When it comes to capturing a fast-paced sports game, there are a range of key traits that you must possess in order to get the best shots possible.
Having a unique blend of dedication, creativity, anticipation, and technical knowledge can help set you apart from other filmmakers.
Understandably, it’s crucial that you have a good knowledge of the sport that’s being shot, meaning you can pick the best angles for viewers to fully immerse themselves in the game.
Before getting started, it’s important that you practice and prepare yourself to ensure you fully understand what you’re doing. To help you on your way, here are some top tips on how to better shoot sports.
Understand the Camera
In most instances, you will want to capture as much of the action as you can that’s right in front of you.
To do this effectively, you will need to use a fast shutter speed. The best one will depend on the type of sport you are filming, but a good starting point is to go for 1/1000.
There are various challenges that present themselves when using such a fast shutter speed, especially if you’re shooting at an indoor stadium or a night game when the light is often dim.
Using slower shutter speeds can produce a range of creative and interesting results when shooting action.
While there is no set rule on what type of shutter speed you should use, it’s best to slow it down to 1/50-1/100 as this can introduce dynamism, energy, and life into your shots. If you do it correctly, the subject who you’re shooting will remain in focus.
It’s crucial that you’re extremely familiar with your camera, otherwise you won’t be able to produce the best shots.
In sport, things can happen very fast, so you will find yourself only having a split-second to react and change the exposure or focus. The more you practice with your camera, the better photographs and film you will end up taking.
Know Your Sport
No matter what type of sport you’re shooting, it’s important that you have an extensive knowledge of the sport.
If you are passionate about the sport you are filming, you will be more in the know of when and where an athlete is going to move, meaning you can point your camera to the correct area to get the all-important ‘hero’ shot.
Understandably, it takes hard work and practice to become instinctive, so the more games you shoot, the more you will understand when it comes to getting the best shot.
If you are the type of person who watches a ton of sport games and uses websites like Unibet to bet on a particular game, you will have a better knowledge on what players to look out for and shoot throughout the match.
For instance, if your main goal is to shoot pro NFL football, it’s best to begin by shooting high school games so you can gain a better understanding on the movement of play, which will build your confidence and self-esteem to ensure you are fully qualified for the role.
Also, you will want to ensure your camera is set in high drive mode to make sure that you can shoot at a high frame rate.
However, you need to be wary and not just hold down the shutter for the duration of the game. Doing so will not only burn through your memory card, but you won’t be paying as much attention to framing and composition.
It’s advised to shoot in shorter bursts which can make each photograph more aesthetically pleasing.
Keep Your Eye on the Game
Throughout a sports game, you will most likely be shooting at a continuous high frame rate and fully immersed in all the action that’s going on.
While it can be tempting to take your eye off the ball and check your LCD, you may miss an important part of the game.
Remember, even if you think you’ve just taken a brilliant shot, the action is still unfolding in front of you, so there’s tons of time to check your images when you get home.
Not only will you be missing key moments of the game which you can’t exactly ask the athletes to repeat, you may be more prone to getting an injury, especially as you may need to move or duck suddenly out the way, especially if you’re shooting on the side lines.
The last thing you want is for a basketball or football player to come running towards you at a high speed!
Experiment with Angles
Many people believe that the only type of action photography is close ups of cars, players, and athletes.
While these tend to make the most powerful and engaging sporting photos, it’s important that you tell the full story so viewers can get a better understanding of the game.
Don’t be nervous to use a wider lens as you will be able to capture the stadium in its entirety, the events happening before kick-off, as well as all the fans who have come to see the game.
It’s always best to try experimenting with various angles and perspectives so you can be confident you’re getting the best shots possible.
Keep Your Gear Lightweight
When heading to a sports game to capture the best shots, the last thing you want to be doing is carrying around unnecessary gear as this can soon become incredibly uncomfortable.
Keeping your gear lightweight will mean that you have everything you need at your disposal, and not have to root around to find key pieces of equipment before the game kicks off.
Use Action Cameras
Action cameras tend to be the most popular among sport filmmakers. Not only can they bring a range of unique angles and perspectives, they tend to be miniature in size too, meaning you don’t have to carry around heavy pieces of equipment to capture all the action that’s going on around you.
When shooting a sports game, it’s best to feature a couple of POV (point-of-view) clips in the video.
However, try not to limit shooting to POV only as there are thousands upon thousands of mounting possibilities that can help you create special angles to make your video stand out and be unique.
Don’t Forget Sound
Even if you have the best quality camera to capture a sports game, you need to remember that good audio is a key component of the video.
If you’re recording outside, there are various factors that you need to be aware of, such as the weather forecast.
If you’re shooting in very strong winds, this could interfere with the microphone which can have a huge impact on the sound quality.
Keep Shots Steady and Dynamic
Understandably, you will want to make sure your camera is steady and in focus throughout a game, meaning it’s crucial that you invest in a good tripod that can support your equipment.
To ensure you stay as mobile as can be, it’s best to select a tripod that has a good ratio between quality and weight.
Use High Frame Rate for Slow Motion
With so many interesting things going on simultaneously, it’s next to impossible to capture everything and anything. However, to get some nice and effective shots, you may want to consider using slot motion clips.
In today’s world, most compact-sized prosumer and consumer devices provide high frame-rate modes.
When editing your video, it’s crucial that you don’t overuse slow-motion clips. While it can be great to see some of the top action clips slowed down, you should always remember that balance is key.
Keep Your Gear Safe
When filming a sport, the object you’re focused on can move at a very high speed. While it’s brilliant to shoot some close-up clips, you need to bear in mind that your gear may be at a higher risk of being damaged or destroyed.
Before you begin shooting, it’s important that you think about the types of clips you wish to film, as well as how the motion will look.
This logic also applies to drone filming too. Filming with a drone can be dangerous to anyone watching or participating in the sport, so you need to make sure that your subject does not collide with the drone.
Be Ready to Provide First Aid
While most sport games go off without a hitch, there are times when things don’t go as planned, meaning people can get hurt. When shooting a sport game, there is always an element of risk attached which could result in a player getting injured.
There are many situations when a filmmaker is the first to arrive on the scene of an accident, so doing your part to help can make all the difference.
Health and safety always comes first, so it’s important that you undergo a basic first aid course to ensure you’re prepared for any eventuality.
Filming Sports – Conclusion
Understanding the camera, knowing the sport inside out, keeping your eye on the game throughout to not miss any important moments, as well as keeping your gear lightweight and safe are just a few key tips on how to better shoot sports games.