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Shooting Sporting Events: Tips and Tricks

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

So, are you ready to shoot your first sporting event in which family members or friends are involved? You should welcome this new experience especially if you’ve been shooting holiday movies and birthday parties thus far.

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    The following tips would prepare you to shoot great sporting videos.

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    The first step is to understand the nature of the event. If you’re not familiar with the sporting event, talk to someone who knows it. Understanding the event will help you focus on the important moments.

    If it’s an indoor venue, check out whether you have access to an AC power supply, so that you could shoot uninterrupted without worrying about running out of battery power in the middle of the shoot. Also check to obtain permission to use the power supply.

    If you’re shooting outdoors, an AC power supply would not likely be an option. You would then have to equip yourself with enough battery packs to cover the entire event.

    If you’re familiar with the event, you would know which parts you can leave out, enabling you to save battery power.

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    Chances are you’ll be using a tripod because you’ll need to zoom in on certain actions. Will there be enough room to set up a tripod? Would the crowd hinder you from doing so?

    Would it be better to carry a monopod with you for ease of mobility?

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    Again, if you’re shooting outdoors, you would also want to know the direction of the sun in advance. You don’t want to station yourself in the position where the sun shines directly in your eyes. So, it would be wise to arrive early and choose a position where you could shoot the action without any hindrance.

    You would also want to consider how many cameras you would want to set up for the shoot.

    If you can bring someone along, you could ask the person to shoot footage of the spectators and other relevant happenings while you concentrate on the main action.

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    If you’re using a video camera with auto exposure modes, set it to sports. Otherwise you can set a high shutter speed, as high as 1/125 of a second.

    This is just a guide. You should select shutter speed according to the lighting and the nature of the sports action.

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    Shot Variation

    Switch between close-ups and long shots to give your viewer a good understanding of the event.

    For example, if you’re filming a soccer match, you would not want to frame your shots too tightly. You may not be able to catch up with the fast action.

    Allow ample room around your composition so that your viewers could get a sense of the game or match.

    Also, don’t ever try to record the whole game. Just capture what you think are the exciting moments.

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    Don’t just turn off your camera after the event is over. You could add value to your video by interviewing players, coaches and even spectators.

    This would certainly spice up your sporting event video.