Have you ever considered sports videography? You’ve used your camcorder to shoot your cousin’s wedding, your son’s commencement ceremony and your uncle’s speech to the Rotarians. Next week, you’re scheduled to shoot your aunt’s coin collection as a means of identifying the individual coins for her insurance company, and your neighbor’s giant daffodils before he takes them to the flower show. Sounds like a pretty full life for a camcorder. Perhaps, but where is all of the action, the excitement, the adrenaline?
Have you ever considered how much your camera would enjoy shooting some sporting events? Or, for that matter, how much you might enjoy it? Sports videos can run the gamut from team sports like football, basketball, baseball and soccer to individual events like diving, gymnastics, wrestling and tennis. It could be as slow-moving as videotaping a golfer’s putting technique or as fast-paced as a rodeo cowboy’s bull-ride. Somewhere in that range, you’re bound to find something that is fun for you. But more than being fun, there are a lot of good reasons to shoot sports, and there’s a good chance that the sports videos you shoot and edit will be useful, even valuable to others. Still not sure if sports video is for you? Here are four types of sports videos that you can produce for fun or profit.
1. Game/Event Coverage
Probably the most obvious way of shooting sports is shooting an actual game, match or other competition. Depending on the sport, on the level of competition (little league, high school, college or pro) and on the amount of gear with which you’re shooting, this can be anything from setting up a tripod at the top of the bleachers, to a live-switched multiple-camera shoot. Shooting a game might be for broadcast on your local cable channel, for the team’s coaches to use in assessing their players’ performances or for looking for weaknesses in an opponent’s game plan, or to sell to players and fans.
Single-camera game coverage is typically shot from mid-field or mid-court or behind the backstop so the camera can see all the action without having to change position.
2. Practice and Training Tapes
Professional athletes trying to improve their skills regularly rely on video as a training tool. Consider shooting a practice session, or parts of a practice session, for some of your local athletes. Every sport you can think of involves a skill that can be improved by studying videotape. Dives, vaults, jump shots, putts, slap shots, pole vaults, tackles and triple toe-loops all provide opportunities for the video-camera coach.
You might shoot a baseball team’s batting practice so the hitting coach can examine each player’s swing. By watching the video, players can learn from their mistakes and improve their form. Some teams may pay for the service of shooting training tapes for them.
Training video permits greater freedom in regard to camera position than is offered when shooting actual game coverage. When shooting practice footage, remember that it may be more useful to the coach to see a head-to-toe shot centered directly on an athlete than a whipping shot that tries to follow the full path of a ball.
3. Video Scrapbooks
Another good project for those who want to create sports videos is the creation of video scrapbooks or video yearbooks. This is a bit more involved since you will shoot a series of games or events all year or for an entire post-season to gather highlights for use in the scrapbook reel. Be sure to shoot more than just the game itself; coaches and players on the bench, victory dances, high fives and mascots can provide excellent highlight footage. Halftime shows, cheerleaders, fans in the stands and closeups of players’ facial expressions would be likely shots to include in your video scrapbook tape.
After you’ve gathered your footage, select dramatic and interesting shots to create a music montage, or write narration to tell the story of the team’s season. Watch NFL Films to see how it’s done. To fill out the story, conduct interviews with players and coaches, asking them to describe key plays that you’ve captured on tape.
These video scrapbooks can become an excellent source of income for you, given how popular this sort of keepsake video has become. Consider marketing these videos to the players or families during the year, with delivery at the end of the season. Be forewarned, this sort of season-long project can be quite a large undertaking. Don’t promise what you cannot deliver.
4. Personal Highlight Reels
You might also consider producing a tape highlighting a particular player rather than an entire team. Some players and their families would certainly be willing to pay for these highly personalized tapes; imagine how much a grandmother would enjoy getting a tape showing her granddaughter’s best plays of the year. These personalized highlight tapes may be of greatest interest to talented players with professional sports aspirations. Who knows, you may have the opportunity to compile a highlight tape for the next Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods.
A series of interviews with a featured player will add interest and provide insight to the athlete’s dreams and aspirations. Have the player describe key plays, challenges and goals throughout the season.
In the End Zone
These ideas are just a starting point; once you start shooting the games that people play, you will find many ways to improve on these four approaches to sports video. Remember that experimentation is the one key to video production. Play around with your camera and other gear to learn their capabilities and to come up with even more ideas. Watch sports on television and copy what you can from the pros.
In addition to gathering video for athletes, fans and coaches, shooting sports video will provide an excellent workout of your camera skills. Following a game’s action, shooting the key plays made by each side and keeping up with the frequently hectic pace of sports are all part of the game; a game in which you can hone your existing video production techniques and learn new ones. So don’t just sit there, put on your sneakers and get into the game.