How Far Can The Average Person Throw A Football How to Shoot Video of Your Kids Sports Team So That Anyone Else Will Watch it!

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How to Shoot Video of Your Kids Sports Team So That Anyone Else Will Watch it!

Break out that video camera, there’s a game this weekend!

1. You bought a video camera

2. You want your child to shoot sports

3. Here’s how to do it right!

What a wonderful age of technology we live in. Today you can buy the best gadgets for recording videos and music and play them in any number of ways on other great technological gadgets from computers, DVDs, MP3 players, VCRs and more. This is all great. But they all come with thick owner’s manuals that don’t always point you in the right direction. For example, you may finally learn to use your new camera, but that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily take pictures that look decent down the road. Getting footage on your camera is one thing, and creating high-quality, engaging video is another. The goal of this product is to get you up to speed on using your video camera (any format and any brand) to get the best results for capturing those precious moments of your child’s sporting achievements.

As parents, we spend many hours on the field, field, pool or track watching our children participate and compete in youth sports. If you have a video camera, you may want to record some of these events for posterity and perhaps study. Following the simple steps in this guide will help you get them in the best possible way so that it’s watchable, but also usable on the go.

My video experience spans two decades as a network television cameraman and as a parent with several children actively involved in youth sports. In my years of professional videography, I’ve been around the world and seen just about every news event. I also spent 15 years covering sporting events for my employer. These were the best type of assignments I was concerned with. Throughout my career, the things I enjoyed the most were being able to go places the average person couldn’t. In sports, this usually means being on the field, courtside, in the press box, or in the dugout. I have recorded football games of all levels up to the 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 behind home plate the night the 1989 World Series shook. Talk about a shocker. I had to give up coverage of the World Series between two Bay Area teams to go cover a big news event. After the earthquake’s intensity, baseball seemed small for a while. The thing is, I love sports, I’ve been playing sports all my life, and I know how to shoot sports videos. With that in mind, I’ll do my best to advise you on how to do this.


Now, whether you have the latest DV camcorder or an old VHS format camcorder, there are some basic things you should keep in mind if you’re into shooting sports. As we say in the video business, your camera is only as good as the glass you hang in front of it. The better the lens, the better the results will be, no matter what recording format you use. By now you already have a camera in hand and may have never heard this particular tip, so it’s too late to factor it into the equation. However, if you have a camera and are limited in what it can do because of a less-than-great lens, there are things you can do to alleviate the situation. We will discuss these things in more detail later.

The key factors before scheduling your game day video are to make sure you know the gear’s functions, have a supply of tape on hand (DVDs coming soon with the revolution in gear design that’s happening right now), and batteries are fully charged. I know these seem like simple, obvious things, but even professionals need to constantly remind themselves to check and double-check these items.

Here’s a little bit about preparation. Over the years of covering the news, I have learned many tips from other photographers in the industry and applied them to my work routine. In the early days of video, we always had to carry a portable hair dryer because if the humidity level got too high, the record deck would disappear. So, in the winter, if you go from the cold outside into a nice warm building, the air inside the car will condense, causing more humidity. The warning light came on and sounded like we were dead in the water. One of us would have to run to the car, grab a hair dryer, turn it on, and get the water off the deck register covers. It made for some very funny moments in public, I assure you. (By the way, this can be a problem even today with electronics/tape recorders/lenses. Too much moisture can cause damage. So just remember a portable hair dryer can save the day)

Another thing I learned from others is the value of copy. A few years ago I went to work and we had an enthusiastic young college intern out in the field with us. This young man wanted to learn everything about what we did in our work. He was very interested in photography, unlike most of our interns who only wanted to be reporters or anchors. He asked a lot of questions and after seeing that he was really interested, I decided to take him under my wing and really fill him with information. One tidbit I shared with him was to always have emergency tape on his car when working on it. He didn’t understand the importance of this at first because I had already drilled him about always bringing a supply of tape with him when he went on an errand. I filled him in on stories of times something or other had happened and I’ll be damned if you don’t need another tape and that emergency kit was under the car seat. So anyway he went to graduate college and got a job at a small market television station. He sent us progress reports from time to time, which I really liked. So one day he sends me a letter saying how he got stuck in a story one day and needed a tape urgently. He carefully slipped one under the back seat and there he was to save the day. I hope that what you learn in this book will stop you from video failure down the road. What I have learned in my career is that video production is 80% of the curves and challenges that are thrown at you and 20% of talent. If you can learn to shoot the problem, you will always be successful.

