Trent Marsh of Spypoint Cameras talks to us about the company, Project Spypoint the company’s own content stream, the Spypoint podcast, why he recommends Spypoint trail cameras in relation to value and performance, how cellular options are more cost effective than ever before and the price points – including a free plan.
- #1 tip he’d share with someone who’s never set up a trail camera in their life.
- The biggest support questions a trail camera company gets.
- Tips for setting up a trail camera to practice with them.
- Tips for putting out trail cameras on public vs private.
Note *the transcription ai may not be perfect)
Welcome to another episode of Bowcast, this is the archery podcast with the new school archer in mind. Bowcast covers everything from tips, techniques and archery technology that will help raise your success in the field. And now here is your host, covering the straight shot Carrie Zylka.”
Carrie Zylka 00:36
This week we’re talking about trail cams. We’ve got Trent Marsh, one of my favorite people on this planet. He is the Editorial Manager for spy point trail cameras and he is going to teach us how to set up trail cameras properly. Trent Welcome to the show.
Everyone carry, it’s gone. I am it’s spring.
So depending on when people are listening to this episode, we’re always thinking about trail cameras. Whether you’re on public or private, doesn’t matter, you always I feel like if you have private you’re putting out trail cameras if you have public you wish you were putting out your camera. Why don’t you first give the rundown on your background with spy point trail cameras.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 01:20
I’ve been with Spypoint for a little over a year now. I’ve been in around the industry for about a decade, but jumped on board with spy point right before a TA last year because if there’s one thing anybody knows about the outdoor industry, it’s the best time to start a job is the first week of January and go from there. So started off running kind of our pro staff and our social media a little bit everything and then this year transitioned into the editorial manager position. We just relaunched what we’re calling projects by point which is our own content stream so I can go to spy point COMM And see project spy point which is is its blogs its video series we’ve got our game changers hunting series that those episodes are dropping literally within 10 days of the hunts ending so we’ve got a turkey hunt up there from Florida already this spring and a hog hunting episode dropped earlier this month. So we’ve got those we’ve got building whitetails, which is a once a month video series about habitat and land management that Josh pressors doing. We have a podcast as well. And then like I said, we’re doing anywhere between two and four blogs a month as well that are are timely and it’s not it’s not trail camera content, its outdoor content. We got a little bit everything in there. So have people check that out.
Carrie Zylka 02:41
That’s Yeah, that sounds excellent. Without so well, let’s talk about your podcast. Obviously since this is a podcast, other people might want to check it out. Tell us about your new podcast.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 02:52
So Brian Stevens who is the host of the podcast as well as the host of game changers, we’re doing around one A month right now. And, you know, it’s it’s one of those things that we’re really just kind of focusing on having conversations with our friends in and around the industry. first episode we did back in January with Mike straw. We’ve had Michael Lee from backwoods life on, we had Josh presser on talking about building white tails. And we’ve had Dr. James crawl Dr. Deer was on last month, the episode that’s coming out here in just a few days and should be out actually, by the time this airs is an interview with Rouse and Vicki. So just just kind of a good mix. The duck troll interview was, I mean, I could just listen to him talk about just seriously just put chrome on anywhere doing anything talking about gear for 45 minutes, and I’m gonna write down 30 things that I didn’t know. Just a total crawl brain dump it was. It was awesome. Lots of good stuff in there. So that’s something we’re excited about and still getting it out there. It’s the spy point podcast. You can find it pretty much anywhere you listen to podcast wonderful
Carrie Zylka 04:03
that’s super cool without I guess without being jerks about it, why would you recommend spy point trail cameras over any other brands?
