Please help a soccer coaches husband

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    • #53684

      Hello all, New here and to video…   I'm coming over from Canon DSLR's.


      Anyways, I have an old cheap consumer grade JVC MiniDV camera that's probably 8 yrs old or so.


      My wife is our 2 daughters head coach for indoor/outdoor soccer.  I've videotaped the last couple of games with the JVC that i have, but it stinks.  We can make out the players, but I want to have better clarity for her to use as a coaching/training aid.   Currently i'm just plugging the camera into the home TV for reviewing purposes, but i would eventualy like to start doing minor edits and burning onto DVD from the computer.  ( i know ill need a new computer program for this).


      Also, I'll be doing most of the video taping from the 2nd floor balcony of the indoor facility, and taping the game looking through the safety netting, so I wonder if there's something that has a good tracking system to keep focus on the game instead of the net thats between me and them.


      Can someone tell me what i'm looking for?   Can a lower range camera like the Panasonic PV-GS500 3-CCD do what i'm looking for, or do i need to go something like Canon GL2 MiniDV 3CCD.


      Any suggestions?  I prefer to get used, a few yrs older so keep cost lower.  Once i sell some of my DSLR equipment, i may have around a $600-$800 budgett, maybe more.  (i don't want to see all my photo stuff, just the least used.)


      These camera's listed above and below are current on B&H site used dept.   Other than that, i have no idea what i'm looking at, or looking for.   please help a father out.


      Panasonic AG-DVC30 1/4-Inch 3-CCD

      Sony DCR-HC1000 3 CCD

      Sony DCR-TRV950 3 CCD

    • #205794

      kawboy613, welcome to this site, I am sure that you will find a lot of information, help and advice here as everyone is happy to share. I have shot a lot of sports video. Some was the sports that my son was playing (soccer in/out, basketball, tennis and baseball) and some was compensated endeavors, mostly basketball. One suggestion that I can give is to have a tripod. A good fluid head tripod would be best (expensive new but a Manfrotto can be found used online for less than $100) but you can find consumer grade ones that are listed as fluid-type that are adequate. I have found that shooting at a wide view will help keep the action in the frame and easier for your videocam to focus. I usually found a spot near center court and as high up (on tripod) as possible gave the best results. For shooting indoor soccer in some venues, I have been successful at ground level shooting through the 'glass' at the offensive end (switching ends at end of period). A lot depends on the physical setup of the location. As for the videocam, I started 'back in the day' with a shoulder mount VHS (very good at following the action as I turned my body to watch), moved to Digital 8 (similar to your miniDV) and am now using HD (excellent quality of the final product but small form factor usually needs tripod). You can find lots of good, used HD videocameras for not a lot of money. I shoot with Sony HDR-SR11 and Sony HDR-CX560. Both of these can be found used in your price range. They have relatively large sensors and have some features that separate them from the lower level cams. Shooting HD usually requires a computer/software that can handle this. There are lots of posts on this site concerning this technology. You can find appliances that can burn directly from the videocam to DVD/Bluray disks (Sony DVD recorder models VDR-MC5, MC6 etc.) These are easy to use, can be found used but have very limited editing abilities. If you just need a disk quickly for viewing by the coach, this works well. Hopefully this gives this you a start in the right direction. Keep shooting.

    • #205806

      vid-e-o-man,   Thanks for the advice on some camera's to look at.  As far as the tripod goes, I've already got that covered as I have a Canon 1D series with 300mm f/2.8 lens, flash bracket, etc.  Weighs about 8 pounds so i have a pretty decent tripod. But i'm also used to panning, handheld at high speed motorcycle races, so hand holding a 2 lb videocamera isn't too much of an issue for me.  With the little JVC i currently have I can zoom into the goal keeper from 2nd floor balcony (above center line) with out too much shaking.   But this 10 yr old camera i have was only like $200 new (low end model), and is really blurry zoomed in like that, even on manual focus on a tripod.


      I've found a Sony VX2100 for around $600 on my local craigslist ads, but not sure if that is a little TOO much for what i'm wanting to do.  I've also read around the web that maybe the newer SD card HD camera's isn't what i want to go to.  Dont want to have to beef up my computer any more than what it already is.  I've read that the consumer grade HD camera's don't do fast action well and show a lot of motion blur.  That's why i was looking for a more Standard Def, MiniDV camera.


      But that's also why i came here and other forums, to ask questions and find out.

      I had originally bought an Ebay special Canon HF-100, but sent it back as it had terrible zoom creep.  And then after that is when i read about the HD camera's not being so good for fast action sports.  That's when i started looking at a little more high end cameras.


      thanks again!



