By Alex Comstock
Recently, it seems as though I've been getting a number of questions on what it costs to film your hunts. Though this can vary, largely depending on what kind of quality footage you are looking for, what your intent is with filming, how nice of gear you want, etc. I will give a breakdown of what it cost me to get into filming this year. What it cost me will not be an exact cost for everybody, but it should give you a general idea what you might be able to afford, and what kind of quality you can get out it. With all of that said, lets jump into the breakdown.
Camera - The first thing you need in order to film is a camera. There is a plethora of camera options ranging from small handy cams to professional style video cameras that most TV shows use. For me, I went right down the middle and purchased a Canon Vixia G30. The G30 can be difficult to find nowadays, but users who want to go with a Canon Vixia series camera should look towards the Canon G40, which is the newer version of the G30, and can be found for about $1,000.
Camera Arm - If you are going to be filming at all out of a treestand, you'll need a camera arm. I've got the muddy outfitter camera arm, which retails for about $140. Another brand I would suggest looking into is Fourth Arrow Camera Arms, as they seem to be a new and innovative company that is worth checking out.
Fluid Head - In order to get your camera on to your camera arm, you'll need a fluid head. A fluid head allows to to rotate, and move the camera smoothly, so your footage isn't shaky. I have a Manfrotto fluid head that costs $135.
Shotgun Mic - As far as the essentials go, I'm going to assume if you are filming, you'd like to have some audio as well. I have a RODE mic that I actually don't like that much. For that reason, I'm going to recommend the Canon DM-100 shotgun mic, which I think I will be switching to. This will cost you about $180.
These are the bare minimums to capturing some footage and audio. You won't get anything fancy from this setup, but you'll be able to capture some pretty high quality film once you learn how to use the equipment. Total Cost of Essentials - $1,455.
If you want to add some extras to your filming setup, especially if you want to produce or create some type of edited film, there are a few things that could help you out. Here is everything that I have that you don't necessarily need to have, but they can significantly add to your quality of film, and allow you to get more creative.
Extras That I Have:
GoPro Hero 3 - Go Pro's are awesome for capturing 2nd angle shots, or to put on a selfie stick and film while you are walking into the stand, scouting, etc. Their prices range anywhere from $150-$300 online depending where you want to buy one, and if you want to get a used or new one. We'll just say this will cost about $200.
GoPro Mount - I have a Jaws Clamp mount that I use for my GoPro. It can clamp to any branch, my bow hanger, or anything of that nature to help you capture a 2nd angle. I bought the cheap model, which only costs $10.
DSLR Camera - A DSLR gives you the ability to capture B-roll easier in the stand, another angle if you wish, and is great for taking still shots as well. I personally have the Nikon D3300 with an 18-55mm, and 55-200mm lenses kit. This came as a bundle deal, and right now you can buy that bundle for $550.
Editing Software - If you want to create any type of edited video for YouTube, a Webshow, or anything of that nature, you'll need some software to put it together. For this, I went with Sony Vegas Pro, which costs me $500.
Muddy Micro Mount - The muddy micro mount is a very small mount that I use to attach my DSLR camera to in the tree. You can easily attach it to a bow hanger or tree step, and is a nice little accessory. This retails for roughly $30.
Varizoom Controller - A varizoom controller allows you to control your zoom and focus without having to touch the camera. It plugs in to your camera, and attaches to the handle of your fluid head. This little gadget can significantly help you with getting less shaky video, and reduces your movement. The one I have cost $125.
Total cost of extras that I have - $1,415.
Total cost of essentials plus extras - $2,870
Conclusion: Clearly, it can be spendy to get into filming, especially if you are trying to produce content like I am. $2,870 may seem like a ton of money. And it is, and you can definitely pull off filming for a smaller price. But on the other hand, you can spend oodles more if you want to. This is just what I have, and what I have spent. I hope if you are looking at getting into filming or wanting to switch some of your gear, this helps in some way!
*Editor's Note: Keep your eye out for future posts detailing my filming gear, and how I set it up in the tree. I will be doing a couple videos this spring out in the field where I go in depth on how I use my gear, and how I set up exactly in the treestand/ground blind.
*If you'd like to see what some of my footage looks like from this year, be sure to check out my YouTube channel, and subscribe to get notifications every time I upload a new video!