How to Shoot Video of Your Kids Sports Team So That Anyone Else Will Watch It!
Break out that video camera, there is a game this weekend!
What a wonderful age of technology we live in. You can buy the greatest gadgets now days to record video and music and play them in all sorts of ways on other great technology gadgets from computers, DVD's, MP3 players, VCR's, and many more. It is all great stuff. But they all come with thick owners manuals that do not always get you going the right direction. You may eventually learn to use your great new camera for instance, but that does not mean you will necessarily take pictures that are worth looking at down the road. Rolling tape in your camera is one thing and creating video that is high quality and interesting is another thing. The goal of this product is to bring you up to speed with using your video camera (whatever format, and whatever brand) to get the best results for recording those precious moments of your kid's athletic achievements.
We as parents spend plenty of hours out on the field, court, pool, or track watching our kids take part in and compete in youth sports. If you have a video camera you are going to want to record some of these events for posterity and perhaps education. Following the simple steps in this guide will help you to capture them in the best possible fashion so that it is watch able but also usable down the road.
My video expertise stems from two decades as a network television cameraman and as a parent with several kids actively involved in youth sports. In my years of shooting video professionally I have been around the world and seen just about every type of news event. I also spent 15 years covering pro sports events for my employer. These were the best type of assignments as far as I was concerned. In my entire career the things I have enjoyed most is being able to go to places where the average person cannot. In sports that usually means being on the field, next to the court, in the press box, or in the pit. I have shot football games of all levels up to and including NFC and AFC championship games. Living in the Bay Area has allowed me to cover many baseball pennant races and several World Series. I was right behind home plate the night the earth shook in the 1989 World Series. Talk about a shock. I had to give up covering a World Series between the two Bay Area teams to go and cover a huge news event. Baseball seemed small for a while after the magnitude of the earthquake. The point in this is that I love sports, have been around sports my whole life and I know how to shoot video of sports. With that in mind I will do my best to give you advice on how to do the same.
Now whether you have the latest DV camera in your hands or an old VHS format camera there are basic things you will need to keep in mind if you are going to shoot sports. As we say in the video business your camera is only as good as the glass that you hang in front of it. The better the lens the better the results will be no matter what kind of recording format you use. Now you already have a camera in hand and may never have heard this particular bit of advice so it is too late to factor it into the equation. However if you have camera in hand and it has any limitations on what it can do due to the lens being less than wonderful there are things you can do to mitigate the situation. We will discuss those things in more detail later on.
The key factors before setting out on your game day video assignment are to make sure you know the operating functions of the gear, have a tape supply in hand (soon to be DVDs with the revolution in gear design that is taking place right now), and batteries fully charged. I know these may seem like the simply obvious things but even the pros have to constantly remind themselves to check and double check these items.
A little aside here about preparation. Over the many years of covering news I learned lots of little tips from other photographers in the field and applied them to my work regimen. In the early days of video we always had to carry around a portable hair dryer because the record decks would seize up if the moisture levels got to high. So in the winter time if you came in from the cold outside into a nice warm building the air would condense inside the machine and cause moisture build up. The warning light would come on and bang we were dead in the water. One of us would have to run to the car and get the hair dryer, fire it up and chase the water away from the record heads of the deck. It caused some very funny moments in public places I can assure you. (This by the way can still be a problem even today with electronics/VCRs/lenses. Too much moisture can cause havoc. So just remember a portable hair dryer can save your day)
Another thing I learned from others is the value of backup. A few years ago I was out on assignment and we had a young eager college intern along with us in the field. This young man wanted to learn all about what we did in our job. He was very interested in how to take pictures, unlike most of our interns who only wanted to become reporters or anchors. He asked many questions and after seeing that he was really paying attention I decided to take him under my wing and really fill him up with information. One tidbit that I shared with him was to always have an emergency stash of tape in his car when out on assignment. He didn't quite understand the importance of this at first since I had already drilled him about always bringing tape stock with him when going out on assignment. I filled him with stories of times when something or other happened and I'll be darned if you didn't need another tape and there under the seat of the car was that emergency spare. So anyway he went off to graduate from college and get a job in a small market TV station. He would send us progress reports from time to time, which I really enjoyed. Then lo and behold one day he sends me a letter telling me how he got into a jam one day on a story and needed that emergency tape. He had dutifully tucked one under the back seat and it was there to save the day. I hope that what you learn in this book will in some way keep you from having a video failure down the road. What I learned in my career is that video production is 80% of it is dealing with the curves and problems that are thrown at you and 20% talent. If you can learn to trouble shoot then you will always be successful.
