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Driftwood outdoors: Good video part shooting, part editing

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With more than 500 outdoor television shows airing across multiple networks, it’s easy to see that a lot of people who enjoy the outdoors have an interest in capturing and sharing their experiences with video equipment.

Now most of them do a pretty horrible job of providing professional content, and most are in the game hoping against hope to become the next Bill Dance or Michael Waddell.

I mean, come on, getting paid to hunt and fish for a living sounds sweet to just about everyone with any other job.

But you’re not the next Bill Dance or Michael Waddell. And chances are Remington or Ranger isn’t going to hand you a hundred grand.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in your own right, but the odds are stacked against you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

What you can definitely do is have a lot of fun videoing your hunts or fishing trips and sharing the experiences with your family and friends. Imagine how valuable a video of your children catching bluegills this summer will be to you 20 years from now when they are all grown up and gone off into the world.

It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to get started videoing your outdoor experiences. There are really only four necessities: a video camera, tripod, computer and editing software. You can argue a tripod is not a necessity, but if you want anyone to be able to tolerate watching your videos, then a tripod is a necessity.

Once you begin videoing regularly, you can start thinking about buying external microphones, lights and more. But for now, keep it simple.

Good video begins in the field and ends in the editing suite. So the biggest mistake beginner videographers make is trying to record everything. Building a compelling video requires a plan. What is your objective? If you are going turkey hunting, then your objective is to showcase your turkey hunt, which hopefully ends with a dead bird.

Maybe your video opens with a quick shot of the sunrise, but it should quickly transition to setting up the adventure. A good video is pieced together. It does not flow from the first time you press the record button until you stop recording. You can record your hunt, and then go find a nice-looking spot to film interviews, product descriptions and scene setups. You arrange the order of your scenes in the editing process.

The best advice I can give you for making a video is keep it short and keep it clean. No one wants to watch you casting for 20 minutes. Now, you’ll need to record a lot to catch the right moments, but edit out as much of the downtime as possible.

Don’t cuss or be crude. There is just no reason to.

A good rule of thumb for online videos is 3 to 5 minutes. People are busy. Most don’t have time at work to watch a half-hour show, but many will slip in a few minutes to take a break and watch a quick hunting video.

Most computers are capable of editing video by adding simple software. There are a number of options available for the hobbyist that range in price from free to $100. Just because the professionals use it, you do not need Final Cut or Adobe Premier to get started. Uploading to YouTube is a simple, inexpensive way to share your videos. Burning your videos on DVDs should also be easy to do with any editing software.

Videoing is fun and exciting. You never know what you are going to catch on camera. You’ll enjoy going back and watching your adventures later in life, and so will your kin.

Just keep it quick, keep it interesting and give up on being Bill Dance. Be yourself.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler’s outdoors column appears Saturdays in the Daily Journal.

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