Filming sports events

Filming sports events can be exciting and profitable and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  It can be a simple as one camera or you can have a multiple camera setup  To start with, do some research in your local area to find the going rate for recording things like football games and other sports, theater and performance events at local schools, community centers and other local organizations that may have things they would like videotaped.

Filming a sports event is very different from filming performances and other things for several reasons.  First, you don’t have a chance to review the footage as you go along so it’s very important to know how to use your equipment properly.  So having good technical skills is important because you have to adjust to changing conditions during live events.  Be sure that everything is prepared ahead of time and double check that you have all of your equipment before the event starts.  The last thing you want is to find out you are missing a vital piece of equipment in the middle of the game.  Making a simple checklist of what you will need can be a big help and keep you organized when packing your gear.

It’s also a good idea to check out the venue before the event and have a plan of action for things like where you will be filming, extra equipment you may need for that particular venue like extension cords, if the event is outside be sure to check the weather forecast and always have a plan B in case the main plan doesn’t work.

Make a list of things you may need to film before or after the event and any still photos you may need in post production.

Camera angles for a sporting event:

Capturing all of the action is really important when filming sports events, after all that’s why you were hired to be there.  If you don’t have a lot of experience shooting different kinds of events you can use these tips as a primer to help get you started.

When shooting sports events you should utilize tripods or booms whenever possible simply for quality purposes, but could also use a dolly or have handheld cameras for more mobile and candid shots (handheld candid shots are great for after the game and helps you feel like you are part of the action).

When recording a sports event it’s possible to just use one camera, but this is not always what the client wants nor is it the best way to be able to review the technical aspects of the game by coaches and players.  To start with, using three cameras will give the best coverage with the minimum number of cameras.  Once camera should be a narrow focus on the player with the ball, another camera should be on the players around the person with the ball and the third camera should be a wide shot of the entire court/field.

If you are filming a volleyball game using a four camera setup would be optimal.  For the setup, you should have a wide shot (camera 1) of the entire court, two cameras (camera 2,3), one focused on each side of the court for a closer shot of the each team and a final camera (camera 4) focused following the ball and the main action.  In this case, you could use stationary tripods for cameras 1, 2 and 3 and manually operate camera 4 to catch all the action.

For events like tennis where there are only two players, one camera (camera 1) can be focused on the whole court, while the other two cameras (camera 2,3) are focused on each player.  This will give you the best overall coverage of all the action.

After the event:

When the event is finished there are a few things you should do in order to streamline your workflow and avoid big headaches when you go into post.

  • Collect and label all memory cards and tapes.
  • Be sure to thank the event organizers before you leave and let them know you are finished.

In Post Production:

It’s best practice to copy all of your footage to a different drive and work from those files instead of the originals.  Be sure to keep things organized in properly named folders (camera 1, wide angle camera or whatever you choose), this is especially important if you have more than one person editing the videos.