My first suggestion for shooting your kids’ sports activities is to go watch TV. Yes, sit back, put your feet up and watch some sports on TV. Really look at how they make it fun at the top level. Then watch the news and see how they cover the games from a news perspective. Don’t care about the content; just watch how it develops visually. Now, of course, you’ll never be able to replicate what networks do with their single camera. However, if you can get anything from watching it, it should be how they try to get close to the athletes on the broadcast. All new improvements in sports coverage should be about bringing the viewer as close to the athlete as possible. Bring you into their world. From the cable cameras running over the rink to the hockey game network cameras to Daytona’s in-car cameras, it brings you to the game. Now, you may not be able to stand over the pitchers at your kids’ baseball game, but you can learn some techniques to make your baseball video more intimate and therefore more enjoyable to watch.

A side note here, if your job is to capture the entire game or sports activity for review as a coaching tool, you should focus primarily on getting a good high-up view and mounting the camera on a tripod. Pan slowly to follow the action and don’t zoom in and out. My main goal here is not to teach you this skill, because it is very simple. But if that’s what you do, you have to do it right. Find the right frame and stick to it carefully to keep the maximum amount of activity in the frame. Some sports move quickly from one end to the other and you have to be smooth. Resist the temptation to follow the ball at full zoom. You lose. Those guys who shoot sports on TV are full of pros using much better gear than you’ll ever have.

Now to get a good video of a child playing you need to find that emotion and excitement that is present in any game. Think of it as taking a few things that happen and turning them into gold. Does the team cheer before the game? Get up close, hold your camera above their head or lower them to look up and capture it in a way that takes the viewer to a place they can’t go. Get as close as you can to the batter by taking a full round near the pitcher and then one from the catcher and then one. Show their faces if you can. If they get a big hit, don’t go crazy trying to make it smaller. Follow the runner on the bottom line. It will be almost impossible to chase the ball, so stay with the runner. Look for angles that will give you those emotional shots.

Some sports are more challenging because of the size of the field and the amount of movement up and down the field. Take football for example, if you follow the ball, the camera will move all over the place and the viewer will freak out. To get a good video of your child, you should focus on specific shots and not try to follow the game. Look for moments like throw-ins, free kicks, kicks, when everything is unpredictable and you can get close to the action. Step aside and wait for the action to come to you. If your child is playing straight ahead, then get ahead of the game and when you see the ball moving towards you, you can find your child and find the tape waiting for them to play. Be sure to check out some photos of the crowd watching, the coach (not hitting, I hope), the goalie in anticipation.

Hold your shots steady for 6-10 seconds at a time. If you are taking a shot of someone watching the game, really count it in your head (one thousand and one thousand and two… ) This will ensure that you get good shots and that you are not running with the bullet and going on. Cross one arm across your chest for stability and use your other arm under your abdomen to create a stabilizing platform. This is of course in place of a tripod. If you have a tripod, it can always be a good thing to use as long as it doesn’t get in the way.

Use creative angles as much as possible. Scroll down and wait for the action to be performed by you. Don’t hide with it, but let the action flow through the frame. During a swim meet, put the camera on the swim deck to get a better perspective of the swimmers in action. Of course, you can’t stay there as the swimmers approach for the turn. Digital electronics do not like water inside them. I was once taking the most amazing low angle shots of some open ocean swimmers and the boat fell on me and the salt water splashed over the camera. I had a cover on the camera, but the salt water got into the browns and it made us sad to clean it so as not to damage the camera electronics.

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