Question

Videoing Soccer Games

Looking to capture my kids soccer games to not only capture the moments, but to help break down game tactics and create teaching moments for his team. Thinking I will need a camcorder, guessing HD at a minimum, and a way to control the camcorder if I need to raise it above my head to capture the action. Looking for someone who does the same thing I'm trying to do with tips, advice recommendations, etc on where I should start in putting together a decent system to accomplish my tasks

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Answer
My first thought is doing too much for one person.

Time to get a camera person on your coaching team. Tell them what you want a shot of and let them do the capture work.

As to above your head, most camcorders have controls that we use while it is held in our hands. So if you remove it from your hand, you just zoom out and put it up on a pole, press record and during your edit sessions work with what you recorded.

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Helpful method

Best approach for our team was getting an elevated camera pole. Every player on the team pays $80. We use a pole by SVT Advantage (www.svtadvantage.net). Better than spending $500-$1000 at every tournament. Easy to use and very portable. We've taken it across the country via plane. Parents use the the film for college recruiting and also for teaching.

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Now finish.

Let's read what camera to use, how to control and monitor.

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Answer
Smartphone App

Many of the recent camcorders can be remotely controlled with an App on your Smartphone. My example is my Panasonic HC-V 750. (superceeded by the current HC-V770)
The App will :-
1) Give you a picture of what the camera sees.
2) Control the record Start/Stop.
3) Control the zoom.
It works well for a limited distance and would work perfectly for the example you give.
The problem will be control of where the camera is pointing. If you have the camera on a pole then you can control the pan easily but the tilt will probably be fixed. Panasonic actually supply a remote Pan/Tilt base (VW-CTR1) for the 750/770 which is controlled by the App. It is brilliant but will probably be too slow to respond for a soccer match. I use mine to remotely position the camera for nature photography.

You will also need a decent video editor. Amongst many other features, it will give you the opportunity to do a voiceover to the video you have edited. I use Corel's VideoStudio Pro X10.

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I concur...

I use Sony equipment, and their PlayMemories app worked great on my phone and tablets, except for a delay in video feedback, especially when there's a lot of people with phones in the area... Otherwise it worked the same as Terfyn described for their Panasonic setup.

And a decent video editor is key - I also use Corel's VideoStudio Pro - but I'm now up to the latest 2018 Ultimate version. The Mercali stabilization included with the ultimate (or also available as a stand alone solution if you use other editors) is worth it's weight in gold to stabilize shaky video from a 20ft pole!

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Answer
Agree with Bob and Terfyn; my two cents:

If you are in some sort of bleacher environment, then the trade-off is nose-bleed seats vs use of zoom. At least you are able to get video without sticking the camcorder on a pole and guessing that it is pointing in the right direction.

If bleachers are not available and the camcorder needs to be pole-mounted (and a steady pole is desirable - there is no easy solution) and remote-controlled - when the control is from a smartphone, great. Most times, the smartphone app also provides a view of what the camera can see. The downside is the wireless video transmission uses wifi and will use battery power on both devices pretty quickly. So an external source of power is needed for both devices. If an optional high-capacity battery is used in the camcorder, it may be OK. There is no cell phone using only a built-in battery that will last an entire soccer game doing video streaming over wifi (and the camcorder will be using low-power wifi so there is a distance limit of 3-4 meters camcorder-to-smartphone.

Its been a while - and we were fortunate as practice was at a field that had what might be considered a "press box" at the top of about 15 rows of bleachers. The roof was reinforced to allow up to 3 people on it with some camera gear and we were about 25 feet up. When we played games at places without such facilities, we did without video.

It was investigated a few times (pre-bleachers and press box)...

A fully raised "light tree" is not steady enough in any sort of wind. The agreement was we would get the whole field of view into a shot, press record and get as much as possible. Then we tried two cameras - one at either end of the field. Then 3 cameras - 2 at each end and 1 in the middle. The multi cam shots need someone willing to turnaround the edited version very quickly. Use of a drone is bad because of people-safety issues and short flight time/battery (and they can flyaway so someone is out that $ until located and then repair funding is needed). And you need the entire game captured to edit out the unwanted parts. When that "learning moment" happens, you realize record needs to be pressed - you missed the moment.