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 04:15
I my anyone that knows me and I’ve been on the podcast a couple times and we’ve talked and there’s some folks that no I’m, I’m a real value minded type of person. Like that’s just who I am. I’ve never understood. I could go buy a $3,000 rifle that I feel bad about taking to the woods or I can buy a $500 rifle that gives me performance that’s really comparable, but isn’t going to put me in the poorhouse to do it. So I’m always looking at things from a very utilitarian standpoint, I want value, and I want gear that’s going to perform I don’t want to I don’t want to know what that value to cost you performance. But I don’t want to overpay just Because for the sake of overpaying, so we look especially on the cellular side, at what spy points history is and what spy points focus has been, it has been driving the value proposition of cellular cameras. You know, we last year introduced the link micro. And that was a camera that was cellular. And you can find it retails at $150. That was we even three years ago that would have been you can’t do that. So has a 500 bucks. Yeah. So we’re working to drive that value. Especially again, on the cellular side, we’ve got a non cellular lineup that’s got some pretty impressive features as well. But but it really is, it’s a value. Performance balance is what sets spy plan apart from most of what you’re going to find. You can find really nice expensive cameras and you can find really cheap ones that’ll work for three weeks. But I think we really tried to live in that sweet spot of solid quality products that are so affordable.
Carrie Zylka 06:06
What about the I guess for me, the biggest turnoff for the cellular camera cameras has always been the monthly, like per camera at 40 bucks a month per camera. I’m like, Are you crazy? If you have five months, like 200 bucks in somebody’s car payment? What mom? What sort of price points are you looking at for a monthly subscription with your cameras?
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 06:27
So that’s kind of an onion question. There’s layers to that. So first and foremost, the one thing that people need to understand what spy points cellular show cameras is, whatever your personal carrier is, does not factor into your decision. Like let’s just get that out there right now. This is in no way tied to your personal cellular provider or plan. It just isn’t. So there are two models carrier models of every cellular camera that we offer the nationwide model basically covered Every national carrier except for Verizon. So if you’re in, you know, if you’re in Wisconsin, I know there’s especially there’s holes up there with both Verizon and at&t but that the other one gets good service. You could say, Okay, I’ve got US Cellular here, or I know this is a Verizon property, then you can pick the carrier models, and you can have a mix of carrier models on your account. It’s not well, I have a Verizon phone. So I have to go to the Verizon store and add this Verizon camera to my Verizon plan. That that’s not how it works a spy point. So you just pick the carrier model, that you that is gonna give you the best signal performance wherever it’s deployed. That’s kind of the first step to the plan aspect, your that your photo transmission plans are then purchased directly from spy point in the app or on the website. So you can purchase that on a month to month basis on an annual basis. annual basis of course is going to be your best value. Spy point is super unique and that we are the only company that has both a free and a truly unlimited option. So you could buy a cellular camera and never pay for a photo transmission plan. And every month you will get the first hundred images that are taken to censor the app free. We will never charge you if that’s all you want to do 100 pictures now that might work on some deep woods trails, but if you’ve got the camera set up over a feeder or a mineral lick, you might burn through 100 pictures in three days. If you’re okay with that, you can do that. But you still get that little bit of you know, okay I didn’t have to go pull the card and then any images that are taken after that hundred, those go on to the SD card you can just go check it like you would a non cellular camera. From there. You can go month to month and that truly unlimited plan that I talked about that $15 a month if you go month to month, or if it’s $10 a month if you pay for the whole year up front. So that’s really unexploited, it’s cheaper than a lot, there’s, there are some other ways that it can be less inexpensive, but typically, those tie you to a specific cellular provider. So again, we’re talking about balance and value. We’re kind of this gives you the flexibility to be able to use multiple carriers and not be tied to a specific plan or your personal plan, but at the same time not be paying. You know, I’m not going to mention any other companies names, but there’s a I know for a fact there’s a plan out there. That is it’s not unlimited. It’s capped at 80,000 images, and it’s $349 a month. It’s insanity. Like, I mean querque 80,000. I know 80,000 images sounds like a lot and it is but you know this The unlimited plan is true. That’s why it’s the truly unlimited plan, whatever pictures that get taken by that camera are going to get sent 10 bucks a month.
