If Your Bowhunting Video Doesn’t Have Quality Sound, the Video Won’t Be as Good – Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland
Editor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, the senior vice president of Mossy Oak and a member of PSE’s Pro Staff, has not only taken turkeys with a bow, but he’s filmed many other hunters taking turkeys with their bows for the Mossy Oak TV shows. Strickland is in charge of Mossy Oak Video Production and TV shows and has trained most of the Mossy Oak cameramen and producers. When you’re considering filming a bowhunt for turkey, Strickland knows all the mistakes that most people make, because he’d made those same mistakes. For 43 years, Strickland has had a camera in his hands almost every time he’s been in the woods.
“I have a sign in each of the edit rooms here at Mossy Oak that says, ‘If it doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t look good,’” Ronnie Strickland reports. “Many times when people want to video their hunts, they’re all consumed with the idea of getting the hunter taking the shot and the animal taking the arrow. The last thing they think about is the quality of the sound. But, I believe the sound is just as important, if not more important, than the video itself. If people will be talking in the video, you’ve either got to get within 2 feet of the person talking (if you have a built in mic), or you’ll have to invest in wireless mics. Notice I said the word, “mics,” plural instead of “a mic” singular. Many people concentrate so much on video and so little on audio that they don’t produce a good bowhunting video. Imagine going to a movie in a movie theater, and the movie has a bad, irritating sound. If you’ve ever been to a movie like this, you know you’ll have a tough time listening to what’s happening, even though you can see what’s happening.
“Video cameras have gotten so good and so simple, that I think I can train a monkey to shoot one. Everything is so automatic on today’s cameras that once you get the camera set up, all you have to do is push the button to shoot the video. The only way to make sure that you get good sound on your videos is to wear a set of headphones. If you’re touching the camera, and you can hear a scuffing sound every time you touch the camera, then you can fix that problem right then. If every time your hunter moves his head, you hear a scratching sound, then you’ve got to fix your wind screen, buy a wind screen or move the mic, so that when the hunter turns his head, he doesn’t brush the head of the mic.
“We use two different types of microphones when we’re filming. One mic is called a net mic, and it’s unidirectional, which means it picks up sounds from all directions. We have a 15 foot cord for it, so we can set it out on the ground. So, that’s one channel input that’s picking up great sounds, like a turkey gobbling or a deer walking through the leaves, or ducks quacking as they’re coming in over a beaver pond. Then, we put a wireless mic on the hunter himself, so he can talk during the hunt. The cameraman wears headphones, and I’ll put one of the headphones in my ear and the other headphone above my ear to enable me to still hear all the natural sounds. I’m convinced that to get really good audio, you’ve got to have a camera that has two mic inputs, so that you can hear the hunter and the viewer can hear everything else going on around the hunter.”
Tomorrow: Why Ronnie Strickland Shoots PSE Bows
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