My first suggestion for shooting your kids sports activities is to go watch TV. Yes sit down put your feet up and watch some sports on TV. Really watch how they make it interesting at the top level. Then watch the news and see how they cover the games from a news perspective. Don't pay attention to the content; just watch how it develops visually. Now of course you can never duplicate what the networks are doing with just your one camera. However if you can glean anything from watching it should be how they try to bring intimacy with the athletes out in the broadcast. All the new improvements in covering sports have to do with getting you the viewer as close to the athlete as they can. Bring you into their world. From cameras on wires overhead that swoop along the field to cameras in the net of a hockey game to cameras inside the cars at Daytona, it brings you into the game. Now you cannot stand on the pitchers mound at your kids' baseball game but you can learn some techniques that can make your baseball video more intimate and therefore more compelling to watch.
A side note here, if your task is to capture the whole game or sporting activity for review as a coaching tool you should focus mainly on getting a good high view and putting the camera on a tripod. Pan slowly to follow action and don't zoom in and out. My main goal here is not to teach you this skill since it is pretty darn basic. However if this is what you are doing you should do it right. Find the right framing to keep as much of the activity in the frame and follow it carefully. Some sports move quickly from one end to the other and you will have to be smooth. Resist the temptation to follow the ball on full zoom. You will lose. Those guys that shoot sports on TV are full on pros using much better gear than you will ever have at your disposal.
Now in order to get a good video of your child's game you need to find that emotion and excitement that exists in any game. Think of it as capturing a few of the things that occur and making those golden. Does the team do a pre game cheer? Get up close, stick your camera wither way up high over their heads looking down or get underneath looking up and shoot it in a way that takes the viewer where they can't go. Capture an at bat in baseball by taking a full pitch cycle in close-up of the pitcher, and then one of the catcher and then as close as you can of the hitter. Show their face if you can. If they get the big hit don't go crazy rushing to zoom out. Follow the runner down the line. It will be almost impossible to follow the ball so stay with the runner. Look for the angles that will give you these emotional shots.
Some sports are more of a challenge due to the size of the field and the amount of movement up and down the field. Take soccer of instance, if you follow the ball the camera is moving all over the place and the viewer gets queasy. To capture some good video of your kid playing you need to focus on specific shots and not try to follow the play. Look for moments such as throw ins, free kicks, kick offs when things are predictable and you can get closer to the action. Walk down the sideline and wait for the action to come to you. If you child is playing right forward then get ahead of the play and when you see the ball moving towards you then you can find you child and roll tape in anticipation of them playing the ball. Be sure to get some shots of the crowd cheering, the coach watching (not yelling I hope) the goalie waiting in anticipation.
Hold your shots steady for 6-10 seconds at a time. If you are taking a shot of someone watching the game actually count it out in your head (thousand one thousand two?) This will ensure that you get good solid shots and that you don't run on and on with the shot. Brace your arm against your chest for stability and use your other arm across your belly underneath to create a stabilizing platform. This is in lieu of a tripod of course. If you have a tripod it can always be a good thing to use if it does not get in the way.
Use creative angles as much as possible. Get down low and wait for the action to run by you. Don't pan with it but rather let the action race through the frame. At a swim meet get the camera down on the deck for more of a swimmers perspective of the action. Of course you may not want to stay there when the swimmers approach for a turn. Digital electronics do not like water inside them. I was getting the most awesome low angle shots of some open water ocean swimmers one time and the boat lurched on me and salt water sprayed over the camera. I had a cover on the camera but salt water seeped into the crannies and it caused us much grief getting it cleaned out so as to avoid damaging the electronics of the camera.
Kevin Rockwell worked as a network TV cameraman for 20 years shooting news and sports. Now a devoted fan of digital photography and video he works to gather information, tips and news for digital camera users. Oh and he loves to shoot pictures of his kids playing sports. Great Digital Cameras
How To Reduce Red Eye The Easy Way With Any Pro Or Point & Shot Camera
There is one simple technique any body can do to eliminate red eye. It can be done with any type of flash on any camera because red eye only happens when using flash. Red eye is the result of a burst of light causing the reflection from the back of the eye blood vessel. I'm not a doctor or an expert on eyes but you get the idea.
The Truth About Pixels, Part 2-1: Printing 4x3 Inch Photos
Why is a 3 megapixel camera better than a 1 megapixel camera? It really depends on how you intend to reproduce the picture. The reason cameras produce pictures at 72 pixels per inch is that this format is standard in video uses such as television and DVD. So there is no noticeable difference in quality when viewing pictures on a TV or DVD. The difference appears when you are cropping and/or printing these pictures. If you are not familiar with the term cropping, I will explain it later. First, let's talk about printing.
