Sunday, September 30, 2012


            I’ve been taking a video camera on my hunts since October 2010, but I never packed a tripod because I wanted to streamline my baggage as much as possible. In previous posts I stressed the importance of using a firm rifle rest for optimum shooting performance. Chalk one up for the Practice What You Preach Dept.—I finally realized the same concept applies when shooting video.
            When I travel, one of my personal aides goes with me and, in addition to other responsibilities, acts as cameraman. Three different aides have accompanied me on hunts, and all did a fine job with the camera; however, through no fault of their own, the handheld video got shaky at times (especially during zoomed-in closeups) and always jumped when the rifle fired. Even if you’re expecting it, the sudden, loud sound of a gunshot causes an uncontrollable, reflexive flinch that disappoints viwers when the lens abruptly leaps away from the animal at the hunt’s climactic moment.
            Before our recent trip to Uruguay, I asked Luiz to wipe the dust off my tripod—a lightweight, inexpensive model I’ve had for 23 years—and put it in my suitcase. As you’ll see in this video, that little tripod made a huge difference in image quality.
            The first part was recorded without a tripod because some hogs showed up much sooner than expected. Although Luiz remained Steady-Eddie while handling the camera, he involuntarily flinched at the rifle’s report.
            While waiting for more hogs to appear, Luiz set up the tripod. Note the rock-solid improvement in the second sequence. Luiz framed the image and then kept his hands off the camera when the rifle fired.

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