John Phillips May 14, 2012
Day 1: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland says Video Equipment’s Much Better Today
Editor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, the senior vice president of Mossy Oak, has taken turkeys, deer and many-other animals with a bow, and he’s filmed numbers of other hunters taking animals 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.
“The first video camera that was ever available for sale, a buddy of mine bought, and we put camouflage on it,” Ronnie Strickland remembers. “We took that video camera out and immediately tried to film turkey hunts with it. I had filmed all of Will Primros’ first videos, starting in 1985, and that’s about when I started getting paid to video. I don’t do much filming anymore. Cameras today are much smaller, lighter and have little-bitty buttons to push, unlike the old camera that I used with big buttons. Now, I have a crew of 8 guys who are filming for all the TV shows that we do here at Mossy Oak Productions. At any one time, there will be 5 cameramen on the road filming. There’s no way that one person can shoot all the videos we need. I still have a tiny, little camera that I can hold in my hand with 2 HD cards that can shoot 8 hours of footage. It also has a lot of zoom and is very-small and very-lightweight. The quality of this camera is outstanding. The first camera I ever had had tubes in it. Before you could use the camera, you would have to let it warm-up.
“Today you can film bowhunts for turkey or deer much quicker and better, with video cameras now, than you could with the video cameras I had when I first started. Back then, a good cameraman was not only judged on his ability to shoot good video, but also on how strong he was. Counting the batteries, the camera and the tripod, a cameraman back in the 1980s might be carrying 50 pounds of gear. Not only did he have to be able to pick-up that weight and carry it, but he had to take it across mountains and hills and through creeks and swamps and up rocky terrain, following a bowhunter, chasing a turkey. But, with all the improvements with video equipment, you may not have to carry 5 pounds of equipment, and you may be able to put that equipment in your pocket, except for the tripod and the camera arm. Even though our equipment is so much better, lighter and easier to hunt with today, I feel that many of the same mistakes are being made that we made shooting bowhunting turkey video many years ago. In an effort to help you shoot better bowhunting videos, I’ll try this month to give you some tips that I’ve learned and taught to our videographers here at Mossy Oak Productions.”