All Or Nothing Assignment Example Free Flow Travel Times 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!

Get out that video camera, it’s a game this weekend!

1. You bought a video camera

2. You want to shoot your child’s game

3. Here’s how to do it right!

What a wonderful age of technology we live in. You can buy the greatest gadgets these days to record videos and music and play them in all kinds of ways on computers, DVDs, MP3 players, VCRs and many other great technology gadgets. It’s all great stuff. But they all come with thick owners manuals that don’t always steer you in the right direction. For example, you might learn to use your new camera, but that doesn’t mean you’ll take street-worthy photos. It’s one thing to roll tape in your camera and another to create high quality and entertaining videos. The goal of this product is to get you up to speed using your video camera (any format and any brand) to record those precious moments of your child’s athletic activities for the best results.

As parents we spend countless hours outside on the field, court, pool or track watching our children participate in youth sports. If you have a video camera, you may want to record some of these events for later and perhaps for education. Following the simple steps in this guide will help you capture it in the best way possible so that it is not only viewable but also usable on the road.

My video expertise spans two decades as a network television cameraman and as a parent actively involved in youth sports with several children. In my years of shooting video professionally I have traveled the world and seen almost every type of news. I spent 15 years covering pro sports events for my employer. According to me this was the best type of assignment. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most throughout my career is going places the average person can’t go. In sports this usually means being on the field, courtside, in the press box or in the dugout. I have shot all levels of football games up to the NFC and AFC Championship games. Living in the Bay Area has allowed me to cover several baseball pennant races and several World Series. I was behind home plate the night the earth shook in the 1989 World Series. Talk about a shock. I had to leave to cover the World Series between two Bay Area teams and cover a major news event. Baseball seemed short for a while after the magnitude of the earthquake. The point is that I love sports, my whole life has been around sports and I know how to shoot sports videos. With that in mind I will do my best to advise you on how to do it.


Now whether you have the latest DV camera in hand or an old VHS format camera, if you’re going to shoot sports there are a few basics you need to keep in mind. 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 no matter what recording format you use. Now you already have a camera in your hand and maybe you’ve never heard of this particular piece of advice so it’s too late to factor it into the equation. However, if you have a camera in hand and the lens isn’t amazing, there are some limitations to what it can do, so there are things you can do to mitigate the situation. We will discuss those things in detail later.

Important factors before heading out on your game day video assignment include making sure you know the gear’s operating functions, have a supply of tapes on hand (the gear design revolution that will soon become DVDs), and the batteries are fully charged. I know these may seem like obvious things but even pros need to be constantly reminded to check and recheck these items.

A little aside here about preparation. Over the years of covering the news I have learned many 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 a portable hair dryer because the record deck would seize up if the humidity level was high. So if you come from the cold outside into a nice warm building in the winter, the air inside the machine will condense and create moisture. A warning light will come on and a sound like we’re dead in the water. One of us has to run to the car and grab a hair dryer, turn it on, and chase the water away from the deck’s record heads. It made for some very funny moments in public, I assure you. (Also today electronics/VCR/lenses can still have this problem. Too much moisture can wreak havoc. So remember a portable hair dryer can save the day)

Another thing I learned from others is the value of backups. A few years ago I went out on assignment and had a young eager college intern with us in the field. This young man wanted to know everything we did in our jobs. He was very interested in how to draw, unlike most of our interns who just wanted to be reporters or anchors. He asked a lot of questions and seeing that he was really paying attention, I decided to take him under my wing and really fill him in. One thing I share with him is to keep emergency tape in his car while on assignment. At first he didn’t quite understand the importance of this because I had already drilled him about always bringing a supply of tape with him on assignments. I filled him with stories of when something or other happened and I’d be damned if you didn’t need another tape and it was an emergency spare under the car seat. So he went on to graduate college and get a job at a small market TV station. He used to send us progress reports from time to time, which I enjoyed very much. Then lo and behold one day he sent me a letter saying 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 was there to save the day. I hope that what you learn in this book will save you from video failure in some way. What I’ve learned in my career is that video production is 80% the curves and problems thrown at you and 20% talent. If you learn to shoot trouble, you will always be successful.

My first suggestion for shooting your children’s sports activities is to watch TV. Yes sit back put your feet up and watch some sports on TV. Really see how they make it interesting at the top level. Then watch the news and see how they cover the game from a news perspective. Don’t pay attention to the content; See how it develops visually. Now of course you can never duplicate what the networks are doing with one of your cameras. However, if you can glean anything from watching, watch how they try to get close to the players on the air. All the new improvements in covering sports have to do with getting you an audience closer to the athlete. Bring you into their world. From the cameras on the wires running along the field to the cameras in the hockey game nets to the cameras in the cars at Daytona, it brings you into the game. Now you may not be able to 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 engaging to watch.

A side note here, if your task is to capture an entire game or sports activity for review as a training tool, you should mainly focus on getting a good high view and placing 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’s pretty basic. However, if you are going to do this, you should do it right. Find the right framing and follow it carefully to put maximum activity in the frame. Some games go from one end to the other quickly and you have to be smooth. Resist the temptation to follow the ball at full zoom. you will lose People who shoot sports on TV are pros using better gear than you will ever have.

Now to get a good video of your child playing you need to find that emotion and excitement that any game has. Consider capturing some of the happenings and turning them into gold. Does the team do pre game cheers? Get in close, stick your camera high above their heads looking down, or get down looking up and shoot viewers in ways they can’t. Capture the bat in baseball by taking the entire pitch cycle in a close-up of the pitcher and then moving closer to one of the catcher and then the hitter. Show their face if possible. Don’t go crazy zooming out if they get hit hard. Follow the runner. Stay with the runner as it will be almost impossible to follow the ball. Find angles that give you these emotional shots.

Some games are more challenging due to the size of the field and the amount of movement up and down the field. Take the example of soccer, if you chase the ball, the camera moves all over the place and the audience gets restless. To capture some good videos of your little one you need to focus on specific shots and don’t try to follow the play. Watch moments like throw ins, free kicks, kick offs when things are predictable and you can get closer to the action. Step aside and wait for the action to come to you. If your child is playing right forward, go ahead with the game and when you see the ball moving towards you, you can find your child and roll the tape in anticipation that they are playing the ball. Be sure to get some shots of the cheering crowd, coaches watching (hopefully not yelling) goalies waiting expectantly.

Hold your shots for 6-10 seconds at a time. If you’re taking a shot of someone watching the game, count it in your head (one thousand one thousand two… ) This will give you better solid shots and make sure you don’t overshoot the shot. Place your hand on your chest for stability and use your other hand under your stomach to create a stable platform. This is of course in lieu of a tripod. If you have a tripod it’s always a good idea to use it if it doesn’t get in the way.

Use as many creative angles as possible. Get down and wait for action to happen to you. Don’t pan with it but let the action flow through the frame. Place the camera on deck during a swim meet for a closer view of the swimmers in action. Of course you don’t want to wait there when the swimmers turn. Digital electronics do not like water in them. At one point I was taking the most amazing low angle shots of some open water ocean swimmers and the boat hung up on me and sprayed salt water onto the camera. I had a camera cover but the salt water got into the crannies and we had a lot of trouble cleaning it to avoid damaging the camera electronics.

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