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.
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]