Riding

Making a Sale Video of Your Horse, Part 1

If you are trying to sell your horse, chances are you will probably need a good-quality video to send to prospective buyers.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

If you’re making a video of your horse, Dick and Barb Waltenberry of Waltenberry Inc. say that when it comes to lighting, “outside always looks better.” Journal photo.

There is a fine line between a video that shows your horse off well and a video that annoys the viewer and doesn’t sell your horse at all.

With that in mind, the Journal called Dick and Barb Waltenberry of Waltenberry Inc. for advice on making sale videos of horses. They told us the top mistakes that amateurs make in shooting videos and how to avoid them.

Lighting

Good lighting is the key to any good video.

“During the summer when the sun is high and straight overhead, just like with photography, it’s not going to look as good as earlier or later in the day when the sun’s at a lower angle, and you get more light from the side,” Dick says.

The main thing is to make sure the light is coming from behind the camera. Try not to shoot into bright light.

“Shooting indoors is always a problem, unless you have a well-lit arena during the day,” he adds. “It’s impractical to try to work with artificial light to have anything look good unless you have studio lights or a show arena that has good lights. Most people’s home arenas do not.

“Outside always looks better.”

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On an encouraging note, video can get away with poorer lighting than still photography. “Video actually brightens up what you’re seeing, and it can intensify the color depending on how you set your camera,” Barb points out. So, if you’re in a time pinch, filming outside on a slightly overcast day might not make as bad a video as you’d think.

White Balance

“Always check your white balance,” Dick says. Adjusting your white balance on the camera is like zeroing or calibrating the camera’s color function.

When the camera is white balanced, you are giving it a reference to true white. White light is a combination of all the other colors in the visible light spectrum. If the camera is calibrated to know what true white looks like, it will then record all the other colors correctly.

Most amateur camcorders have an automatic white balance feature, and the camera performs this automatically. However, sometimes it’s not reliable, and you need to do it manually. It’s a simple process, involving nothing more than having a white piece of paper and knowing the settings on your camera. Check the manual for your camera to see how to set your camera’s white balance manually.

You should check your camera’s white balance at the beginning of every shoot and when your lighting changes, like when you’re going from inside to outside or as the daylight changes from mid-afternoon to early evening.

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Zoom

“Learn how to use the zoom, so you can do it with finesse,” Dick advises. “You don’t want to do a quick jerk in and out. Learn how to do it as slowly as possible. Most cameras have a variable speed zoom, and they can go fairly slow.

“Don’t worry about trying to stay in tight on the horse,” Dick adds. “Have them big when they’re close to you, but it’s OK if they get smaller when they’re farther away. For one thing, it looks more natural.

“You could try to follow them. But if you can’t do a good, smooth zoom as they move around the arena, just let them get smaller on the far side.”

Most cameras also have an auto focus function; however, if you’re having difficulty following the horse, it can cause the camera to lose focus on the horse. The Waltenberrys typically turn off the auto focus on their camera.

“We pre-focus the camera on a spot that is almost, but not quite, the farthest spot away from us in the arena by zooming all the way out to that point and then focusing,” Barb explains. “Then, when you go back to a frame that will include the whole horse, it will be in focus everywhere in the arena.

“If you then want to do a close-up of the horse’s head, you will probably have to re-focus.”

Join us again next week for Part 2 of this series, in which you’ll learn about more amateur mistakes to avoid, like making the video too long and having a shaky image.