Tom Petry of ‘The Life’ from the Sportsman Channel gives us the inside secret on how to succeed at filming your own hunts.
There aren’t many things that can beat a good hunting story. For me, growing up with my grandfather, father and uncles, and listening to their hunting stories were some of my fondest memories. We all have great stories of success and the one that got away, but what really makes the story is who and how the story is told.
Today, many of us have moved from sharing the story with a few, to sharing our stories world wide. Our memories and tall tales are being captured in high definition for the world to see. But much like the campfire stories, how you capture, edit and share the adventure, can make or break a good tale.
Tom Petry, of The Sportsman Channel’s “The Life” television show, has been teaching classes to hunters for years through his outdoor video education courses. Formerly known as “Campbell’s Cameras Video School”, Tom has worked hard to help educate others in learning the art of filming hunts through The Life’s Outdoor Video Education Courses. After recently speaking with Tom on the phone, he was excited to announce the launch of Film The Hunt, an in part, online version of his hands-on classes.
Film The Hunt was created with the hard working, busy scheduled individuals in mind. Someone who wants the leading edge information on how to film their hunts, but may not have the time to attend a hands-on course. The online courses target those with a passion for outdoor filming, specifically around hunting, giving you more time for life and less time trying to Google search what “AWB” means on your camera.
Much like the hands-on courses available through Film The Hunt, all courses accommodate the beginner, intermediate and seasoned videographers. The courses combine experience from multiple people within the outdoor industry. They give you the tools needed to design, develop, capture and edit a hunting show people will actually want to watch. Of course there are always benefits to filming your own hunts, but the education offered within these courses are unbeatable, and unlike college courses, affordable.
After meeting Tom and attending one of his seminars at The Great American Outdoor Show this year in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I was excited to learn more. I was able to sit down and talk with him about some of the benefits one could get from taking his classes whether it be online or hands-on. As our conversation began, immediately I had felt like I had known Tom for years.
We spoke for over an hour, sometimes getting side tracked with everyday life topics, but it really showed me just how approachable, helpful and determined to spread his experience, knowledge and passion of the outdoors with others he really is. Below are some of the questions I asked Tom in regards to The Life’s Outdoor Video Education Courses.
Wide Open Spaces: For people who have no experience filming their hunts and want to do it this year, what do you recommend they do first?
Tom Petry: If you want to get out there and start doing it this year, we only have a couple months left. What I recommend someone do first is get some kind of equipment and become familiar with it. It does not have to be the high-end stuff. I actually do not recommend someone going out and buying a $3,000-$4,000 camera because number one, you really don’t even know if you truly want to do this. So to get started, buy something fairly cheap that’s not going to hurt your pocket and get some sort of education.
Not trying to pitch our schools, but we have years of experience and you can obtain a great deal of information in a short amount of time which is extremely beneficial. What took some of us years to learn, we are teaching in a format easy for people to comprehend and learn. Basically the best advice I can give is to get as much education as you can, as quick as you can, buy some equipment, get out there and do it, just do it.
What you will learn is that you are going to make some mistakes, but you can learn from these mistakes and I think many will find that it’s very enjoyable.
You give back to the hunting community by hosting your outdoor education classes. What types of classes do you offer and what do they entail?
Tom Petry: First off, I want to thank you for the question because you state that we give back to the community and that is exactly how we view these classes. It has been all too often in the years past that people want to put up walls or certain shows want to argue amongst each other about who is better but really, there is room for all of us to be good at what we do in our own little niches so we love working together with other shows and things like that. As for the classes, we have rebranded the courses and are offering a great deal of courses.
We offer anything from a one-day course to courses that involve competition amongst other students while actually physically hunting at one of our outfitters. We also travel for our classes, most we host here in Ohio, but we love to travel. Let’s say, Dustin, you have your group of buddies, and you have six or seven buddies and you all want to get some hands on experience and host a class. We will work with you to set that up and make that happen. It’s easier for us to travel to you than have all of you travel to us so we want to be convenient for our students and for anyone in that area willing to sit down with us and come to our classes.
Hands on courses available are:
- 1-Day Outdoor Video Class
- 2-Day Beginners Outdoor Video & Editing Course
- 4-Day Outdoor Field Production Course
- 4-Day Adobe Premiere Pro Editing Course
For full descriptions visit: The Life TV Outdoor Education Course
Online courses available are:
- Camera features & functions
- Story Telling Techniques
- From the field
- Film the hunt: Online all inclusive bundle package
To see each course, visit: Film The Hunt
For online courses there are monthly subscriptions to each course available. Each course will consist of videos immediately available to view and with each subscription, additional videos will be added either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to keep you current, informed and educated as best as possible.
I already film my own hunts, I produce my own videos, why should I take one of your classes?
Tom Petry: I would say a good majority of the people that come through our classes, are already filming hunts. I would also go as far as to say that the majority of those that already film their own hunts, have tried producing to some extent their own videos as well. Our courses are made up of over 20 years worth of experience and mistakes. I have 20 years myself in filming and Nick has seven or eight years so between the two of us, that’s nearly 30 years of experience. So, we’re not proud of it, but we’ve made several mistakes and we know what works.
With that, we are able to put together these courses and provide you with the information you need without having to spend countless hours searching or looking for what you may think you need. Could you find what you need on YouTube or Google searching, the answer, is probably yes.
But how long will it take you first off, and do you know what you are looking for or what to ask? For example, what is the best white balance for interviews or something simple. But if you don’t know the question, you’re not going to ask it and you will never know the answer. So to answer the question, we make available to you everything you need from beginning to work the camera and understand the functionality of your equipment, to the end result and producing your video.
I saw you mention in one of your Facebook Live videos, at your classes you will learn to become a field producer and not just a cameraman. What is the difference?
Tom Petry: This is a great question and to kind of summarize it and keep it simple here is what I can say: a cameraman is just that, someone who captures with the equipment everything that occurs. A cameraman may or may not have experience, they will need to know the basics of the camera operations and such, but they are basically there to help capture the moments from different angles and ensure it’s recordings.
A field producer knows exactly what it is and what is needed to make an end product. The field producer is the guy who most of the time comes from the production side of things to become a cameraman or continues to do both. That field producer as they approach a task, knows exactly what they need to capture whether its b-roll footage, a sunset, you name it, they know what the end result will look like and know exactly what to gather to make that story complete.
After speaking with Tom, I learned many things when it came to the outdoor industry. I was able to also learn what it is that he offers with his classes and it’s not just an education. Tom not only helps train, teach and educate his students, but if they succeed, graduate and have proven themselves, he actually offers them a chance to be on their graduates page. The graduates page is a list of members who have been deemed worthy and are available for hire. This may include working directly for Tom with The Life TV or be available for other shows looking to hire someone for their show.
One thing I have learned is that the outdoor industry is very small. Sometimes, it is who you know that can get you places but if you are like me, you come from a small town and know no one. All it takes is hard work, dedication and a will to grow and educate yourself and you can succeed.
If filming is your thing and you want to be a step ahead of the others, these online or hands-on classes may just be the thing you need to get a step ahead. The availability to grow your network and meet people like Tom, is an experience you cannot get else where. And if growing your network isn’t for you, you will at least walk away with an education and a great experience. One experience you too one day could share around a campfire.