There are lots of reasons you don't see a lot of what you want to see at anything less than college-level (or fortunate high school) soccer matches... and why you are having issues doing what you want to do (which is why you posted here). I will not say it can't be done - it can, with enough money and time.

Video is my hobby and I have been collecting "stuff" for years. If someone were to ask me today to capture video for their kids' soccer game for the reason you describe, after receiving written permission from both teams to do the video, my list of stuff to bring and be on-site 3 hours before everyone else and have to assume there is no power available so I bring batteries (not a fuel-powered generator):

2 camcorders with optional high capacity batteries from the camcorder manufacturer. Video record time is ~6 hours.
Minimum flash memory card size is 32 gig. My camcorders have two memory card bays each.
Camera 1:
Camera crane (I have a Kessler 8 foot camera crane that mounts to a K-Pod tripod and Hercules head). This must be located in a place people are not expected and cannot be located near any side line or end. There are safety items to deal with the crane and the very stable, heavy, tripod. Typical: About 15 feet behind one of the goals.
7 inch video field monitor. This would normally mount to the camcorder - but the camera crane makes this a non-starter - The video field monitor mounts back where the camera crane operator is, ~12 feet away from the camcorder. The battery is the same high capacity battery that the camcorders use, though I recently found a less expensive alternative.
A 25 ft long HDMI cable to connect the camcorder to the field monitor.
Counterweights for the camera crane.

Camera 2 (opposite from camera 1, so 12 feet behind the other goal):
"Normal" tripod, can fully extend (sticks and center lift) to 80 inches. Again, cannot be located on the sideline or near either end due to safety and security issues. The camera cane has a better view, but I don't want to buy another camera crane.
Camcorder-mounted 7 inch field video monitor with high-capacity battery or mount the monitor on the tripod... use a 6 foot HDMI cable for flexibility. The monitor is large enough to be seen by the camera operator even if camera mounted - just need to angle it down.
Wired remote controlled pan-tilt control on the tripod head. The most it moves is at set-up. Once the main field-of view is set, the camera should not move much. I have the remote pan-tilt from a different "project" It is also possible to use the tripod handle, but you may want some sort of extension.

Use of a LANC for zoom and focus control is really handy. This means the camcorder needs a LANC port - and you don't need to use the smartphone app and the camcorder does not need to be on wifi...

Ideally, a second person is needed to help with set-up, monitor the video, protect the camera from being stolen, striking the gear after the game and packing. I just got a pair of headphones (EarTec, single ear, with boom mic) that are wireless so the two camera operators can communicate more easily than using GMRS/FRS walkie-talkies or cell phones. I have not used these on a "gig" yet, but have used them around the house (my wife thinks I'm nuts, but she put one on and humored me for a while) and they sound good so far. This can be expanded to up to 4 headsets, I think.

The main safety issue is that you do not want anyone running into anything hard or tripping - that is why any tripod, pole or other "hard" material cannot be anywhere near any of the sidelines. Just watch any televised soccer or football games... The only camera(s) on some sort of steadying device with any sort of height will be behind the teams and benches. Many times, even monopods are not allowed on the sidelines or field during a game.

Then there are cases (mostly Pelican; some Anvil or SKB) to protect the gear (and the interior of your vehicle during transport)...

And all this for the WIDE shots "to help break down game tactics and create teaching moments". No close-ups or even medium shots... basically watching ants moving though the field of view of the camcorder. For close-ups and medium shots, we need another set of stuff for sideline use (no steadying devices, hand-held or certain types of shoulder-mount only... not even a Steadicam stabilizer with vest and articulated/counterbalanced arm - observe during the broadcast activities, those come out only at the start/end of the game and halftime).

I have every confidence there is another way to do what you want - but I sure have not found a way to do it...

