Being able to narrate a tall tale while keeping a straight face is easier said than done. This is especially true with the advent of today’s modern digital video cameras, as anglers can no longer stretch the truth about how big the monster fish they caught really was. Unlike common misconceptions, the camera doesn’t add 10 pounds and the truth will be told!
In years past when the action heated up a video camera was the last thing on anyone’s mind, as camcorders were generally thought of as a fragile and bulky inconvenience. Thankfully, modern day advancements have resulted in video recorders and non-intrusive cameras that are smaller, more affordable and easier to use than ever before. As a result, anglers of all ages and skill levels are now reaching for the video camera when the line comes tight.
…anglers of all ages and skill levels are now reaching for the video camera when the line comes tight.
Whether your goal is to become the next Spielberg, you thrive off bragging rights or you simply enjoy sharing videos with friends and family on YouTube, the digital revolution has propelled amateur videography to unprecedented levels. Nowadays high-definition and ease of use are what it’s all about and the newest digital video cameras offer sharp, crystal clear footage, with user-friendly editing software making filmmaking a cinch. However, for those who enjoy narrating a good story the future is going to be a rocky road. In today’s day and age if you don’t have evidence, it didn’t really happen! In fact, most major billfish tournaments require video documentation to verify and authenticate safe and healthy releases. When it comes to purchasing a recording device there are numerous solutions depending on your budget, desired end result, mounting solution and application.
Making the greatest impact in recent years, GoPro (gopro.com) produces what is arguably the easiest to use and most powerful entry-level recording device on the market. With top-notch image quality thanks to a high performance CMOS sensor, the HeroHD provides 1080p HD and the option for a 170º field of view for just under $300. This palm-size video camera is so powerful that professional film crews routinely use them on location for hard to reach angles. Mounted in the compact waterhousing, this tiny point-of-view camera can withstand pressures at depths up to 60 meters. While the footage provided by this 5 oz. camera is stunning, the available accessories and mounting options are what put GoPro a step above the competition. With curved and flat adhesive pads, various pivot arms, head straps, suction cup mounts and pole mounts, the options are nearly endless.
While innovative anglers have developed homemade mounting solutions to attach the GoPro to dredge teasers, if you want a closer look of what’s going on in your spread you need to check out TrollPro (trollpro.com). Designed specifically for the GoPro, this streamlined housing is capable of being trolled at speeds of up to 11 knots, with an integrated keel weight eliminating turbulence and shake for stable video. However, if you plan on using your GoPro underwater you’ll want to invest in a flat port for the polycarbonate housing. Because the original GoPro housing has a dome port, underwater video becomes distorted and blurry. Several manufacturers produce a flat port that corrects this problem for crisp underwater footage. The difference is very noticeable and a must for anyone who plans to use their GoPro underwater (check out aquaprohd.com). While portable video cameras offer a great starting point, remember that you are limited by battery power and memory card capacity.
Tethered by a 230-foot Kevlar reinforced cable, Towcam (towcam.com) is a more permanent and costly solution that enables anglers to see how game fish react to their trolling spreads. With a wind-up storage reel and roller clip for outrigger deployment, this recording device is capable of capturing crystal clear footage in full color. Simply plug and play with a standard VGA output and feed the video through your multi-function display or flat screen TV. From there simply connect to a DVD recording dock and you are ready to film. With Tow Cam, you may just become the next Jacques Cousteau.
Florida-based Latham Cams (lathamcams.com) offers a variety of camera packages designed specifically for sport fishing enthusiasts. Whether it’s a bridge or outrigger mount, Latham Cams has a solution for your needs. All of their products provide a remote control that can operate numerous cameras simultaneously, offering an extremely user-friendly experience. Latham’s new V.I.O. HD cameras are well on their way to becoming the next big thing. These waterproof cameras are not much larger than your thumb and come with multiple mounting options. A 5-foot tether to a small recording device that includes a small LED screen is standard, while a 20-foot extension cord is an option. Plus, if you prefer to do away with batteries V.I.O. cams can be wired or plugged into any 12-volt power source. With these tiny HD cameras mounted all around your boat you’ll never miss the shot!
A leader in thru-hull LED lighting technology, OceanLED is proud to offer EYES Ocean Cameras that are permanently mounted via a 1 3/8” thru-hull fitting with not much more than a couple of hand tools. With a 40,000-hour lifespan and tritonium optical lens that is scratch resistant, this unit takes the guesswork out of underwater video. Mount one anywhere you like and simply plug and play with your NMEA integrated devices.
Camcorders have been around for decades and their technology is clearly improving, but if you’re really serious about documenting your fishing exploits you may want to delve into the world of DSLR video rigs. Capable of capturing both broadcast quality HD video and hi-resolution stills, advanced DSLR cameras can produce cinema-like video with ease. Canon’s recently released 5D Mark III is the latest and greatest producer, but with a price tag of $3,499 for the body (no lens), this isn’t an entry-level product for budding filmmakers. For cost conscious shooters be sure to check out waterproof products from Sony, Panasonic and Canon for reasonably priced options. If you’re in the market for a new video camera B&H (bhphotovideo.com) is a great source for comparing prices and features.
No matter what recording device you choose, once you’ve compiled some footage it’s time to edit with the ultimate goal of producing a flick that’s enjoyable and entertaining to watch. No one cares or has the time to watch hours of action-less fishing, and with numerous easy-to-use editing programs for your home computer or laptop, you can create professional quality videos in no time.
Amidst the progressions in tackle and techniques anglers employ in pursuit of big game there has been an equally incredible evolution in the way we document our favorite pastime. Go out there and capture nature’s raw power with advanced digital recording devices. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the experience.