It's all about keeping the shots dynamic. The use of multiple angles is key, as people's eyes quickly become bored if the shot isn't constantly changing. If you only have one camera, try moving it to a different mount or location after each fish that you catch. You can then weave those shots together. Don't be afraid to take a shot of you fighting one fish from out front, followed by a shot of fighting another fish from your headmount, and then show you landing a third fish from the monopod over your shoulder. That's the magic of the movies! Your audience will never know you mixed clips from different fish. You’re trying to tell a story, not make your audience relive your fishing trip in its entirety.
Additionally, be sure to get some quality B-roll. For instance, get shots of you rigging your kayak and launching, paddling out, rigging a bait, or any wildlife that you come across. You want to keep this part of the video short by using 2-5 second clips, but you still need them to set the scene before you dive into the action. NEVER start your video with several minutes of B-roll unless you're narrating and developing a compelling story - otherwise people will stop watching before they ever see a single fish.
I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, which is extremely robust but not very user-friendly for beginners. When it comes to producing a film, you want to tell a story. People will only watch you go fishing set to music for so long. And again, you need to keep the shot dynamic. Very rarely do I sit on a shot for more than 5 seconds unless I'm narrating or there's some crazy action going on. If you want to depict your launch, show us 2 seconds of you pulling up, 2 seconds of the kayak hitting the pavement, maybe a 5-second timelapse of you rigging your boat, then 2 seconds of you climbing into the kayak. In 11 seconds you've depicted the 30-45 minute process of launching. We don't need all the nitty gritty details, you just need to set the stage for us and keep the story moving along.
The single biggest tip that I can give someone who wants to take their film work seriously is talk to your audience. Tell us where you are, what you're doing, why you're doing it, how you're doing it. While you're fishing, tell us what bait you're using. Why are you using it there? Why are you in that area to begin with? Is it a certain tidal movement you're looking for? Why are you chasing these fish? Do you love the fight, or have they eluded you for a while, or are you trying to catch dinner? The more you talk to your audience, the more they will connect with you as an individual, and that is the only thing that will keep them coming back to watch every video you produce. I love kayak fishing, but even I get bored watching people go fishing with no audio except for a song. I'd rather go fishing myself. But if someone talks about this epic quest to go catch a fish they've been trying to catch for a year, show me the trials and tribulations they're facing like missed hooksets, broken lines, or high winds, then they've got me compelled and I'll watch every second of it and be longing for the next one. People don’t connect with fish or music or beautiful scenery; people connect with people. Be a real person in your video, and I’ll be longing to see what you get into next episode.
Whenever I tell someone that, they always respond with “But the audio on my action camera is terrible!” I agree. One trick I’ve found that helps if you have two cameras is always have one on your headmount when narrating. The audio is much clearer and you eliminate the sounds of waves hitting the kayak that reverberate through the booms. Then when you go in to edit, take the audio layer from the headmount and match it up to your mouth moving in the shot facing you. That’s how I get my narrations to come out loud and clear. Alternatively, if you think you look goofy with the camera on your head, hold a camera in your hand in front of your chest, down and out of the shot, but facing up at you. Then you have the audio as well as a second angle of your narration to mix in. As a third option, buy an audio recorder with a lav mic and use the same trick in the editing. Jameson Redding from YakAngler recommended the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder to me, and it works great at a reasonable price. This will provide the best quality sound, but the wire of a lav mic can get in the way so be mindful of how you run the wire. I run it up under my shirt and PFD and tuck any excess wires into a pocket on my NRS Chinook PFD.
Check out the first entry in my offshore miniseries where I demonstrate some of these techniques. Pay attention whenever I’m narrating, and see if you can figure out which camera or device the audio is actually coming from (hint: it’s never the camera that’s facing me):
In the third and final part of this how-to series, I’ll go over some tips for publishing your videos and maximizing your audience.