Carrie Zylka 10:10
That’s cool. That’s really reasonable for the average Joe. Mm hmm. So let’s do. Let’s talk a little bit about camera placement. Do you What would be your number one tip that you would give someone who’s never put up a trail camera before in their life?
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 10:28
the absolute most important thing and it’s, I don’t care how many times people hear it is make sure you’re not set up at 90 degrees to what you’re trying to take pictures up. You know, the you you see people talk about trigger speed and a lot of times they’re confusing shutter speed with trigger speed, they’ll see a blurry night picture and say your trigger speed was off. Well, no, that’s shutters that’s photography that’s completely different. But your trigger speed when you’re Looking at trail cameras, cellular non cellular, your trigger speed and the amount of time that it takes for that camera to go from sleep mode to taking a picture. So if we talk about, we’ve been talking about the length micro, we’ll talk about it again, it’s a half second trigger scene. So from the time an object moves into that sensor range and wakes the camera up, you’ve got a half a second before that camera, that camera takes a picture, which is fine if it’s a deer walking 15 yards away from the camera, kind of picking through a bean field, right? If it’s a mature bucks trotting after a dough, and you’ve got it set up on a trail three yards away, you’re going to get an empty frame. You’re going to see nothing in the picture because he was moving fast enough by the time the camera was triggered and woke up. He was already gone. So you need to make sure like on a trail, you don’t set it up with the camera facing the trail. rail, okay, at a perpendicular, looking right at it, you want to be looking back down the trail so that as the deer approaches that it’s got a long time. You know you, you’d always rather have four or five pictures of a deer than hope to get one right.
Carrie Zylka 12:15
Gotcha. Oh, yeah. Because if they’re, if you’ve only got like a 1010 foot area, and they’re, they’re huffing it, they’re through that area before that even that camera even gets a chance to take that, Okay, I see what you’re saying with the 90 degrees so you don’t want it. If you’re facing the trail. If you’re leaning up against the tree and you’re facing the trail, you would want to pivot to the right and face it that way or pivot to the last two phases,
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 12:40
right and so in catch them either coming or going. So if the key if the trail runs north and south, you don’t want to face the camera east, right and just have that little, that little cone of triggering and photo taking capabilities. You want to face it north northeast or north northwest or you know Whatever so that it’s along that trail so that instead of just getting triggered as it walks by as that deer is approaching the camera at 100 feet away at 60 feet away at 40 feet away, it’s constantly being triggered to take that picture.
Carrie Zylka 13:14
That’s a that makes sense. I am absolutely 100% guilty of pointing it directly at the trail, because you just wanted a trigger or walking path, you know? Yeah. Huh.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 13:27
And it’s another thing like even not just placement, but when you’re selecting cameras, like you have people that put the because who has nobody has one trail camera? Nobody. You’ve got five trail cameras, you’ve got eight trail cameras, right? You don’t have one. But part of that is like choosing the right camera for the right placement. So the micro is a half second trigger speed, which is actually on the slower end of the spy point trail cameras. If so, for me, that’s the I’m going to put over a mineral station that’s something I’m going to put over a feeder, that’s something I’m going to put over like a ditch crossing where they might slow down a little bit right over around a food plot that type of thing where it’s not a heavy traffic area where the deer always moving. For something like that I’m going to look at our forest dark, the forest dark has is not only has our hybrid illumination technology flashed, but it also has the fastest trigger speed available seven one hundredths of a second trigger speed, seven, one hundreds, not seven tenths, seven one hundredths of a second trigger speed. So that’s the cameras that you’re literally taking almost half a second off the trigger time compared to the link micro. So if I’ve got a trail where there’s just nowhere good for me to catch those deer pausing, I’m going to use the link dark or the link s, or even like the solar dark force dark in our non cellular range that also have that super fast trigger speed. I’m going to put that on a trailer I’m gonna put the I don’t want to put a camera there that’s gonna fail and then blame the camera because that’s my fault, right? I want to put the camera in the right place to do the right thing.
