Riding

Making a Sale Video of Your Horse, Part 2

Learn more simple tips like how to make your horse sale video an acceptable length and how to avoid shakiness.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Barb Waltenberry suggests that a clip of the horse’s natural movement is something that buyers often like to see. Journal photo.

In the first part of this series, Dick and Barb Waltenberry of Waltenberry Inc. taught you about proper lighting, white balance and controlled zoom. With these last few tips, you’ll be an expert on how to make a good quality video of your horse.

Camera Shake

“The camera operator should be invisible,” Barb says. “When you see a lot of motion from the camera, or when the camera’s not steady or the zooming is jerky, it distracts the viewer’s attention from the horse. If it’s smooth and natural, you’ll be watching the horse.”

One of the best tools to have to help steady the camera is a tripod. “Video tripods have what they call a ‘fluid head,’” Dick explains. “It has a slight resistance to its movement, so that as you turn the camera it has a smoother motion. It’s harder to have the jerkiness.”

You can buy a tripod fairly inexpensively, or you could even rent one. Be sure to specify that you need a video tripod, not one for still photography.

“Another thing you can do to help steady your camera is to literally lean against a vehicle or a fence post, or something really solid, and film that way,” Dick says. “You immobilize your body, so you don’t get body motion. And then you practice how to follow smoothly with your hand.”

The Waltenberrys also suggest putting your best foot forward when presenting your horse through a video, including grooming your horse thoroughly. For help, check out AQHA’s handy (and FREE) Horse Clipping Tips report.

“It’s easier to follow faster motions smoothly than slow motion,” Barb points out. “It’s when they’re walking that every little flaw in the camera work shows.”

Background

“When your horse is running around in the pen, look at what you see in the background,” Barb says. “You don’t want something ratty in your background, even if it’s the neighbor’s fence. When you send the video out, people will think that fence is yours!”

Audio

“If you’re filming, don’t say a word!” Barb says. “Ambient sound is fine - sounds like the horse’s footfalls or birds singing. But you really have to think about what the audio will sound like on the tape.”

“There should be an external microphone jack on your camera,” Dick explains. “And you could put an adapter plug in there. You’re not plugging in a microphone, but it thinks you are, so you end up with no audio at all.”

Many people like to add popular songs or music to play over the video. “The problem with that,” Barb points out, “is that it’s not legal.

“People who perform and write music have the rights to it, and you can’t just take it and put it on your tape. You have to write a company, ask permission, and you pay according to how popular and current it is.

“It’s possible to get legal music inexpensively,” she adds. “Legal production music is available from video supply companies. You buy a disk, and then you listen to it to figure out what songs would sound good with your video.”

Your video is the first impression many potential buyers will have of your horse, and grooming him well will add to the overall picture. Download AQHA’s FREE Horse Clipping Tips report to help your horse look his best.

Length

Many people make their videos too long. How long a video should be depends on what you’re going to use if for.

“If you’re making a video of a horse that’s going to be sent out to people where they’ll want to sit down in their living room and really look at a horse,” Dick says, “then your video can be as much as 20 minutes long - if you have that much material.” But don’t go longer than that.

And make sure it’s all necessary material. According to Barb, “Your video has to be interesting all the time. Your material can’t be just the horse trotting around for 20 minutes.” You could show a horse performing (from reining patterns or jumping to railwork) and running loose. Buyers often like to see a horse’s natural carriage and how they perform under saddle.

“If you’re presenting a performance horse and you put together a bunch of short clips of it performing, people might wonder what you’re cutting out,” Barb adds. “You want to show long passes that have some continuity, whether the horse is running free or being ridden. And you definitely want to show transitions, so the viewer can see how the horse works.

“It can be hard to show a whole lap because then you’re turning in a circle, and you could end up shooting into your light,” she continues. “Or if you’re not running on batteries, you could get wound up in your cord. Just follow the horse three-quarters of the way around the pen and stop.”