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An Elevated Platform Helps with Shooting Sports Events

Readers' tips

Videomaker Dream Come True

I just finished reading Kyle Cassidy's article on Videotaping Sporting Events [Videomaker, May 2007], and I couldn't resist writing you back on how close this article is to my own heart. My 14-year-old son has played club soccer since he was 9, along with flag football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and water skiing.

I had learned about the sideline problems with referees and players blocking the shots, so I tried to find an elevated platform I could shoot from that I could transport in my car and carry out to the field along with all of my video gear. No luck. Since the big game was rapidly approaching, I threw together a makeshift tripod chair to shoot above the crowd and players. What a great weekend. Every one wanted copies of the game. A few even wanted to know where to buy the tripod chair.

My first customer was a parent from the other team that said, "Send me a copy," pressed a business card into my hand and ran off to congratulate his son. My wife said, "Well, I guess now you will have a way to pay for all this equipment," and she was right.

I started a company called Cutting Room Floor Video Productions in the city of Orange. When my son made it on the Villa Park High School freshman basketball team, I paid with a company check and the gal in charge saw it was from a video production company, and they were looking for someone to shoot for the varsity team and I was hired. How sweet is that?

Our varsity basketball team was invited to the Nike Extravaganza at the brand-new Mater Dei High School gym. Three broadcast companies were there to cover the game; one was Fox Sports Network. After parking at the gate, a security cart picked me up from my car and took me and my video gear to the media entrance (I was wearing your Videomaker hat and shirt). The $12 nosebleed ticket never came out of my pocket. I got to shoot from the top of the VIP seating rail, and the security guards treated me like royalty and protected me from the passersby. That night, I watched the game on split-screen view: my angle versus Fox Sports Net. What a great sense of satisfaction.

The basketball team asked for a highlight video at the end of the season, but, since all of the video I had shot to date was edited on the fly in camera, that meant more gear. A new Dell computer and Sony Vegas 6 editing package later and I'm flying though 36 hours of 5 teams' videotape, banging out a 14-minute basketball highlight video like a pro. What a profession! I've only been doing this semi-pro for a year, but every day brings new challenges, and stepping up and succeeding are huge rewards and, after all, isn't that what a good life is all about? Thanks for advancing the industry and keep up the good work.
Mark Richards
Cutting Room Floor Video Productions

Slick Tricks

The article Slick Tricks by Hal Robertson was excellent. Please forward a question to Mr. Robertson: Using Adobe Audition, how can you remove the echo from a sermon recorded in a church during a wedding? I've subscribed to Videomaker since Volume 1, Number 2 was issued on October 7, 1986 and have all the issues. Thanks for the great job.
Gene Wierzgac

While noise and frequency-based problems are relatively easy to minimize, time-based problems like excessive echo and reverb are virtually impossible to remove. However, here are a few things you might try. First, acoustic echoes can be a bit boomy, so try applying a high-pass filter to minimize the boom. It won't remove the echo, but may make it tolerable. Another trick is the application of a noise gate plug-in. Set the gate threshold so it kicks in after the original words are spoken. If this works, you'll end up with a choppy sounding vocal, but little or no echo.

If you're the audio geek type, you could try making an inverted copy of the audio and placing it on the timeline in perfect sync with the original. Using keyframes and audio envelopes (on the inverted copy), pull the volume down in the places where you want to keep the original vocal. It could be incredibly tedious, but the inverted echoes should cancel out those from the original audio. Perhaps you might want to use an external mic next time?
Hal Robertson
Videomaker Columnist - Sound Advice

Tags:  August 2007
the Editors
Wed, 08/01/2007 - 12:00am