It’s All About The Story

AN­DREW HARD­ING OF­FERS IN­VALU­ABLE IN­STRUC­TION AND TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF CRE­AT­ING YOUR OWN STUN­NING FLY­FISH­ING VIDEOS.

NZ Fish & Game - - Features -

IN­STRUC­TIONAL AD­VISE ON HOW TO VIDEO YOUR FISH­ING

ITHOUT DOUBT, THE NAME GoPro has sin­gle-hand­edly launched a gen­er­a­tion of bud­ding am­a­teur film buffs over the past 10 years. Syn­ony­mous with adren­a­line junkies and vir­tu­ally a house­hold name, that lit­tle plas­tic box has trans­formed the way we view the ex­pe­ri­ences of oth­ers through the rapidly ex­pand­ing pop­u­lar­ity of video thanks to medi­ums such as YouTube, Vimeo, and So­cial Media.

The jar­gon can be some­what daunt­ing, but the tech­nol­ogy and ad­vance­ments are noth­ing short of im­pres­sive, so much so that we are con­tin­u­ing to see pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies adding ac­tion cam footage at a steadily in­creas­ing rate, none more so than in the realm of re­al­ity tele­vi­sion. Never be­fore has cap­tur­ing your fish­ing ad­ven­tures on film been within such easy reach of the masses.

Video is a medium I love for a myr­iad of rea­sons and en­deav­our to im­prove on each time I make that jour­ney in search of our scaled op­po­nents, be it fresh or salt quarry. Show­ing the world these unique ex­pe­ri­ences through video re­ally puts the viewer in the ‘mo­ment’, ar­guably more so than a pho­to­graph can do, es­pe­cially if done right. It’s the sounds, sights, cam­era per­spec­tives, those amaz­ing mov­ing scenes, and the sto­ries that in­volve the viewer in ‘that mo­ment’, that’s dif­fi­cult to repli­cate through print.

I re­cently had the plea­sure of film­ing the fly­fish­ing dvd, Back­coun­try North Is­land, with Nick Rey­gaert from Gin Clear Media. Up un­til this point, I con­sid­ered my­self a bit of a hot-shot at cap­tur­ing my ad­ven­tures on the river. I knew it all!…to say I was wrong would be an un­der­state­ment. The level of work these pro­fes­sional guys put into get­ting just sec­onds of footage is stag­ger­ing -- the amount of gear lugged into the back­blocks of the New Zealand wilder­ness, the 20 hour edit­ing days, gear fail­ures and frus­tra­tions were com­mon, the ex­ple­tives even more so…a level of film­ing I will never want to as­pire too. It’s just too hard! I re­call Nick say­ing to me: “An­drew, ex­pect to catch 10% of the fish you would nor­mally catch dur­ing film­ing.” And he was right, but to my mind there is a happy medium.

My thirst for cap­tur­ing these ex­pe­ri­ences through video is ever evolv­ing, but I find my­self crav­ing that bal­ance of be­ing able to fish AND cap­tur­ing footage on an ac­cept­able level. Is this achiev­able? Ab­so­lutely, not to men­tion ex­tremely re­ward­ing putting it on dis­play for a world au­di­ence and show­cas­ing just what this wee slice of par­adise tucked away at the bot­tom of the South Pa­cific has to of­fer. How many times have we all seen some­thing re­mark­able in the wilder­ness and wished we’d been film­ing it -- that split sec­ond scene that makes you step back, your heart skip­ping a beat, and go WOW.

Ac­tion cam­era’s will never come even re­motely close to cap­tur­ing still im­ages as good as an SLR, or even a cheap point and shoot dig­i­tal cam­era for that mat­ter. But what they can achieve is not just one, but thou­sands of po­ten­tial im­ages from just a short record­ing. Video is made up of these still im­ages, strung to­gether to make film. With nearly all ac­tion cams able to shoot in HD res­o­lu­tion, or 1920 x 1080 pix­els high, this means you can lit­er­ally chose what­ever still im­age

your heart de­sires, al­beit at a fairly low res­o­lu­tion, sim­ply by se­lect­ing any frame. Al­ter­na­tively, many cam­eras also snap up to an im­pres­sive 12 mega-pixel stills while video record­ing at the push of a but­ton. Marry this to im­pres­sive burst shoot­ing and time-lapse modes and you have a plethora of record­ing op­tions at your fin­ger­tips.

4K res­o­lu­tion is the new kid on the block of late, which ef­fec­tively dou­bles HD res­o­lu­tion to 3840 x 2160 pix­els and, while this re­quires some hefty pro­cess­ing and edit­ing power, the im­ages cap­tured from 4K video are very ac­cept­able as still im­ages for print, not to men­tion crop­ping in with­out loos­ing res­o­lu­tion in video. Even at a hum­ble 1080 res­o­lu­tion, im­ages still re­pro­duce okay in print, as you can see by the video cap­tures ac­com­pa­ny­ing this ar­ti­cle.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there are some mis­con­cep­tions about just get­ting out there and film­ing, and this is the rea­son so many pur­chase ac­tion cam­eras, use them a few times, and then have them re­side in a draw for the rest of their life. The re­al­ity is many ‘like the idea of mak­ing video’, but the re­al­ity is it’s ex­tremely time-con­sum­ing and the cam­era it­self is sim­ply a third of the equa­tion. A pow­er­ful com­puter -- and as­so­ci­ated soft­ware -- to edit the footage is a pre­req­ui­site and, of course, the time in edit­ing it­self, which in re­al­ity takes as long, if not longer than the ac­tual film­ing. Delv­ing into colour pro­cess­ing, se­quence fad­ing, adding fil­ters, timed sound­tracks and voiceover makes the whole process ap­pear some­what daunt­ing and a chore for many. Of course, at the end of it all, you have cap­tured a mem­ory for life in mov­ing pic­tures and up­load­ing to the likes of YouTube or cloud-stor­age en­sures these mo­ments will live on for our kids and their kids.

