Filmmaker Todd Moen captures the art of fly-fishing with the AG-CX350 4K camcorder

By Neil Matsumoto | 4 min

Todd Moen has been a working filmmaker for nearly 30 years. Growing up in Montana, he would often document his friends fly-fishing with his parents’ analog 8mm tape camera. After studying fine arts at Montana State University, Moen took a job with a production company shooting fly fishing events for ESPN and OLN. After surviving a plane crash from a job, he decided to quit the “on-the-road” lifestyle and start a photography and film-based journal, Catch Magazine, with photographer Brian O’Keefe. Moen, who now runs the magazine with his wife, Kelley Moen, has since produced 64 films for Catch, which have earned awards and thousands of subscribers. “In this niche, I’ve worked with many non-profit organizations across the world that support water, fish and the fishing community,” explains Moen. “I’ve befriended a great variety of people in this industry, and I continue to meet new and interesting people in unique locations to film fly fishing.”

Moen has recently began shooting some of his projects with the AG-CX350 4K handheld camcorder. For Moen, the biggest challenges he faces in shooting his films are two unpredictable things – the weather and the fish. The weather conditions he deals with can be very challenging such as the wind of Patagonia’s Tierra Del Fuego, or the incessant rains of British Columbia’s coastal region. “I need to have plan A, B, C, D and even more every single time I set out on a shoot,” reveals Moen. “You cannot train a fish to perform, so the pure wildness of both the conditions and the focus of my films are extremely challenging.”

Brazil's Kayapó Indigenous People live within the Amazon's 12 million-acre Menkragnoti Indigenous Territory and are renown for their fierce guardianship of both their jungle and their culture.  (Photo by Todd Moen)

Working with the CX350

Since he shoots in multiple environments dodging weather and raging rivers, Moen does not design a specific look before the shoot. He tends to shoot tight shots and assigns the Focus Macro function to one of his user buttons to switch gears in the middle of a session. One of Moen’s goals is to keep the fish in the water and then quickly and safely release them back to their natural environment. He loves shooting with the CX350 because the camera does not require a lot of adjustments to get the shots he needs. “No matter how I have practiced and perfected shooting handheld,” explains Moen, “it's impossible to be rock steady when in a moving boat or when another person is casting at the fish. The situations are extremely tense, so image stabilization solves that problem beautifully.”

Moen shoots in 59.94-fps for his 29.97-fps timeline in order to have a little room for slow motion footage in post. He captures UHD (3840x2160) HEVC LongGOP 200M files. One of his favorite features is the CX350’s optical image stabilization which has helped him when filming from a boat on water. He also likes the CX350’s improved continuous AF when working in action situations, although he typically pulls focus and adjusts exposure manually.

Shooting with the AG-CX350, Moen likes using the camcorder's optical image stabilization and Pre-Rec function to capture unexpected action.

Shooting in HLG

Moen recently shot on Australia’s western coast Ningaloo Reef where he shot in HLG (Hyper Log Gamma), which was his first time capturing HLG. “I found myself glued to my waveform and flipping back and forth between auto exposure and manual to see how the camera was adjusting to super bright conditions on the Australia sand flats and massive reef structures,” he reveals. “It takes getting used to, but I was pleasantly surprised after working each evening on the clips that I shot each day. The super bright conditions were still easy to tweak in post, even if I was off a bit when exposing and learning to use the new HLG setting. Shooting in HLG also gives me a bit more wiggle room in post when areas would normally be blown out. The glare off water can be very hard to work with and shooting HLG takes care of this problem.

“Chasing my subject (a wild fish) that lives underwater, in a place you can’t see in most situations, makes it pertinent to have exactly the right equipment for those key few seconds when the creatures show themselves,” continues Moen. “I can't say enough about the Pre-Rec function of this camera. It's not like the camera does the work for you, as the camera operator still has to be ready at all times, but the Pre-Record function has not yet failed me.”

Moen shoots in 59.94-fps for his 29.94 timeline in order to have a little room for slow motion footage in post. He also captures UHD (3840x2160) HEVC LongGOP 200M files.

Moen creates a new film every other month for Catch Magazine and edits on Final Cut Pro X, as well as DaVinci Resolve for color grading, although most of the grading work consists of making slight adjustments to color temperatures, exposure and saturation. “I make sure I have my settings in the camera set properly before I even hit the record button,” says Moen. “If you do it right the first time, the editing process is a lot more enjoyable.”

Moen’s YouTube channel for Catch Magazine (https://www.youtube.com/CatchMagazine) has almost 75,000 subscribers with some films receiving more than 3 million views. “I have built this channel over the past 10 years," says Moen. "Fly fishing is a very niche-specific industry, but this channel has become a place people count on seeing super high-quality films I’ve produced from all over the world. You don't have to be an angler to enjoy this work. Every film has been shot on Panasonic equipment, since the beginning of Catch Magazine in 2007, and I feel that Panasonic cameras have helped me get to this successful and rewarding point in my career.”

Watch Australia - Coast to Coast by Todd Moen *Trailer Preview*, shot on the AG-CX350

Watch *TRAILER* Kendjam - Heart of the Amazon by Todd Moen, shot on the AG-CX350

For more information on Catch Magazine, visit www.catchmagazine.net.

For more information on the AG-CX350, click through here.

TAGS: AG-CX350, CX350