Digital Film Processing is Really the Only Option for Truly Quality Prints
Digital photography has taken off like wildfire these days, primarily due to its ease and quality in its digital film processing. With a good digital camera, it's as though you're using the very best Kodak film for every single one of your digital photos. Moreover, digital film processing can be done from the comfort of your own home with the right digital film processing software or with digital photo developing online.
Photography 101 Part 1
Getting Your Photos Ready for Sharing
One of the main reasons people buy digital cameras is so they can share their photos with others. Even if you are just going to print your photos for yourself, you will want them to look their best. Here are some tips on getting your images ready for sharing or printing.
Where to Find Cheap Disposable Cameras
There are many kinds of disposable cameras. All disposable cameras are already inexpensive, but there are some that are even more of a bargain than others. While individual disposable cameras are almost always affordable, sometimes the price becomes an issue when many need to be bought at once, such as for a wedding. Aside from that, it's always nice to get the best price possible, even if you're buying a single camera.
Online Photo Sharing: Not Just for Family and Vacation Photos
You may have joined the photo-sharing craze to share your family vacation photos, but have you thought about other uses for photo sharing?
Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Photos
Youv'e taken that perfect photo in the perfect light at the perfect angle and it has turned out beautifully.
Selecting Good Stock Photography in the Age of Digital
The business of stock photography has drastically changed over the last few years. Ten years ago, selecting photographs for your brochure or newsletter meant spending hours pouring over stock photography catalogs and ordering photo research to find the exact image. When the order came in a giant overnight package, designers would spread transparencies out on the light table, squinting through a magnifying loop to check every detail.
Move Up to the World of the Digital SLR Camera
A digital SLR camera or a single lens reflex (SLR) camera is one of the most popular cameras amongst photographers today. These cameras not only provide high quality images but the photographer can also largely control how he wants the final product to look like. Hence, people who are extremely fond of clicking pictures have a great time while using a SLR camera. If you have a creative spark in you then you will want to consider one of these at some point. I am using a Canon Rebel right now but the Nikon F6 is next on my horizon of my purchases. These are moving into the 8 mp and up range now so the quality is quite good.
Taking Professional Quality Pictures
By now I'm sure you've used Either a digital or film camera. You've taken pictures and had them developed and just weren't satisfied with the Quality. You don't need to be a professional or have a really expensive camera to take good photos. Here are some tips that can help you take your photo's from 0-100 in no time.
Travel and Scenic Photography 101
When you're driving through the mountains somewhere, and you notice a car parked half off the road and some guy leaning to the left to avoid a branch with his Rebel 2000 camera in the act of focusing, you've met me. I do this because, to me, a trip isn't fulfilling unless I've preserved that beauty for posterity. I'd like to share some of the techniques that make scenic photography such a wonderful artform - simple, yet elegant. First off, equipment. As much as the cheapo disposable camera beckons, get real. These cameras have fisheye lenses which I call "spam" lenses. They cram everything in, with equal blurriness and boringness. Good photos are sharp, unless you use blur for artistic effect. Sharp comes from an adjustable lens. It can be a fixed lens or a zoom, but it must focus specially for each picture. Fixed lenses are limiting for scenic pictures, where to frame the shot you may need to move long distances. Imagine using a fixed lens on the Washington Monument, when you're half a block away! Zooms get my vote, even though they often don't have as wide an aperture, which limits their capabilities in low light situations. Practically speaking, an SLR is the absolute best. They are lightweight, and can be used with top quality lenses. Film SLRs tend to be less expensive, but have the limitations of film, meaning you have to get it developed and so forth. Digital SLRs are VERY expensive, so for the budget conscious either go with a film SLR or a high quality basic digital camera. With digital, resolution is also a critical factor, so look at the specs before you buy. OK, we've got the camera, emotions are running high, and that's great, but not too great! Sometimes I find a spot that is so wonderful, I start shooting like a madman, only to be disappointed by the pictures. What happened? Emotions. When you experience a place, there are sounds, aromas and breezes as well as the visuals of the spot. Needless to say, you can't photograph all of these elements, only the visual. When overwhelmed by the spectacle of a scenic hotspot, we are often overwhelmed by all of these elements. So what to do? Look through your camera. The viewfinder does not lie (usually). Try to see what you are looking at as the finished picture. Most people perfunctorily take pictures, hoping that somehow the shot will come out great. If you wonder how the pictures came out when you are on the way to