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Answer
Recording must dos for good footage

Hey all,

So I am actually in the process of setting up gear for this very requirement. While I am a hobbyist video/editing enthusiast, my kids are playing at a high level (top 20 in state level) and my volunteer task is to video the games. This year both my kids teams want good footage to review the games with the kids, which got me thinking and looking not only in to how to do this for that purpose, but possibly for creating video highlights for the kids.

That led to me spending WAY more than I had anticipated. But if just one kid gets something out of it (e.g. entry in to a college program that they otherwise might not have), it will have been worth the costs and the work I have yet to do.

This may get a bit long winded, but hopefully someone will find it useful.

Gear is not as important as the ability to use that gear to capture the game. However, as it is now mid 2017 when I write this, I feel given prices and such, a minimum of 1080P (HD) should be used. Phones today can all record that if not 4K. The ideal device is a camcorder though, simply because they are affordable, shoot pretty darn good/clear footage in day time and decent night time with lighting, and today's computer hardware is for the most part capable of editing HD footage comfortably. I would not worry about audio for the most part. Most of the games involve anger at refs for bad calls anyway, and video highlight reels would typically be set to some sort of music, where as coaches reviewing games could care less about hearing the kids (with is usually barely audible with camcorder and phone mics anyway) or parents swearing/complaining about the game.

The hardest part of all this is the ability to capture smooth game play and keeping at least a 1/3 or so of the field in view while moving smoothly with the ball as it is kicked around the field. There is no hard and fast rule of how much of the field you should keep in view, but as another poster said, coaches want to see a good bit of the field to see the shape of their team and the other team and how the kids react to the play as it unfolds. So zooming in on a couple of players is a no no. As a parent, watching your own kid.. it is hard not to do that, but if you are tasked with recording the game for review.. and/or plan to make highlight reels of kids, do everything you can to refrain from zooming in too close. As well, it can get somewhat dizzying if you are constantly zooming in and out.

The best location is ideally the center line, a few yards or so behind the field... essentially the 50 yard line. If you are further back... in bleachers or something, then zooming in a bit and trying not to zoom out past that mark once you figure out the sweet spot for the initial zoom is ideal. Regardless of where you are, some sort of tripod or mono-pod is a must. It avoids the potential slight up/down movement of the camera is you lock it off at the height the tripod is at. It will greatly keep the footage smooth as you pan as well, unless you are pivoting the camera a lot up and down (on the tripod head, not actually raising/lowering the camera in height).

It would be best to have a plugged in zoom controller, most cameras use LANC, some have proprietary options. Either way, being able to mount it to your tripod handle, or hold it in hand, and use the in/out zoom levers will allow for more controlled zooms, though you will have to practice a bit to get the hang of your cameras zoom speed.

A better setup if obtainable... which is what I ended up doing, is using/purchasing a elevated camera pole system. There are a few out there, varying in price. The cheapest I found is SVT Advantage. At less than $1000 it gets you up to 16 feet or so, though it uses fiberglass poles (as of this writing) and has sway issues in wind thus requiring you have a camera with excellent image stabilization (OIS... optical image stabilization) in somewhat windy conditions. Most cameras today have this though so it should usually be OK. It is also the only system I found that can break down and fit in the trunk of a typical car. Everything else requires a fold down back seat or a truck to move around. HiRise is another product that uses carbon fiber poles, goes up to 20 feet.. but is a bit pricey. The one I chose, HiPod, goes up to 30 feet, and has varying flavors and prices, plus they manufacturer all of their own parts, so they have a ton of options. They offer one of the sturdiest tripod options as well and solid aircraft grade pole construction. There are a few others out there as well. HiPod was a hair under $2K shipped for the 21 foot Lite LX version, but their heavier/bigger tripods can go up above $5K. Those are more suited for large venus. All of these systems utilize either a pulley tilt head design where by as you extend the poles up, connecting wires attach to a wheel pulley system with a platform for your camera, or they employ a robotic tilt/pan head, which is nice..but because it is powered.. you have the added concern of it breaking down. Plus, it is not as fast as the manual pulley system with regards to pans and tilts, and may be limited on the range of motion as well. An interesting cheaper option is you can look at some cinema lighting rigs.. the things that go up about 12 to 15 feet to hold large lights, and then attach one of these robotic heads yourself, which are usually a little cheaper to purchase from places like BHPhoto, Amazon, etc. With this alternative option, you would control the head with your camera mounted on it.

