Sports Filming – Golf
Myself and Aleksandra are in a good position now with several Sports activities filmed and short edits created and uploaded to the YouTube Channel, which has now been officially renamed as ‘Sport Edge Video Productions’. But this was most definitely not the case just a few short weeks ago with every Sport activity we had scheduled to film either being cancelled because of lack of participants or permissions not granted to film even though we had been assured they had been.
Filming Sport is something we’ve not really covered specifically at University and so this has become a learning process, developing techniques and creative ideas for shots as we film. The filming techniques and processes that we have developed over the years at University have definitely prepared us for this type of work. Although the usual in depth pre-production processes that we go through to create short films and documentaries, that is scripts, storyboarding and shots lists do not really work for this type of project. We managed to put together some ideas of the sort of shots we wanted to capture based on Sports coverage from the London Olympics 2012 and some recent research gained from on-line videos. Essentially though it’s a case of trying to identify key images and being in the right place to capture the action as it happens.
As we have progressed it has become easier, our recent filming experience helps us to decide where to position ourselves to film and indeed we have begun to take greater control of the sequences that we capture by directing the action. We are now in the position to say that we have learnt how to direct live action sequences, quite a good thing to be able to put on your CV.
Filming – Most recent first
Golf – Filming
The most recent planned filming session was Golf instruction at the Iford Golf Center in Christchurch. The Golf professionals were on hand to give instruction to a large group of Bournemouth University students who were being taught at the driving range the basics of addressing the ball and driving using a 6 iron.
Being a lapsed golfer myself I had a good idea of what to expect and so I already had several ideas of what I wanted to film and what I didn’t. What I wanted was close-ups of the ball being hit and mid-shots of the students swinging the club. The camera rig has become my essential tool for these projects and it was this, which I turned to again, using it for the majority of the shots. For health and safety reasons as much as for creative reasons I used my 50mm to 250mm zoom lens for the close up shots, this way I could get close to the action without putting myself in a position where I could be hit by a club or a randomly directed ball.
Over the weeks I’ve come to realise that in order to get good sports shots you need to get the camera position as low as possible, aesthetically the footage obtained is more pleasing and appears to have the benefit of being able to position the viewer more into the action. Why does this have this effect? Personally I think by getting the camera low we add to the sportsman’s significance on the screen, they appear to dominate the screen and therefore focus the viewer’s attention on them and the action, for example the impact of club on ball.
With the close-ups completed I turned to the mid shots and for this I reverted back to the faithful 50mm prime lens. I’ve mentioned before how good this lens is the quality of image is excellent. I encountered no real difficulties getting these shots but I also realised they were not that interesting so I didn’t spend too much time on these, capturing just a few minutes of footage from a number of positions and of different students. Remembering the principle that people like to see themselves on screen and so these people would therefore be potential subscribers to the YouTube Channel and sharing the videos via Social Networking.
Golf – Editing the footage
I went in a totally different direction with what I had originally intended to do for this edit. I noticed when using Time Remapping to produce a slow motion sequence that the sound of the club hitting the ball changed in pitch and became almost musical in tone. From this I had the idea to create a sound driven edit in effect a music video. To get the sounds I changed the duration of each clip and added several cuts together until I had a 40 second video of sounds to which I added a base music soundtrack. I then colour graded the video footage to balance out the jarring visual changes caused by the rapidly changing short edits and the changes in exposure to the visuals by first de-saturating and then by adding a sepia tint.
I’m quite pleased by the outcome of this edit and the response it gets, which have generally been positive and one of surprise as this is not the sort of video people generally expect from me.
Problems and solutions
Apart from the obvious Health and Safety issues by filming in a location with people swinging steel golf clubs and the odd errant ball there were not too many problems for this sessions filming. However without the Zoom lenses getting the shots would have not been possible as would not having the camera rig. We could have got the low level shots hand held but not with the stability of having the camera securely mounted. For example a tripod would not have been as successful in this application, although we had tripods with us, as they do not go down to the low levels required.
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