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Thread: Tips for an amateur sports-videographer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    East Coast

    Default Tips for an amateur sports-videographer

    So, I recently volunteered my time to help my high school's athletic director to film school sporting events. I'm rather new to the sports filming, having my previous experience in school film-ish projects. Here's the materials I have:

    -Two camcorders
    - two digital cameras capable of video
    - a large tripod
    - a small flexible camera mount
    -Adobe premier, audition, and various related packages
    -a laptop
    - an iPad
    - an R/C helicopter with a built in camera
    -about 200 dollars, possibly able to get more
    - a lot of time

    so, the first sport is tennis. There are 4 adjacent courts, and I was thinking that I'd just focus on one. I thought maybe I could mount a camera on the chain link fence, one behind each player, at a slight downward angle, so as to capture the game from behind each player. Side angles would be awkward as it would capture other active tennis courts. i'd then edit it to switch from one camera to the other so as to best capture the player who was interacting with the ball. Main question here: Is there any way to wirelessly connect both cameras to my laptop/iPad and toggle between which camera feed is part of the video (basically on-the-go editing) or at least make it so they're recorded simultaneously? Or at least a media suite where I can play these two videos simultaneously?

    Next is baseball, an entirely different monster. I've found a spot where, held up to the normal gaps in the chain link fence, I can get a nice picture behind the batter where the pitcher is also visible. Then I could mount a camera on both right and left field fences, perhaps, to capture the field players interacting with the ball. Main question here: Is there any efficient way to edit it so that I can take a normal, large, wide-range video to look like it's zooming in? I'm sure it's possible, but I'd like to avoid going frame-by-frame.

    Lastly is soccer, probably the easiest to film, since the ball is relatively large and slow-moving. However, the movement of the players is more unpredictable, and might get in the way of my shot. So I'm guessing I'd want to set up as many cameras as possible, and maybe even experiment with getting aerial shots with that helicopter (never going over the actual field, always at the side). basically just looking for recommendations here.

    I'll probably also want to set up a camera on the fans if possible, as those are always nice for transitions and lapses in gameplay. Generally my cameras will need their batteries replaced before the end of the game, so any recommendations for that are also great. Also, what other equipment will I need? Probably a microphone. Should I use a condenser or something else? How many would I need?

    Thank you for helping me, I'm just trying to make sure I don't screw up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    I think they should pay you.

    BTW sound FX like balls bouncing etc are usually faked in Post. so no need for a mic, although a big fluffy one will give you a Pro-look.
    = Football - er, somewhere behind a strong grille I think . . . and let your insurer know.
    If this is a 1-off event, you should get to practice-days beforehand to collect ideas, spare shots etc.
    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I've not done any of this (though funnily enough just last week I was filming some staged football [soccer] action sequences for a video to be included in a school play/musical, bt my only comment on what I've read above is:

    Tennis. Don't mount the camera on the chain-link fence. Every time the ball (or another spectator) hits it you'll get vibration you cannot use.
    For best coverage, look at what TV cameras do. Use the same shot for the whole of each rally (don't be tempted to cut from one end to another - this is "crossing the line" and totally confusing for the viewer. Also don't change ends during the curse of a game - this is equally confusing.

    Typically you will see mid shot/close up of player just as he launches the ball for a serve, then a cut to behind the receiver and we'll stay with that shot for the whole of the rally. After the rally cut to the winner and possibly a close up of some deciding action in replay.

  4. #4


    A monumental task to cover all these effectively and make them watchable, especially as you lack experience.
    I wouldn't know where to start or even consider taking a project like this on without a few other operators.
    Tim's reply simplifies the coverage for tennis and applying this to the other sports you could provide intimate glimpses into the highlights of the game without covering the whole length of the games.
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

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