the drug store to get them, you're doing something wrong. At the moment you click the pic, you should know exactly what you will get. (Of course with digital, that's not a trick!). Now, I was a tad dishonest in saying that you can't capture all of the elements of a scene. You can hint at them. For starters, motion. Yes, even in a still picture, there is motion. Something happened before, during and after your picture. In a mountain vista scene, you may find something that hints at motion, whether it be a branch of a tree that has been swaying in the breeze, or a river flowing through the valley below. These add a sense of motion. Then there's the "rule of thirds." When you place the main object of the picture smack-dab in the middle, it is static and boring. Place it one third of the way from either side, and you IMPLY motion. Put the horizon in a landscape photo a third of the way up or down, not across the middle. Remember, when a person looks at a picture, their eyes move. You want to frame your photo to help that movement. If you can find some lines in the scene, such as a skyline, cloud formation, path through the forest, etcetera, use it interestingly, and with the rule of thirds to draw your viewer's eyes into the picture. Avoid "summit syndrome." You get to the top of Mount Washington and shoot the majestic vista. Great. The pictures come out ... boring! How? No PERSPECTIVE. Big vistas will be flat unless you have an object in the foreground, such as a rock or a tree, to give them perspective. Then the eye really grasps how big this scene is. People enjoying the view is a real winner, because the viewer may identify with their emotions, giving the image real impact. Cheese! Yes, you do have to take the family photos. It's obligatory. But when you do, make sure that they show the LOCATION of the photo. Otherwise, you might as well do it on your driveway. Frame the scene in context, with landmarks as part of the picture. Find a way to tell as story in the picture, such as little Sara climbing up the rocks by the waterfall. Finally, any element in the picture that hints at more senses than just the visual will make it remarkable. Actor headshots for example, tell a story about the subject. You can almost hear them saying their next lines. If you photograph a garden, the viewer may experience the aroma of the flowers. A tourist street with an accordion player on the corner may have your amazed friends whistling "Dixie." In summation, picture taking on travel is recording the experience in a satisfying way. Use motion, perspective, sensory, storytelling and so forth, to bring your photos to life. Oh, and needless to say, make your job easy and go to great places! See you at the overlook!
Digital Camera Auto Exposure and Auto Focus
The digital camera being a fantastic and technologically advanced device contains many different applications of its own. Many users of this fabulous device are unaware of quite a few of these functions which can actually do wonders. And it is the duty and right of every person possessing the digital camera to intervene into the depths of knowledge to understand their prized possession and their varying qualities in order to foster the true respect that this device deserves. This article deals with providing information regarding one those qualities - Auto focus and auto exposure!
Video Camcorder Formats and Media
There are way too many tape, disk and stick formats out there:
Light Meter Readings for Film and Digital
Reflected Light Readings for Film and Digital Images
Choosing the Right Digital Camera
Choosing the right digital camera for general use can be more challenging than actually taking a good picture. Like all things technical, digital cameras come in a vast array of styles, sizes and abilities.
Digital Wedding Photography: Myth Vs. Reality
1. Myth: Digital photos are pixilated or fuzzy. Reality: most people that say that have never seen a photo produced by a professional grade digital camera. The quality of modern digital cameras is equal of greater than film cameras.
Imperfect Photos And How You Can Fix Them
So your picture came out less then perfect. Blemishes or wrinkles, red eyes and wrong color balance - you can fix it all without having to learn or pay for Adobe Photoshop. Try these tools instead.
Transfer The Digital Camera Images To Your Computer
There are a few very important tasks associated with using the digital camera. The most important is of course capturing a beautiful photograph. The next most important task is that of transferring this image somewhere from where it can be printed. The most suitable place is hence the computer. Now, here comes another area of importance that needs to be analyzed and sufficient knowledge is required to be imparted to the users to make ample use of such an important feature. This discussion is thus generally focused upon this mechanism to transfer the digital camera images to the computer, and the various types of such a transfer. Looking from a very simple point of view, there are two methods for transferring the digital camera images to the computer; they are firstly by attaching the digital camera directly to the computer (a process that is popularly called tethering) and secondly by the use of a memory card reader.
Make Your Digital Camera Batteries Last Longer
One technology that hasn't kept up with the rapid pace of new digital cameras is camera batteries. The more features a camera has, the quicker it seems to use up precious battery power. There are three features of digital cameras that chew up battery life the quickest:
|home | site map|