop recording as soon as the talking ends and donít make sure that a little tape rolls before people talk. Often the first word or two are missed making for more headaches in the edit suite.

Iíll put this one qualifier in here at the end. I said early on that what the final use of the video was controlled much of how it was filmed. Forget that. You may as well do it right from the start, and then when you do get something good on tape and want to share it with the hunting community and wander through my door, we have what it takes to make it happen.

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