Carrie Zylka 15:12
That’s interesting. I guess I never really thought about that. Because if you’re hunting over food plots compared to putting up trail cameras over trails, I gotcha. All right. I am on the CPU, that makes sense.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 15:27
Just make sure they’re in the right position to do the right thing. You got a back a fast trigger, camera camera, fast trigger speed camera, make sure that’s on the trail, then put those slower cameras out, like said on food plots or wherever that they might be milling around a little bit more.
Carrie Zylka 15:45
What do you think is the number one question that your support line gets or that people ask about not only just your cameras but trail cameras in general
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 16:00
I think it’s a they run into support questions around firmware. And firmware is something that a lot of times people think about with cellular trail cameras especially. But even non cellular trail cameras have firmware updates for anybody that most of your Bluetooth devices have firmware updates, if you think about it in terms of your phone, how often you have to do you know, it’s a system update to your phone will do those six 810 times a year and nobody bats an eye. But then somebody their camera stops working and they call and they wonder why well, your firmware is out of date. Well, why do I need to update my firmware? Well, there’s a lot of reasons you it might, we might be fixing bugs with the camera, we might be improving cellular reception, all the reasons that your phone would do a system upgrade or the reasons that we would want to upgrade cellular trail cameras specifically, might not be the same thing with your non cell cameras, but we might still have firmware updates that can improve battery life or, or overall camera performance sensor performance in firmware updates for non cellular cameras. And I think it’s something that people often overlook or don’t understand or don’t understand why it applies. You know, the day new firmware comes out, your cameras not going to stop working. But if you’re not updating your firmware a couple times a year, at least once a year, if you’re four or five or six river revisions behind, just like your camera, there’s all kinds of stuff on your phone that’s going to quit working your cameras going to do the same thing. Eventually you’re just going to reach critical mass where not enough things have been updated. And, and that’s, it’s one of those things where like with spy point, you can update and pretty much everybody’s procedures Same way as you’re just putting updated firmware on your SD card, and then when you load your SD card, the camera recognizes that there’s new firmware, it updates that you’re done. So a lot of folks are doing at this time of year, you know, we’re past shed hunting season, but we’re not in hardcore scouting mode. So, all right, let’s go collect the cameras, bring everything home, clean it, assess for squirrel damage, everybody gets fresh batteries, everybody gets topped off, go through and update all your firmwares do all of that whether it’s a week or two weeks, or if you don’t put them back out until more like June or July and you’ve got them home for six 810 12 weeks. Just use that time to make sure even non cellular cameras don’t have firmware updates that are available and make sure you’re just kind of testing those cameras out at home, throw them up in the backyard, make sure you’re not running into issues so that you don’t wait till the cameras are back out in the woods to need that support piece.
Carrie Zylka 18:55
That’s a good point like do you suggest I guess How would I practice with them in the backyard? So I had a lot of public so obviously when I’m out there, I want to make sure I am setting myself up for success. You could set it up in the backyard to test it out with, I guess, what tips would you give somebody to do that?
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 19:19
I Truthfully, I even just set them up in my office. I, especially a cellular camera. When I first activate that I’m activating it, I’m putting it on my desk and I’m letting it run there for an afternoon to make sure that it’s taking the pictures and the pictures are coming through to my app. Sitting
Carrie Zylka 19:39
I’m sorry, do you get videos too.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 19:42
You can take spy point cameras you can take videos and the videos will save to the SD card and whatever triggered the video action will be recorded as an image so it takes photo first and then it rolls video. And then when you go pull the card you can have the video But in the meantime, you can see what was there to be like, okay, is this just a bunch of those walking by? Or do I have a 180 working scrape and I want to see that video. And you can make sure you go get that card pulled the next time you’re in the area. That’s
Carrie Zylka 20:15
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 20:17
But yeah, just like I said, whether it’s your office or your backyard, just make sure that it’s all working properly before. Okay, this is brand new, I just left Bass Pro, and I’m gonna drive straight to the woods and throw it out there. Especially for folks that have never used a cell camera before. It’s not difficult, but it’s different. So make sure you understand how the whole activation process works and that there’s no issues and, you know, the, we always recommend double checking the firmware, even when the cameras bought new just because the latest firmware went on the camera when it went into that box. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a firmware revision since the store got the camera. You don’t know how long that inventory was sitting there. So it’s just it’s good practice to Just immediately, make sure you’re using a freshly formatted SD card. Make sure you’re double checking that the firmware is the most up to date possible. And then run that camera around the house as a test, just to make sure that it’s sending what you want it to send. Because trouble from a troubleshooting standpoint, it’s always better to have that device in your hand, rather than to call customer support and say I’m having troubles Okay, what do you have the camera? No, it’s 40 miles away in a woods. There’s only so much you can do with that.
