Camcorder for high-school football and lacrosse

G

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My son will enter his junior year next year and is into varsity sports
big time. I'd like to get some decent video of him. This will be "under
the lights" at night and telephoto because I'm going to be well away
from the action. Our old VHS-C is clearly not going to cut it.

I'm willing to invest in a pretty good camcorder. I've been looking into
it a bit and I'm thinking that something like the Canon GL2 would do the
job. Am I looking in the right range of camcorder? If not, do I need to
look higher (ouch - ain't gonna happen) or can I get acceptable results
lower. While I'm not a DV expert, I am an electrical engineer and pretty
good with technology so I'm thinking that with some time investment I
should be able to master the technical complexity. What are the "must
have" features for this kind of work?

I'd appreciate some opinions from those who have been doing this kind of
thing. Many thanks.

-Arthur
 
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Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

Hi Arthur.

The GL 2 would be a perfectly good camera for your purpose.
Even a lesser camera would be OK.

The more important question would be where will you be shooting
from, and will you be able to use a tripod? If you are planning to
shoot from your stadium seat you will never get very good results.
In that situation you would necessarily be handheld and would have
the problem of people's heads in front of you, people standing up
and cheering, etc.

If the school will allow you to shoot from their camera platform at
or near the press box you will get infinitely better results. A good
tripod is essential. Go ahead and spend the bucks to get a fluid
head so that your pans will be smooth. When you are at 10x or more
on the lens, the tiniest movement at the camera is wildly exaggerated
on the screen.

Buy extra batteries or make arrangements to plug into AC power.
If your tape lengths will not make it for the entire game, plan to
change tapes at the half or the quarter so that you do not run out
of tape and miss a play.

Arrive early for the game, get set up, practice your moves following
action down the field. If you have a choice of setting up on a concrete
platform or a wooden one, take the concrete. It's harder on your feet,
but the wooden one will move and give when others walk on it.
If it's a night game, and if it starts while there is some daylight, and if

you do a manual white balance, consider doing another one or two as
darkness falls and the color temperature changes on the field.

If you are shooting football, start the camera at least a few seconds before

the ball is snapped and continue running for a few seconds after the ball
is dead. How wide to shoot? Shooting wide is easier, shooting tighter
is more exciting and more difficult. Coaches prefer a wider shot so they
can see what everybody is doing, offense and defense, but it makes for
a less exciting video. In any case, try to "lead" the action by panning the

camera ahead of them as they move down the field. In other words,
more open space ahead of them to run into, than behind them.

Shoot the scoreboard after every score and at the end of the game. An
occasional shot of the crowd, the cheerleaders, the band adds to the
flavor.

If they ever allow you to shoot from the sidelines, that is a whole new
experience. You must shoot handheld. Keep aware of your surroundings
at all times. Stay off the field. I generally stay about 10 yards ahead
of
the line of scrimmage, more if the team does a lot of passing.

Wherever you are shooting from, you have to try to remain detached from
your personal involvement in the game. If you get excited it makes the
camera shaky, even if you are on a tripod. If you yell, it shows up on the

soundtrack and sounds unprofessional.

If your camera has a high speed shutter, use it judiciously. A high speed
shutter makes any one individual frame a better still frame if you are
pulling
one out, but it makes the flow of action more staccato. My personal
choice is the normal shutter.

There are a thousand other pieces of advice for shooting sports, but this
should get you started.

Good luck to you and your son.

David Patterson

Arthur Kelley wrote:

> My son will enter his junior year next year and is into varsity sports
> big time. I'd like to get some decent video of him. This will be "under
> the lights" at night and telephoto because I'm going to be well away
> from the action. Our old VHS-C is clearly not going to cut it.
>
> I'm willing to invest in a pretty good camcorder. I've been looking into
> it a bit and I'm thinking that something like the Canon GL2 would do the
> job. Am I looking in the right range of camcorder? If not, do I need to
> look higher (ouch - ain't gonna happen) or can I get acceptable results
> lower. While I'm not a DV expert, I am an electrical engineer and pretty
> good with technology so I'm thinking that with some time investment I
> should be able to master the technical complexity. What are the "must
> have" features for this kind of work?
>
> I'd appreciate some opinions from those who have been doing this kind of
> thing. Many thanks.
>
> -Arthur
 

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