So You Wanna Make Kayak Fishing Videos
Contributed by Dustin Schouest
In this day and age, everyone has a camera. Be it on their phone, around their neck, on their head, there isn’t a person out there who isn’t snapping pictures or video. If you want proof, spend twenty minutes on YouTube. Even in kayak fishing, videos of epic trips and even just the everyday jaunts are becoming more and more popular. If you want good proof of that, check the videos and DVD’s from the long-haired, always laughing, “Kayak” Kevin Whitley. Aka, my unofficial older brother.
The first step is figuring out what camera you want to use. There are two I trust more than any other brand: Contour and GoPro. GoPro’s are the brand that is virtually taking over the POV/action cam market. Their Hero brand of camera has been improving steadily over the last three or four years, culminating in the drool-worthy Hero 4. The Hero 3, the last gen, shoots at 720p at 60 frames per second, or even 1080p at 30 frames per second. As well as awesome video, the camera can do time lapse photos ranging from every half second to a full minute. All of the settings on the GoPros can be changed right there on the camera. The accessories and apps for these cameras are near limitless, with floating back doors for those accident prone people (like me), head mounts, and more individual types of mounts than you can shake an Ugly Stick at.
The Contour brand however is more specialized for use with helmets. I used one exclusively when I was into military simulations because the mounts were perfect for FAST helmets and Mich 2001’s. The camera can mount to any standard tripod thanks to the threaded screw hole in the bottom. I find the sound quality is superior even on the Contour. The biggest downfall of the Contour is that all settings on the camera have to be changed with software from the Internet. While it can do time lapses, it hasn’t the capabilities of the GoPro. However, it is streamlined enough in operation that I prefer to keep it close to me for the ease of turning on and off.
Once you have chosen your camera, you need to choose your method of mounting it. The most basic are the POV rigs that come with both the Contour and the GoPro, which fit on top of your noggin. This can be very awesome for those long, drawn out fights or those epic hook sets on topwater. But, if you have long hair like I, your hair can interfere with those shots. My first camera mount was taken from the bright mind of kayak fishing celebrity and Jeff-Bridges-From-The-Big-Lebowski look-alike, “Kayak” Kevin Whitley. Kevin, in one of his instructional videos on his rigging, explained that his main camera is mounted on a tripod behind his shoulder, angled to get the action in front of and to the left side of him. The tripod is zip-tied tightly to his milk crate, tight enough that he could pick up his Ocean Kayak by the rig itself. This set up has given him, and I, amazing shots of the action. From Kevin leg-sweeping stripers into his yak to awesome slow-motion bits of gator trout tugging my cork under the waves, this angle has given us thousands of hours of film footage over the years.
My second mount was used mostly on my Tarpon 100 and my Ride 115: YakAttack’s Panfish Portrait. This small mount fits in either the gear track systems provided by Wilderness Systems or YakAttack, or the Mighty Mount. This mount is about ten inches long, and the rigging allows the mount to rotate on all axis’. The height is perfect to capture the angler and his or her bent pole fully in the frame, or, if you bring it closer along the Gear Track, to give awesome close-ups for B-roll. There is a standard screw on top for most cameras, which means you will need the GoPro mount to fit it.
To modify the modularibility of the Portrait I modified mine with the YakAttack Dogbone, a twelve inch extension for it. This extension allows me to get higher angled shots, and to put the camera almost at water level, allowing for more B-roll action and even underwater shots.
On my Outback, I made one other mount that I hardly ever used, but, it provided me with a very wide angle. With the GoPro Hero comes two adhesive mounts, one flat and one concave. I grabbed the flat one and placed it on the bow of my Outback. The biggest issue with this mount is reaching forward to mess with the camera, but this can be fixed by just letting the camera run until either the battery runs out or the memory card fills.
There are a few things you need to bring with you if you are planning to make good long videos. The first are extra batteries for your camera. GoPro batteries are available from the company itself and a few third party companies. There are also external battery chargers that fit into wall plugs that can charge a battery fully in just an hour or two. As well, you should carry extra memory cards with you. The best idea is to pick up either 16, 32, or 64 megabyte small memory cards from Sandisk. The batteries and cards should be kept in a dry storage, either a box or a bag.
The last step of the puzzle is editing software. With both PC and Mac, you have countless choices. With PC’s, you have the basic Windows Movie Maker that comes standard with Windows since XP. This simple software has plenty of transitions, effects, and access to all your computer fonts for getting into the editing process. There are plenty of other editing programs out there from companies like Adobe and Sony. Vegas and Premiere are more complicated than Movie Maker and vary in price. However, the available bells and whistles are worth the price if you are serious about video editing. For Mac users, there is the awesome powerhouse that is Final Cut. Professional editors such as Rob Devore and Rob Lee of Yaktastic Adventures use this for their epic productions such as Bass On The Road and Everyday Push. Again, this software, and the Mac rig itself, can cost serious coin, and should only be used by the truly serious editor.
There are plenty of tutorials out there too on using whatever editing software you want to use. Sites like Youtube and Vimeo, where you will upload your videos to anyway, will be full of tips and tricks for getting that perfect transition from clip to clip or getting a great grain effect for foggy and creepy atmosphere. There are also dedicated sites that have how to’s on everything. Then there are even sites such as Lynda.com that can teach you everything from videography and editing to web design and photography. I was lead to this site by Youtube personality Matthew Patrick of the channel The Game Theorist, who do videos about different theories and factoids about video games.
And there you have it! Here are a few things to consider if you want to start making your own fishing videos! The most important thing to remember is that you won’t make anything like a Kubrick masterpiece on your first try, but, nothing you make will ever be horrible. If you do your best, and you enjoy what you are making, that is all that matters. Let the haters hate, the subscribers build, and do what you love.