Another thing these all usually provide is a long HDMI cable (or you buy one) and feed to a monitor at your eye level (that you attach to the pole) so you can see what you are recording. With the long zoom remote you can usually start/stop recording as well as control zoom.

The benefit to these setups is you get the same sort of view you see in broadcast sporting events like football, soccer, etc. Obviously it is one angle, and if you are a hobbyist like myself, you arent doing this for a living so you will have some lack of skill using the zoom while panning/tilting the camera at the same time to keep the game play in view.. and also learning when to zoom in and out.. and when not to, as well as how close to zoom in and out. But like most things, spend a little time with it and you will learn how to make it work.

Ok.. well I wrote a bunch more about 4K vs HD, etc..but this forum has a limit unfortunately and I reached it. So.. going to cut this off here. If you are interested in more about 4K, better quality recording, storage, etc.. hit me up (or respond here) and Ill reply with more details.

Hope this helps some people out there.

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More info please...

I am interested in the elevated camera system that you described. Now that you have had the HiPod system for a while i wanted to find out how you like it. If you can tell me anything about the controls and how easy or difficult they are to use I would appreciate it. Also, some videos I have seen like this have a score board / clock in the top corner. I wanted to find out if you have done this and if so how? I am still very new to these systems, but as you said if one of my children get any help with college entry it pays for itself.

Thank you

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RE: More info please...

Sorry.. been a long while never saw these updates. The HiPod system is really good.. but a pain to transport. It is big, and the cloth case they give you doesnt last long. They now have a hard case, but it sets you back $400 too.

I had to find a way to rig the camera (Sony AX53) because the big battery for it doesnt last a full game when you do any sort of zoom. Also, for some reason the zoom controller doesnt work all the time. I bought a separate one as well, but for some stupid reason Sony decided not to stick to LANC so all the nice ones dont work with it. Really sucks.

The ability to pan and tilt is quite easy, though I use an external monitor down by my head and if you attach it to the pole like I do, you constantly have to navigate your entire body back and forth. I tried my Drone VR glasses but they didnt work. It would be ideal to use a modern VR headset with HDMI input so that you can literally sit and view the action while you control the pan/tilt of the camera.

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great tips!

Thanks for some great tips! What camcorder are you using? I am looking for an upgrade from my Sony AX53.

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Camera

I use the Sony AX53. I did however just get my Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K, which is freaking awesome to record games with.. but I dont put it up on the HiPod. I only use it when at games in stadiums where I can use my tripod.

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Answer
Re: videoing soccer games

Hi. I do this exact thing every game and then edit the video together to show it to my son's team and they get a blast out of it. Few suggestions for you.
1) Yes, you need a HD video camera. Get one with a swappable battery so you can change it if it runs low during a game or at a tournament when you are video tapping many games in a single day
2) You will need a stand to keep the camera steady. Holding it will get tired quickly
3) I upload my video to something simple like iMovie and edit it there and put music over it because you will capture the parents conversations/talk which is usually not appropriate Happy
4) Make sure you have enough space to capture the video. HD takes up a lot of space.
5) When you video, try and get a seat at the center of the field and then zoom out the entire game. When you view it on a big screen, it will look good even fully zoomed out. This way, you will get all the action.
6) Try and move the camera the minimum amount when scanning left/right. You don't always need to be centered with the ball. The video will turn out better with less camera movement
7) Watch out where the side ref stands as many a time they will stand right in front of you. The side ref usually only covers half the field so sit on the half he is not.
Cool Don't worry about the audio. With the wind and parents talking, you will almost always overwrite it with music.

Hope that helps.

