What Sports Video Recording Equipment Do Professionals Use?
When you’re watching professional clips on TV or even online, you see smooth edits and filming with high-quality footage. It can feel impossible to get the same quality at your home games, but it’s not as hard as it seems to get professional results when you use the right sports recording equipment.
Find out what professionals think about when it comes to recording sports with this guide.
Professionals know that different equipment is needed for different jobs. If you want to record soccer, that’s going to be different than if you’re recording tennis or basketball. You have to make sure your equipment matches your sport. There are a few things to consider when picking your equipment.
How much space does the sport take?
Filming a game of volleyball, that is only played on a 30x60 foot court, is very different from filming a game of soccer on a field that is 70x120 yards. How much room the sport takes, and the available set-up placement, can change the sports video recording equipment you need.
How many people are playing?
Filming a one on one game like tennis requires very different tools than filming a game of soccer or lacrosse. If you are filming a team, you also have to consider if you want to focus on the whole team, or if you want a smaller focus on just where the most action is taking place, or even focusing on one player throughout the game.
How long are you going to record?
Recording a wrestling match is a few minutes of action and is not going to require the same amount of effort and equipment as filming a baseball game going into extra innings. When you’re considering the equipment you are bringing to a game, double the estimated time for your battery life and memory storage. If a typical match only takes 90 minutes, bring equipment to record 180 minutes. This will give you enough buffer room with filming to catch any pre- or post-game action and still make sure you can catch any potential overtime.
Depending on the sport, you are going to need different equipment. The good news is that some of that equipment is the same no matter which sport you are trying to film.
To get professional quality video, you need to use professional quality cameras. There’s a constant argument about what camera is the best on the market and which one is perfect for your needs. Because digital cameras are always developing new features and better resolutions, there is no way to determine just one winner. However, there are a few things you should always look for when picking out your camera that will make the difference between amateur footage and crisp high-quality images.
Depending on the sport you decide to record, the ability to zoom in and out is very important. Sports like wrestling or volleyball won’t require much zooming. But sports like soccer, lacrosse, rugby and football do require the ability to zoom in and out. Otherwise the players become too small to really be able to watch, especially if you are trying to capture good highlight footage. Being able to box in a set-play across a large field looks much better when zoomed in. Keep in mind though that a digital zoom is not the same as an optical zoom. Optical zoom means that the camera is using the lens to zoom in - keeping great quality. A camera with digital zoom is cropping the photo to get closer to the subject. The video quality is greatly reduced when this happens. (Click on this hyperlink to see the difference between a digital zoom and an optical zoom.)
You need a camera that produces high-resolution images. There’s no way around it. The minimum requirements for resolution should be a 720p (HD) but you should aim for finding a camera that records in 1080p (full HD). You can even use 4K or higher cameras. As mentioned above in the section "Zoom Capabilities", keep in mind that just because a camera is 4K, it does not mean the the image quality is better - especially when zoomed in. If the 4K camera uses digital zooming, your image across the soccer field may not have good resolution. Check out the video below to see the comparison of a 4K camera using digital zoom versus a standard HD camera using optical zoom. Also keep in mind the higher the resolution though the larger the files. If you are planning on uploading the video, especially when travelling, be prepared for extreme upload times if you are recording very large files.
This reduces the likelihood you will have a shaky or blurry video, especially during windy conditions. It makes automatic adjustments to the camera lens and compensates for any extra shakes or wobbles you make while filming.
A high-resolution camera doesn’t mean it has a high frame rate. Resolution is the individual quality of one moment in your video, while frame rate is how many frames the camera captures in a given period, like 245 frames per second. A low frame rate will make for choppy or rough action. Higher frame rates are better at capturing a game’s high-speed action. For most sports a speed of at least 60p (60 frames per second) is recommended. This is not to be confused with 60i which is essentially 30p.
All cameras all not the same for low-light conditions. You will want to make sure that your camera is able to adjust for low light conditions, especially if the sport you are recording will be played during the evening under lights. Having a lens aperture above 2.8 is ideal. The larger the range above 2.8 the better. Also, having a camera where the shutter speed adjustable to lighting conditions is important. Having a range from 1/250 to 1/1000 is ideal.
Elevated Camera Tripods
Elevated camera tripods take away any chance of a shaky hand missing a game making play and provide a stable foundation for smooth transitions and zooms. For longer games or matches, a tripod is a must-have because it also saves your arm from holding a heavy camera the entire time. Elevated camera tripods provide an elevated view of the field which allow you to see player spacing and strategies better. This vantage-point is a must if you are looking to create highlight videos for a college coach, or if you are a coach trying to help players understand the game better. Another added benefit of elevated camera tripod is that you also don’t capture all the conversations happening on the sideline.
Having a professional camera and a tripod can go a long way in making a professional sports video, but there are some smaller accessories you should consider to help you make it a little bit easier.
Batteries and Power Supplies
A fresh battery on your camera should give you more than enough time to record, but it never hurts to make sure you have a long-lasting power supply. This will help you avoid switching out camera batteries in the middle of a game and potentially missing out on the action.
Lenses and Lens Adapters
Wide angle and zoom lenses give you a lot more coverage of what you can record. If you’re recording a game that uses a large field, a zoom lens can help you capture far away shots without losing resolution.
Editing and Post Production Programs
Using raw footage can make a good film, but if you’re looking for professional quality footage, you need to edit it. That requires a computer and editing software to make the most out of your film. Edit your film to amplify it. There are rarely times where anyone wants to rewatch an entire tournament on film. Keeping your film shorter can help keep the attention of the people watching it.
Tips, Tricks, and Pointers
Getting your gear together is only the start of recording professional quality film. When you get to the game, here are a few pointers to consider.
Typically the best angle to film a game is from high up. If you’re sitting courtside or on the same level as the players, you’re not going to get the best angles to see everything that is going on. The higher up you go, the better chance you are to be able to see all of the action without anything getting in the way. Typically you want to be at least 16 feet above the field playing surface. Keep in mind, the higher you go, the more weight you will need to carry to keep your pole from possibly tipping in a wind gust.
Who Is Your Audience?
Depending on who you plan sharing the game with, you might want to consider different angles, what side of the field or court you're on, or where the focus should be.
Pre- and Post-Game Interviews
If you ever watch a professional game, you know the team gets interviewed before and after each game, and sometimes even during half time. You can do that too. If you are making the film for your family and friends trying to highlight your team or player, take time to interview them. It will make the final film more personal, and help make memories.
Protect Your Gear
When you’re filming you can get wrapped up in your game, remember to protect your gear and keep an eye out for it. If you’re surrounded by people, make sure it is protected and won’t get stepped on. If you’re closer to the action, stay far enough away that a stray ball or player won’t hit you.
The SVT Advantage
SVT helps you record games easily and affordably. With the SVT pole, you’ll be able to get high angle footage to capture the action anywhere on the field. Tournament Traveler 4 is easy to transport and use so you can easily transport it to wherever you need to go. When you buy with SVT, we provide you with the tools you need to film for soccer, lacrosse, and football. Contact us to find out more.