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What Makes a Good Hunting DVD?

We get numerous hunting DVDs sent to us for resale consideration each year.  Most do not make the cut because they are not very well produced. Here are some of the comments we have received from customers about what they feel makes a good hunting DVD.

-Set the scene. Introduce the host and the hunters as well as the PH and any of the other major figures in camp such as trackers, etc.  Explain where the DVD will take us and what are we going to be hunting.  If the place is remote and unusual, consider a small graphic with a map.  First the continent, then the country, and possibly zoom in from there.

-Comments and voice-overs are needed!  Sometimes there is some amazing footage and no comment at all!  We  once watched fascinating footage of hunting in New Zealand that showed a most unusual parrot-like bird with a huge beak, and there was a DEAD silence as the footage rolled by!

- Film with HD cameras ONLY.

- Hunters shoot a lot and hear less well.  We find an amazing amount of unevenness of voices and sound in hunting movies, for example: talking away from the mic, whispering, then suddenly very loud music.  If you cannot get the sounds right from the voices in the field because hunters need to be quiet during the stalk, do a voice-over.  Or have hunters speak in the voice part afterwards.

- More on sound: Some African and Asian countries have English as their first language but the accent that people speak with is virtually unrecognizable to Canadian, American, and English audiences.  Consider subtitles in such cases. Be critical: When in doubt, subtitle!

- Be sure to show the camp life, the arrival and departure, and the mode of transport. Do a small interview with the outfitter, professional hunters, or trackers.  In short, change the variables and make sure the whole show is not about one hunter walking after one elk, which we all know inevitably will get shot by that same hunter.

- If hunters shoot multiple animals and this is allowed, mention it. This may seem odd, but in the North American game system one is normally only allowed one animal per hunter per season.  So if a hunter is in Zambia and shoots two buffaloes, make a brief mention that two buffaloes were available on license for that hunter.

-  Try to avoid, at all costs, a linear hunting movie!  Hunter arrives, sights in rifle, settles in camp, drives out with vehicle (or horse), sights game, makes a shot, animal down, congratulations, back to camp, movie over!  Sound familiar?  Yes, unfortunately, it does, because that is how 70 percent of all hunting movies play out.  Be creative and think of something else.  How about “A day in a safari of Joe Blow” showing all that goes into a successful hunting day, accumulated from a few weeks’ worth of hunting?  Or shoot a movie from the outfitter’s point of view.  Whatever it is, avoid the predictable.

- Consider placing multiple hunts in one hunting DVD.  We find it is almost impossible to get customers to be happy with a movie about one hunter on one hunt.  It gets too linear, too predictable, and quite frankly, way too boring.  The only way that a good movie will be made is if there are multiple hunts for different animals with different hunters.

- Tell a story; specifically, tell the viewer a little bit about who the hunters are, and give us a reason to care if they get their animal or not. For example, “Joe has been dreaming of hunting buffalo since he was twelve years old…” “Ted has been on three leopard hunts and has never even seen a leopard…” etc.

- Be sure to include specifics that hunters care about. For example: What caliber is the hunter shooting? How long was his/her shot? What time of year is it? Is this a good time to be there?

- Avoid showing questionable hunting tactics, such as shooting from a vehicle, even if it is legal in your area.

- Show respect for the animal once it is down. Try to avoid war whoops, high-fives, and the like.