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Thursday, December 15, 2011

"How To" Carp Video

Having read a piece I wrote four and half years ago, the publisher of North American Carp Angler magazine asked me to write some articles for him. He asked me to write some more pieces like what he had read. That piece he read was what I would describe as a combination of humor and something useful about fly fishing for Carp. He also asked me to write some “how to” articles along with some tackle and fly selection articles. I wrote some “how to” articles but never chose to submit or publish them.

When I started blogging I thought I would publish my “how to” pieces. Just about the time I was ready to publish them I decided to try and capture video to support the articles. That was late in 2009 before the 2010 Carp season. Sigh... My 2010 video was mostly useless. I did get some good clips that year but didn't really start to get better at it until 2011. That said, my print articles have been waiting patiently on my computer for me to use them in some manner. This winter I have been quietly working on a "how to" Carp video series. The series is called “Lessons from the Carp Lodge”. It incorporates material from my earlier “how to” articles with video and narration.

Since the summer my goal has been to publish my first video in the series on, December 21, the day of the Winter Solstice. If episode one renders without problems and if it uploads without problems then I will make my goal. I actually have some of the work completed for Episode two.

I have put a LOT of time into this. On several occasions I have wondered, “…
Are you doing!?...”

I shake my head at myself.

The first challenge:

I had to learn to take the video while I’m fishing. I am not a professional videographer and that of course will show in my work. In many of my early efforts the camera is not pointing where I thought it was. In time I got better at that. The video is HD though and I have captured some clips clearly showing different Carp behavior. I have what I think are some cool clips of takes too. I have some clips of Carp clearly turning away from my fly. How could they?! My flies are so nice. Well they do.

The second challenge: (Hats off to you Dewey)

I had to learn to name, catalog, and file my raw video in a way that was consistent and useable. I had NO idea what this task would involve. If all I had was 20 clips it would hardly matter what I did. I have more video than that. I needed to be able to look at my catalog in three years and understand what it says. I needed to be able to add to my catalog in three years in a way that is consistent with what I had already done. Ideally a stranger could look at my catalog and have an idea of what is there. Again, I had no idea what a challenge this would be; in fact it just devoured time.

Each time I hit approximately “50-title increments” I found new problems with my primitive, evolving cataloging system. More and more I realized that I needed to be able to look at a title and understand what was basically in the video without the name being a paragraph long. I realized that I also needed to be able to search my own catalog to see if I had a clip showing something. I had to anticipate what my search queries would be and then adapt my work accordingly. I had to re-name, re-catalog, and re-file my early efforts a few different times. About the time I had 350 video clips my system was getting refined.

In time I had over 700 clips. I deleted approximately 130 of them because even compared to some of my “not so good” clips these were just plain no good at all. The primary measure of “no good” is that the camera wasn’t pointing where I thought it was.

At this writing I have 578 saved clips. They are all named, cataloged, and filed.

The third challenge:

In my videos, I wanted among other things to be able to have titles, music, and arrows pointing at fish. That meant I had to learn to use a video editing program. It took time but it was much easier than capturing the video in the first place.

The fourth challenge:

The whole project has been somewhat challenging but actually enjoyable. Well, mostly enjoyable. The movie camera I used is small and light. As light as it is it got “heavy” late in the summer—not physically heavy more like “emotionally heavy” I think. I felt like I was starting to focus more on taking video (and pictures) than on just enjoying the fishing. I can do both but I needed a break from the cameras. When I missed capturing video of some excellent takes from large Carp I ended up being frustrated with the day instead of feeling the joy that I could have and should have been experiencing. Actually I got sick of the cameras; having them with me became oppressive. I intentionally left the digital camera and the video camera at home on a couple trips. I intentionally did not blog about those days. I just fished and reflected. It was relief.

Lessons From the Carp Lodge:

In this series I am not going to just publish video of me playing fish. Well okay, there will be some of that of course but not primarily that. I do have some good takes on video and some clips of fish just peeling backing off the reel. One of my goals is to show different Carp behavior in different settings. Another goal is to explain and show strategies and techniques for stalking and catching Carp on a fly.

Episode one of Lessons from the Carp Lodge is called, “Early Season Fishing: Carp Behavior, Strategies and Techniques”. I am planning , well hoping anyway, to publish a new lesson periodically with the video I have already accumulated these past two seasons. I plan to take new video this coming season also.

The images in this post are from Episode one. They are not digital pictures added into the video, they are images taken from the video.

On the Winter Solstice, next Wednesday, December 21, there will be a link in my blog to the first episode.


  1. Looking forward to this! Your early attempts at video cant be worse than mine. I can't believe how hard it is to shoot decent video.

  2. I can't wait to see these. Maybe it will help me hook up on my first carp!

  3. Alright Mr.P!

    All that work, I appreciate the time and effort, don't know if I'd hung in there.

    Can't wait! Gregg

  4. Sweet. Getting great video requires two people...hint hint.

  5. McTage, my first attempts at video are just plain laughable. Often the camera wasn't pointing where I thought it was. You can hear the reel peeling out line but all you see is trees, or water, or cattails. I have several clips where you can hear a fish slosh after I set the hook but you don't see anything. I got better at it after awhile.

    Stealth, I hope something in this series helps you and that your first Carp is in your near future. That would please me.

    Gregg, thanks for the encouragement. The video rendered; I just have to get it posted now.

    John, let's get some great video this coming year in a few different states...hint hint (backatcha...)