      Wondering if the VX2100 is just what i'm looking for, or something smaller like the Canon HV40 would do better for me. (or some Sony or Panasonic equivelent)

    • #205809

      I shot my daughter's Lacrosse games with a sony SR80 SD and the coach was thrilled with the video. The tripod & highest vantage point possible is the best. When we were somewhere without stands, I brought a step ladder, climbed up and sat on the top, still using a monopod. That was enough of a vantage point to still get a good view from center court. While the SR80 was @ $800 new back @ 6-7 yrs ago, you can get a decent HD with a decent zoom for @ $2-300m. Unless you plan to sell footage to ESPN, that should cover your game shooting needs, or are you really looking for something else for yourself?

    • #205811

      Was that indoor?  or outdoor?


      I would like to make copies for the team members, but mostly it's just for my wife (head coach) to review the games/practices, so she knows what to go over with the team.


      I chose to stick with MiniDV tapes so i don't have to update my computer and spend a bunch of money on that to work with the high compression of the AVCHD format files, and memory space etc.   (but i could be wrong, my computer might handle that just fine, can't remember what i have in it, it's a custom build from a local i know) 


      I also read that the AVCHD compression and high speed sports doesn't work well together, but if it worked for Lacrosse, why not soccer?


      But for indoors, poor lighting, i need a fast lens (large aperature) to collect more light.  I do know this to be true from my photography background.


      My wife also likes to review certain things in slow mo, and i've read that the compression of AVCHD reaks havok on slow mo fast moving objects, and shows bad interlacing.  (but maybe that's just for the real picky "pixel peepers", which i am not.   (at least not for video, only on my still photo's)

    • #205812

      I shot this on minidv sd.


      There are trade offs so you & your wife will have to decide what is more inportant. I shot mostly outdoors, but I also shot indoors with ambient light and no special lens, which was adequate because I was much closer to the action indoors.

    • #205828

      The advantage of shooting SD is file size of course, but I shoot in HD, with a Panasonic TM300 using the sport setting and get great results. Watching the footage on a decent HD television gives a great perspective and the sharp footage means you can pick out jersey numbers and faces easier. 


      I shoot fairly wide angle to insure I keep the action in frame, and to minimize panning. Lets the coach address positioning of players 'outside' the play area, but with HD you can still see clearly what moves the players with the ball are making…and lets them discuss the options that could have been taken…


      Since its hd, if the coach wants to zoom in, then you can crop the image down to SD size and still keep a decent image…


      Shooting through glass or netting means you need to pull out the manual and get manual focus setup. Only need to do this once…focus on the players for the kick off and then let it go. Plenty of depth of field so that you won't have to worry about soft images when panning to capture action around a net.


      I do zoom in for corners/free kicks to get a bit more detail, for those beautiful headers or shots that curl into the net just out of reach of the keeper…but again you should not have to fiddle with focus if there is a decent amount of light indoor…as the appature closes down the depth of field widens. But if light indoor isn't good (as you mentioned), you may have to do a quick tweak to focus for the zoom in portion.


      My footage is AVCHD, and I use the highest data setting for my Panasonic to ensure I capture as much detail as possible for the fast moving play.  When I upload the footage, to MediaFire for downloading by parents and coaches, I export it as .mp4 with a fairly low data rate (3000-4000) to keep file sizes 'small' (about 1.5- 2.0 GB per 80 minute game) and there is some artifacting, but it does not interfere with enjoying the game (for parents who could not make the trip) and for analysis (for the coaches/players).  I also extract goals, PKs, and free kicks that 'almost got in' into separate files if people just want to see highlights.


      You mentioned slow mo…that should be done in the editing suite with the high data rate footage (I think its 24Mbs for my panasonic) and preferable with a editing suite (like my Magix Video Pro X4) that can 'tween' frames when slowing down the footage. Essentially it creates intermediate frames of footage to 'fill in' the gaps caused by slowing the frame rate down to make the movement appear smoother…and it does a good job (you can see a sample of this on the site) under the "Movie Edit Pro" (consumer) and Video Pro X4 (semi-pro) editing packages.


      I don't think miniDV is the way to go. One hour limit and you have to change tapes…and when capturing its real time…one hour of footage = one hour of capture. Shooting to an SD card or an internal hard drive and transfering the footage later is fast…Anyway, I believe HD is the way to go, with the above cavets. Cheers, Michael


    • #205829

      Hey Kawboy613.


      You'll probably be happy with an SD camera, but there are some real advantages to shooting HD.