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Answer
Recording Soccer Games

I've been doing this now for several years and have recorded probably well over 100 soccer games - all high level. Makes a difference. (My older kids team is top in the state now for several years, they won regional gone to nationals, in national league and dpl.) Videoing soccer games makes a difference. Not just getting the highlights (those are fun and good for recruiting), but also for teaching the players. At tournaments, our coach takes my film and we have film review for about an hour in the evening. During the season, he uploads the games and asks the kids to count their good and bad first touches, .... Great for teaching and awareness.

As far as equipment - I've been using a really easy set-up. The pole is made by SVT Advantage. There are some others out there too, but this set-up is really easy to use, light to carry around and affordable. For traveling to tournaments by plane, I put the set-up, minus the batteries, in a hard golf case. Just counts as a carry-on with the airlines I fly. So that is a trick I've learned. The batteries need to be put in your carry-on (TSA regulations).

On the top of the pole I have a Sony CX190 HD camcorder. I have several other camcorders, but this one works really well. You really do not need much more than this. When you upload the video to YouTube or most other video hosting sites, the video is downgraded anyway. I've run 4K too. Looks nice, but the Sony HD is just fine and is more than enough for highlights and film study. Also, I have had the pole hit by a soccer ball. If the ball were to hit the camera, or the pole hard enough, I wouldn't want to have to fork over for a really expensive camera.

Hope this helps.

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Answer
Sports Game Camcorder Pole for less than $100

Here are directions for any easy DIY camcorder pole. You can build for less than 100 dollars. Camcorder and Camcorder accessories are not included in price because needs are based on the camcorder you have.

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Sports Videoing Camera Pole
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Good read!

Thanks for the link. It was really helpful.

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Answer
SVT Advantage is the Best Tool

So we use SVT Advantage to record our soccer games so the team can look back and analyze their games. It's a tripod that comes with a camcorder and a monitor so you can see what you're pointing at. It has honestly helped us out a lot. It's super easy to put up and down, and you can move the camera to all points on the field, including zooming in and out and getting a great vantage point to look at.
It's better than holding the camcorder above your head the whole game as well because, my arms would get tired, and I couldn't enjoy the game. But now I can still watch and enjoy yet capture the game for the team to watch later.
If you want to check them out, they have a website at www.svtadvantage.net

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Answer
Some thoughts on process - a DIY solution

I'm using a DIY solution - started using it for 2 years of youth soccer and lacrosse, followed by 2 more Lacrosse at club and now high school level. We just completed our High school LAX season where I filmed 22 Varsity and 15 JV games, and I'll be in San Francisco this weekend at the Battle of the Bay Lacrosse club tournament...

There's several commercial "Video Pole" or "Endzone Video" solutions available as mentioned in the other answers, but although most of them are great, price has been a major issue since they start at $1000+, averaging $2500-3000 and topping out at $8k+ - way out of my budget as a parent.

For flow based sports (like soccer, lacrosse, rugby, hockey) most of the powered endzone systems doesn't work - they simply cannot pan or tilt fast enough - and most of the DIY solutions online have this same issue (the Bescor type pan/tilt head is popular and affordable, but not nearly fast enough for Soccer or LAX from the sideline - but it does work for football from behind the goals). This is the main reason why I'm still using a manual pan and tilt solution - which has been working great for 4+years. Its also light and portable, and TSA tested inflight Happy

My current solution design logic is documented in an Instructable - have a look at https://www.instructables.com/id/Video-Pole-for-Sport-Videos-Design-Logic/ if you're interested in the details.

In summary you're on the right track with what you need:
1. an HD or 4K camera is needed for good footage,
2. use a pole or light stand system to get at least 12 foot up (top down view and no spectators in front),
3. Pole/tripod must be very stable (but shake can be reduced with in camera stabilization, or in post editing),
4. have a way to connect to the camera for control and view - either use a camera that supports wifi/app control (but distance and lag times can be an issue), or use a wired remote and hdmi video system - bit more expensive, but 5" or 7" screens are becoming much more affordable
5. Be ready to have huge data storage requirements - with my dual/triple camera setup I'm running close to 150Gb-200Gb per game day (2*1.5 hrs) of raw data!
6. Either be an expert at editing and video breakdown, or use a service like Krossover.com, vidswap.com or several others (hudl.com is big in football circles) to break down your footage into separate clips, provide analytical services, and distribute the videos to players and parents. We're currently using Krossover for breakdowns and sharing, and also publish on youtube.

