Basic Tips for Videoing Cattle.

We are partners in a set of bred commercial replacement heifers that we are getting ready to sell, so this weekend we headed up to Joseph to video them.

But first the guys had to gather them and bring them to the corral we were using to video in.

Leo was happy to go along!

  I hadn't ever really videoed a set of cattle before, so I thought I'd share what I learned.

These are basic tips....obviously I am not an expert.  But I thought I'd share.  :)

1. Know your camera.

I've used my camera to take plenty of pictures....but I haven't really used it much to video.  Katie Colyer (who videos cattle all of the time professionally) was staying at our house last week, so I asked her to show me a few pointers.  Basically you will want to know how to focus, how to record & stop recording, and basic settings.  Do all of this before you are in the pen with cattle around you.  I promise you won't regret it. :)  
2. Focus first.

Before you start recording, or even let the cattle come towards you: find your focus.  I was shooting against a fenceline, so before Clint let cattle come at me, I focused on the fence.  Other times, he'd let one heifer out and she would stand still and I'd focus on her.  THEN, I'd start recording and Clint would let more cattle come towards me.  I learned this the hard way, and you'll notice in some of my videos that I had to focus mid-shoot.

Don't be like me.  Focus first and leave it alone.
3. Make a T.

I found that the cattle looked best when I was shooting them on the profile.  So if you imagine the fenceline that the cattle are walking along as the top of the T, you want to be situated at the bottom of the T and point the camera at the fence line.  Then allow the cattle to walk between you & the fenceline.
4. Shoot with the sun behind you.

I love myself a backlit photo.  Like LOVE with a capitol L.  But videoing cattle isn't really the best time to take artistic liberties.  Go back to the basics, and position yourself between the cattle and the sun.  So it should be fence, cattle, you, the sun.  That way the cattle are lit up and you'll reduce glare on the video.
5. Be patient.

We gave ourselves ample time to video the cattle, and there were no expectations that the first video taken would be the only one needed.  In fact, I probably shot 10 different videos, and over 15 minutes of footage....of which 4 videos were good enough to use to splice together for a 35 second clip.  If you give yourself time & grace, you'll get the footage.
6. It takes two.

In our marriage, I am the expert in photography and Clint is the expert in cattle handling.  So we play to each other's strengths.  Before we began, I told Clint what I needed (me between the cattle & the sun, and which fence I wanted them to walk along) and Clint brought the cattle to me.  I didn't worry about how they got there....and he didn't worry about the video.

Play to each other's strengths.  It's easier. :)
7. It's ok to be happy with {Good Enough}.

Do I absolutely love all of the footage I took?  No.
Do I have the best camera out there to video.  No way.
Is the footage we got good enough to accurately and fairly portray our cattle?  Yes.

Here's the will analyze your footage way more than the average person looking at it.  So while we all want our cattle to look great, and I'd love to have a video that looks ultra professional what I have to remember is that as long as we are accurately representing what we're selling - it's good enough.
Do you video cattle?
I'd love to know your tips! 
PS - These cattle will sell in the Oct. 23 Superior Select Female Sale - Lot R374


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