Thursday, March 19, 2015

Outdoor Videography Tips

This article shares a few outdoor videography tips I have compiled after a few years filming fish and fly fishing in the Colorado mountains.  These are just a few thoughts that may help make your outdoor filming adventure go a little more smoothly and provide you with better footage to edit into an epic YouTube video back home on your computer.

Polarizing Filter - A polarizing filter is extremely helpful for filming fly fishing (or any other activity) in the Colorado mountains.  The filter reduces glare from high altitude sun and improves colors.  Skies take on a much more vibrant blue and streams can appear completely transparent to reveal every fish in the creek depending on the angle of the filter.  A polarizing filter can help collect clearer, more vibrant video and if your camera accepts a filter, you should consider experimenting with one.

Film Away from the Sun - For the most part, you don't want to be filming into the sun, unless you are going for the back-lit, sun flare on the lens look.  To the extent you can, just keep your back to the sun while filming (watch out for your shadow).  I find outdoor subjects like streams and animals usually dictate which direction the camera is pointing, so you don't always have a choice, but keep it in mind when you can.

Lightweight Tripod - I do a fair amount of "Les Stroud"-style filming and find both a full size, light weight tripod and a smaller, flexible-style tripod very helpful in capturing the shots I want.  Consider your needs and the shots you want, but if do decide to get a tripod, try to get a lightweight model, as hiking and fishing with a large, heavy tripod is no fun.  Tripods are fairly critical for time-lapse photography and any other long, single position shooting you plan to do.

Lens Cloth - The outdoors is full of dust, dirt, water and a whole bunch of other stuff that wants to land on your lens and ruin your shots.  Nothing is more frustrating than reviewing your footage later only to realize that your otherwise perfect shot is marred by a piece of dust or drop of water.  Get a nice cheap lens cloth, keep it with you and check your lens frequently.  Clean as needed.

Large Memory Card - My cameras use SD cards and I plan on using a good portion of a 32GB memory card for a long day of recording on the water.  I recommend getting at least a 32GB card, but you might be able to get away with a 16GB.  It really just comes down to data management and if you are good about downloading your footage, you can get away with something smaller.  There is little worse than tying to make room on a memory card streamside as the fish are rising perfectly to mayflies right in front of you.
Practice - Learn to use your camera equipment before you go out filming.  Obviously, the more you use your equipment the more familiar you will be with it, but take the time to read through your manual in the comfort of your home and play around with the different settings and options.  Just like the SD card, there is little worse than trying to figure your camera or how to unlock a setting streamside.

These tips are just a few lessons I have learned the hard way and I hope that I can help reduce your frustration as you begin to film what you love in the outdoors.  I hope to follow up this article with more helpful tips in the future.  Have a good one.