Hope this helps!

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Nestcam/cloud storage ?

Security cameras operate 24/7 with the video stored on the cloud- If you are filming a few consecutive soccer matches at a tourney, could a Nestcam with the video being sent to the cloud via a cell phone address the otherwise huge data storage requirements or would the video quality be unacceptable?

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depends on your requirements

1) Location of the cell phone: If the cellphone video capture is on the field, then the "play" may be challenging to see. If the cell phone video capture is in the stands, then one can see lots of small objects running across the field. If the cell phone is handheld for an entire game, "steadiness" will become an issue.

2) Connectivity: If the cell phone is used as a wifi hotspot to connect to the internet and the video capture device is a wifi-enabled camcorder, then an "unlimited data plan" (and good coverage, robust, LTE - 4G - network) will be a requirement.

3) Power: Cellphone and camcorder battery time need to be investigated.

4) As far as I know, Nest (and Ring and most others) do not record 24/7 (or even 5 minutes). They record based on certain triggers (typically motion detection). Under very specific conditions, the video may be transmitted to a cloud server somewhere, but not stored until the trigger happens. Then a timer starts and that segment is recorded. This is not the norm. Usually, the trigger starts the security camera to set up the connection to the video storage server, then starts recording. This is why lots of shared doorbell videos show people walking away... The 30-60 second captured surveillance video is nowhere near a full soccer game. There are some cloud services available (Ustream is one).

You can provide a live stream and store captured video - More than a cellphone to capture the video is needed to effectively use these sorts of sites.

5) If the service used stores the captured video at the capture resolution then there will not be an degradation of video. Generally, services like Ustream can store good quality (not very compressed) video. Security cameras will store (online or locally) very highly compressed video - this compression will reduce the video quality (even if the video is 4k). Compression is useful to minimize data throughput requirements at the expense of video quality (or, if locally stored, not use so much hard drive space in the NVR).

6) There are a few add-on devices that one would normally connect to the camcorder in order to connect to the online streaming and storage services. Example: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/963885-REG/teradek_vidiu_consumer_camera_top_hdmi_h_264.html
With these devices, the camcorder's HDMI-out connects to this wireless transcoder. This box connects to one or more cellphones (bonding the data connectivity for for faster throughput) and securely connects to the video storage site by logging in to your account.

As you stated, "huge data storage requirements" for video = storing the data on large hard drives associated with fast servers in data centers. This is "the cloud". For decent quality video, this is not an inexpensive proposition.

Vimeo, YouTube and other video sharing sites have streaming capability - you should be able to stream/post an entire soccer event. The quality of the video is proportionate to the equipment used to capture that video.
https://vimeo.com/live
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW5UUk4fpRo&t=513s

Personally, I would rather save the video locally, get the entire event, edit out the slow parts then post the video... Takes longer, immediate gratification is not there, but the end result is more useful for "technical review" and sharing with others (depending on the edits and audience).

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Nestcam/cloud storage ?

Thanks for your reply. I am always surprised that sports clubs don't have cameras set up on the courts/fields so that you can purchase a video of your lesson/event and I guess the issues you raise explain this. I don't mean a one-off where a camera and tripod are used by a parent or coach. I mean where a indoor soccer or tennis club systematically tapes everything and then offers for later purchase the video of the lesson/event. I'll have to look at Vimeo. I was aware you can stream events, but wasn't sure whether you can then make recorded copies of the stream. Probably can, just haven't researched this.

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I think there are three

main reasons why " sports clubs don't have cameras set up on the courts/fields so that you can purchase a video of your lesson/event"...

1) Expense for installation, maintenance and ongoing availability of video (including cameras, storage and editing skills);

2) This thread has been about "kids playing soccer"... Lots of people don't want their children captured to video and "internet available" and the extension is "privacy";

3) which leads to potential liability issues.