HERE ARE A COU­PLE OF THINGS TO keep in mind when choos­ing the cam­era for film­ing on the river, Many sim­ply miss the mark com­pletely, with poor bat­tery life, no means for lin­ing up a shot, and fea­tures that make them some­what awk­ward to use. Hav­ing used many cam­eras out there ex­ten­sively for a num­ber of years, I have set­tled on the Drift Ghost se­ries as the cam­era of choice for a num­ber of rea­sons. per­haps the most im­por­tant be­ing it’s ex­cel­lent, ded­i­cated video tag­ging.

Video tag­ging, to my mind, is the sin­gle most im­por­tant fea­ture to look for on a cam­era for film­ing fish­ing. What it does in sim­ple terms is the cam­era is con­stantly record­ing, how­ever it is not sav­ing the footage to your mem­ory card. On the Drift Ghost S, I have video tag­ging set to a two minute in­ter­val. So what does this do?

Say I hook a fish. I sim­ply tap the re­mote lo­cated on my wrist af­ter I hook-up, the cam­era will au­to­mat­i­cally start sav­ing to the mem­ory card, sav­ing back footage two min­utes prior to that point -- the hookup, the cur­rent two min­utes play­ing the fish, and the next two min­utes af­ter that, in­clud­ing the re­lease. What this does is en­sure you NEVER miss cap­tur­ing that all-im­por­tant strike and the build up to that mo­ment, which re­ally makes a clip.

Video tag­ging can be set to al­ter­nate in­ter­vals as well, but for most bat­tles with our fresh­wa­ter denizens, six min­utes to­tal tag­ging time seems about right. If it is a pro­longed scrap, tap­ping the re­mote again will add a fur­ther two min­utes onto the record­ing and so on. More im­por­tantly, this also negates hav­ing hours and hours of footage to trawl back through when edit­ing, leav­ing you with just the seg­ments you want to in­clude in your clip -- a very handy and time sav­ing fea­ture. My cam­era typ­i­cally records for around 8-10 hours a day non-stop. Many of the mod­ern crop of ac­tion cams will also link with your smart­phone via WiFi or Blue­tooth. This is a great fea­ture for re­view­ing your footage on the long walk back at the end of the day and, in some in­stances, also for lin­ing up the footage if your cam­era does not fea­ture a built-in LCD screen.

One of the tips I have learned over the years is to shoot in as high frame rate as pos­si­ble if you want to cap­ture slow mo­tion in your clip. Fly­fish­ing by na­ture re­ally lends it­self to slow mo­tion. Film­ing at 60fps is the min­i­mum, ba­si­cally this means that there will be 60 still im­ages recorded per sec­ond. This dou­bles the num­ber of im­ages over a stan­dard 30 frames per sec­ond, al­low­ing you to do much more fluid slow mo­tion in edit­ing, elim­i­nat­ing any jerk­i­ness when slowed to say 25% speed of the orig­i­nal footage recorded. Cap­tur­ing a trout, tail-walk­ing at 60fps is sim­ply mes­meris­ing to watch and re­ally pulls out su­perb de­tail. A slow mo­tion strike, flick of a tail re­lease, or that danc­ing for­est of toe toes sway­ing in the breeze on a back­coun­try river flat -- this can all add dra­matic ef­fect to your clip.

Util­is­ing some form of po­lar­is­ing fil­ter is ad­vis­able for any record­ing on the wa­ter. Many cam­eras, such as the GoPro range, have a mul­ti­tude of ac­ces­sories and fil­ters avail­able. I had to fab­ri­cate my own, adapted from a ba­sic 30-46mm step-up cam­era adapter ring. This al­lows me to screw on a cir­cu­lar po­lariser for cut­ting through that sur­face glare very easily, or swap­ping that for a UV fil­ter to get rid of un­wanted haze. The whole sys­tem works flaw­lessly. It just takes a bit of tin­ker­ing to get mounted, but the re­sults are as­ton­ish­ing com­pared to film­ing through a non-po­larised lens and make colours re­ally ‘pop’, not to men­tion the ob­vi­ous glare omis­sion al­low­ing you to film through sur­face re­fec­tion. While never mea­sur­ing up to the qual­ity of, say, an Epic RED cam­era as used by the team at Gin Clear, the qual­ity on an am­a­teur level is still quite ac­cept­able.

Wa­ter­proof­ing and ac­tion cams go hand-in-hand, nat­u­rally. This, how­ever, is a dou­ble-edged sword, as I am yet to find a cam­era that does not fog when used to film un­der­wa­ter. Tak­ing a cam­era from un­der the sur­face, back into the hot sun is a 100% sure recipe to in­tro­duce fog­ging on the in­side of any cam­era lens and can re­ally ruin that per­fect footage. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers sup­ply anti-fog in­serts, but in my mind this is just another fid­dly ex­tra to carry. For that rea­son, I tend to stay

THERE IS NO SUB­STI­TUTE FOR MOUNT­ING THE CAM­ERA ON TOP OF YOUR HEAD FOR FILM­ING FISH­ING

AN AS­SORT­MENT OF RECORD­ING GEAR

VIDEO SCREEN SELFIE SNAP­SHOT

A TYP­I­CAL VIDEO SCREEN GRAB HAS EX­CEP­TIONAL QUAL­ITY

CAP MOUNT WITH CAM­ERA RE­MOVED

IT PAYS TO KEEP A STEADY HEAD

A C COM­PAR­I­SON OF THE SAME IM­AGE WITH CPL FIL­TER ON [RIGHT]AND OFF [THIS IM­AGE]

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