Best settings for soccer match filming

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    • #84682



      Im posting here for the first time so not sure how much this has been covered before but looking for advice from experienced live sport video operators.

      I recently filmed a football(soccer) game using a JVC HM600 at 720/50p achieving some good results. I was positioned in a press box at the halfway line elevated about 10-15 ft. The end delivery was for standard DVD.

      1) Wondered about the best fps setting in order to deal with the fast motion and also smooth slow motion when applied in post. (I was using 50 fps which wasn't too bad in slow motion but maybe there are ways to achieve better results?)

      2) Focus –  I had a manual setting around 30m, generally ok unless I tried to zoom in too far, so had to keep some distance. With breaks in play I could zoom right in adjust and get close shots and then come out again when play resumed.  This was a one camera operation. Any thoughts on the best use of focus in these situations would be helpful.

      Thanks, Richard

    • #211454

      I have filmed semi pro soccer for about a year. Here are my suggestions:


      1) I shoot at 60 FPS; This allows me to slow the footage down 40% and still get 24 FPS, With motion blur this looks just fine. 

      2) I prefer to use autofocus (for sports; For anything else autofocus is awful), however if the autofocus on your camera isnt that great, I would try using a remote that allows you to adjust the autofocus. I would also try marking spots on your focus ring, that correspond to certian distances on the feild.

    • #211491

      For sports, 50fps is good, but your shutter speed is also very important. A faster shutter speed will increase crispness and decrease motion blur which is important for good slo-mo. You can get your shutter speed too fast and it comes out looking sort  of strobic. Play around with it before the next game to find a shutter speed/frame rate that works for you.


      And I agree that for your purposes, autofocus is the way to go.


      Good luck.

    • #211516

      For football (proper UK football, where play is generally continuous) manual focus is pretty critical, as play often runs side to side. From the position mentioned, I tend to focus just a bit further away than the touchline, rather than further, as depth of field on the more wide angle settings is enough to keep it sharp, but let you do a fast zoom in to a throw in, for example. However, following focus is pretty important when you have to work with narrower angles. I tend to use 50fps, but do not like the look of the faster shutter speeds, and rarely go over 50, because of the strange stuttering the image starts to have that makes play look slower. 


      If you are just starting out, then focus won't be a huge problem and you can probably just tweak your manual focus points because I doubt that you will spend much time zoomed in anyway, because following the ball is so difficult – so although you could be zoomed in on a distant player, full frame, the minute he kicks the ball, you will lose it and have to zoom out to find it! Single camera, it's probably best to remain wider, track the ball and focus won't be so bad. My cameras don't have autoficus anyway, but the distance between subject and background will mean autofocus will hunt like mad. I use JVC 200 & 700 series cameras, and focus isn't usually a big issue. Tracking the ball is far harder. Maintaining subject height in frame means constant zooming, so zooming and focusing at the same time is a practice skill. Very often you lose focus and it's a guess as to if you need to focus forwards or back – I use the background – if it's also soft, you've focused to far forwards, and need to focus back, if the background is sharp and subject softer, then you need to focus fowards. There are usually clues in the image.

    • #211520

      If you use auto focus, you need to be sure it is reliable and you have a position higher than the field of play to avoid spectator heads or players not involved in action, but closer to camera, tricking the camera out of focus. If these two conditions are met, then it is probably better than manual if you want to zoom in to varying points of play up and down the pitch.


      A rule of thumb for shutter speed is to have it at twice the frame rate (e.g. 50 fps means a shutter speed of 100) but this is a general rule and you should experiment with the look. I would also shoot 1080 and cut at 720 to give you some options for reframing in post if 720 is acceptable for delivery (if it is DVD, you have even more latitude if the output is SD).

    • #212215

      Thank you all for your replies – very helpful suggestions. Sorry it's taken so long to reply. I actually thought the questions hadn't been posted as I'd experienced problems with this site at the time. But – I'm here now – so thanks again!

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