      I'm shooting my son's soccer team for the coaches using a Panasonic TM300 camera (about $1,000), but I've seen good HD footage from a number of $500-600 HD camcorders.  Less than that and you're getting very small lens openings/poor low light performance/etc…


      I record in AVCHD, using the highest data rate that the camera supports (21Mbs i believe) and use the 'sports' setting. Footage is crystal clear when viewed on my computer, and also when burnt to a blu-ray disc.  However for distribution to coaches (and parents who could not attend the game) I upload footage in .mp4 format (3000-4000 data rate, about get 1.5 – 2.1 GB per 80 minute game) to MediaFire (cloud storage) for them to access when they want. I also extract exerpts of goals, PKs, corners, and good 'free kicks' so that people can view 'highlights' without having to download the whole game. Yes, there are some artifacts due to fast motion or panning, but the footage still has WAY more visual information than shooting in SD.


      I frame the footage using a fairly wide shot…sacrificing some 'closeness' to the action for more of an overview of the action, and an ablility for the coach to view player positioning outside the core area of action.  I zoom in for corners and free kicks to give a bit more detail, but then zoom out right away afterward. Becuase its HD, i can 'crop' down to SD for framing the action differently than I shot it…effectively digital zooming and still getting decent results.


      You asked about focusing. I'd recommend that you experiment with manual focusing. Turn off the automatic focusing, and focus on the field centre…and you should be good for net to net coverage. Depth of field is very wide with consumer camcorders, and this is one time that that 'feature' is a good thing. The netting (or sometimes glass/plastic) in indoor shooting can fool the autofocus and your footage will go in and out of focus. No good.


      You mention slow mo…with some HD cameras you can shoot full frame footage (called progressive, not interlaced footage), and using the sports setting on the camera uses a higher speed shutter. Combine this with a feature in some editing packages where they "tween" footage…essentially creating intermediate frames between actual footage shot to give a smoother motion—check this out on the Magix website for Movie Edit Pro (their consumer level editor—I use Video Pro X4 their prosumer editor) as they have sample footage for their enhanced slow motion effect). Other editors have this feature now too…but this gives the best result when slowing the action down…

      And last, but not least, there is the advantage of capturing footage on memory cards or an internal hard drive. With miniDV an hour of footage takes an hour to capture. An hour of footage on a memory card takes minutes to transfer to your computer. And with miniDV, an hour means you have to have a break in the action to change tapes…while with a 32 GB card you've got a few hours of space even at full HD, and a high data capture rate.


      Some things for you to consider…cheers Michael

    • #205830



      I appriciate your comments and suggestions.  Although I think that's way more in-depth than i'm wanting to go.  I do mostly record the games at a wider angle, about half field.  but i like using the zoom on the camera Vs. post editing the zoom.  And for the slow-mo, what we currently do with my "El-Cheapo" JVC MiniDV camcorder is plug the camcorder into the TV for viewing post game.  And when my wife see's something she wants to review in slowmotion, we pause and advance frame by frame…  I'm not planning on spending a lot of money on editing software like Video Pro X4.  I'm doing this just for coaching purposes.  And my wife can keep the old copies in a box in the closet, so years down the road when our kids are grown up, and she starts coaching our grandaughter team (cause you know she will), she can pull these old tapes out and review them to brush up on her coaching of a young team all over again.


      Yes i would like to do very minor edits, like a title and/or ending grame credits and pass out CD's to the team when they get winning games or what not.  But as for now, it's for coaching purposes only.  And my wife, Who's been to National Tournaments herself 4 times, is very specific on foot placement on a kick.  As she says, if your foot makes contact with the ball 1" in too much the wrong spot, could make the difference of a goal or not, or worse a broken ankle.


      Which is why i like the tape and "actual" 30+ frames/second, instead of false "tween" frames that a computer program creates.  It doesn't know what the players foot actually did, its just creating an image to, as you said, fill in the gaps.  


      I dont' know, sometimes i think i'm even confusing myself, lol.   It would be nice to try some out and see what works best for me, but i don't have that luxury unfortunately.  Which is why i'm looking at older model camera's to save on cost also.  Fast shuttter speeds for fast action, fast fps, and fast aperature lens…  not the typical consumer camera.   

      But then again, i was quite disgusted by the idea of Digital SLR camera for years also…  But now i have 3 of them, a Canon 20D and 2 Canon 1D mark II's, because i realized i don't have to waste an entire roll of film just to screw up a shot, i can fix the exposure or what not in Post, so long as i didn't totally screw the focus.   But again, i'm not looking for all the post editing of the video, just simple camera/Tv playback.





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