Carrie Zylka 21:31
And would you give any any tips for people who are putting trail cameras out on public land versus private land?
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 21:39
Obviously, will your you know it’s it’s a concern anywhere but security is going to be your main issue on public ground camera placement. So you can go with cable locks, we’ve got 16 gauge steel security boxes. Regulations vary from state to state in terms of how you can use those buttons. Like our steel security boxes actually have holes in the back so that you can lag or screw those boxes directly to the tree. So there’s no, I mean, there’s no strap to cut to be able to take it down. It’s, it’s locked at the padlock and it’s screwed to a tree, you can get pretty aggressive in the way that you’re, you’re protecting that camera. And our cellular cameras, you’ve got you know, it’s not, it’s not GPS where somebody takes that off the tree and throws it in their garage, you can pull up your app, and you can go and see where that camera is. That’s not how it works. But if somebody steals your camera with the intention of wanting to use it for themselves, hey, you should always be keeping a record of your, the sim numbers of the cameras that you have. So whether that’s a screenshot of the status page of the app so that you have your, your sim numbers are just a spreadsheet that you keep on your computer. If you’ve got those sim numbers and it gets stolen, you can reach out to customer support and say, Hey, I had camera number da on my account and it was stolen. And they can check and see, has that camera tried to be activated or whatever the case may be, and then they can give that information to local law enforcement so that you can try to collect that device. They’re not going to be able to know if Joe Smith activated that camera. They’re not going to say, Oh, yeah, Joe has it now here’s this address, go, go kick his teeth in and get your camera back. We’re not going to let you do that. But we can get you as much information as we can to help you recover that camera. And that’s just not possible with the non cellular.
Carrie Zylka 23:40
Cool. Why don’t you tell the listeners where they can find out more about spy point trail cameras and where they can find out more and connect with you if needed.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 23:52
Spy point.com is going to be the best place to go for all of the latest information that’s going to have all the new tools 20 products that are coming out, which I will touch on that real quick. I would guess a lot of your listeners saw the cell link that we launched at a TA this year. It’s a handy dandy little universal cellular adapter that can turn a non cellular camera into a cellular device. So you’ve got a half a dozen. Other camera doesn’t have to be a five point camera as long as it uses a standard SD card slot. You just plug every cell links come in with an SD cable adapter it plugs in in place of the SD card, you mount the cell link directly above the camera. And when it takes a picture, it’s going to write it to the microSD card that’s in the cell link and it’s going to send it out just like it’s a cellular camera, huh? This is you can find more information about the cell link and everything else is new for 2020 as well as all of our legacy product at spy point comm you can find our YouTube channels youtube.com slash spy point we’re on Twitter or On Instagram or on Facebook, you can interact with us there and stay up to date with all the latest product information as well as that new content stream that we’ve launched projects by point.
Carrie Zylka 25:11
Excellent. Well, cool. Well thank you again for coming on the show and supporting focus and helping me and the listeners learn a little bit more about choke cameras.
Trent Marsh – Spypoint Cameras 25:23
Always a pleasure to talk to you Carrie. appreciate you having me on.