For all I know, I am wrong... but a "sports club" is not designed to have the technical expertise/knowledge needed to deal with mountain of video and all that entails. 1, 2, 4 18 cameras? Video switcher, audio, character generators, logo and other graphics overlays, a tablet so someone can draw on the vide to show how a sequence evolved into a score - or not... Local video storage servers. Video access control, Power and lighting requirements. Is 720, 1080 or 4k needed and what happens when the next useful tool comes out - skycam (not a drone - the cabled ones like at college and pro sports venues)? What happens with away games when that field has no video capture capability, but someone wants it? Who is responsible to pack the equipment then set it up... which add the expense of heavy duty cases and a vehicle capable of carrying the sensitive electronics... It quickly turns into a very slippery slope.

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Answer
An alternative without a cameraman

An alternative to camcorders and control units is a camera that can record the soccer match without a camera. An example is Veo (https://www.veo.co). It's almost tailor suited for your needs for recording the whole match and break it down to tactical evaluation.

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Can't speak for others,

but I am not a big fan of required monthly subscription fees on top of buying the video capture device (which is why I don't use Adobe's video editing suite)...

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Re VEO

This system seems more expensive than everything else available. I cant tell what the specs are on the cameras, but they have small openings, so I suspect they are not top notch. So you still buy the pole/camera system, but also have to pay monthly to have your video processed. I dont know... but it would not shock me if this company doesnt last long. Not enough people want to spend that much money on this.
Case in point, I recorded over 50 games the past two years, amongst 4 teams, and despite offering a very low price of $200 to make a highlight reel for a kid, only one parent took me up on it. This is after having tons of good quality 4K footage in DNxHR, not even crappy MP4 that most cameras record in. I spent WAY too much and have had no return with it. I thought for sure many parents with college bound kids would be interested in highlight reels.. but apparently they are not. Or they tell their kids to grab the highly compressed youtube video. Even though many will pay $50 or more for a single photo, asking a couple hundred for a full blown highlight reel appears to be way too much. After speaking to a few others in the business, they too are pulling out. The problem is, everybody has a phone camera and to 99%, that is good enough. Even the wealthy folks that can easily afford to pay, dont care to.
It is a shame too.. it takes a lot of work to set up all the gear, record the game, takes my computer a day to process the video, etc.

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Re VEO or Alternatives without a cameraman

The focus recently seems to be shifting towards AI (artificial intelligence) based systems that make camerapersons and editors obsolete - Veo is a case in point, but Fieldvision.co, Pixellot.tv, Playsight.com, Spiideo, Provispo, and Panoris are other options... Most of these are installed options, and it seems Veo, FieldVision.co, and Provispo are the only portable options - but there might be others out there...

Our high school recently installed a Pixellot system. Pixellot seems to be the big gorilla in this space in the USA, and they're very aggressively rolling out installed solutions to high schools - who seems to only pay for the hardware ($4-8K) and Pixellot then making the video feeds available live for a monthly fee or delayed for free through their agreement with NFHSnetwork.com (national high school sports network). I'm not too impressed with the AI capabilities for Lacrosse, but soccer seems to be OK. And I'm not even starting to go down the security and data privacy path - another potential nightmare area... My personal take on this is that will not be a long term sustainable solution - now schools are basically signing away their copyright, ownership, and marketability for a very small share in paid revenues simply because they don't know better and desperately want an apparently affordable relative problem free standalone solution.

None of these systems are really designed for the individual user or parent - their main target is groups, clubs, schools, venues or leagues that require footage reliably. And the $1500 - $15000 -$500000 price ranges are not bad for large corporations, stadium owners and regional/national teams - a decade ago most of this would not have been technically possible or would have required a million dollar plus broadcast truck or editing room with a team of highly skilled cameramen, editors, directors, and technicians.

And for those commenting on the monthly fee - this is generally to cover the analysis, breakdown, recording, and storage of footage - distinctly different from the capture process done via a camera. When you look at a VST Advantage or Hipod or similar pole costing $1000-2000 as a minimum and a decent 4k capable camera for $1000-$3000, in addition to an operator/videographer costing between $15-50-100 per hour doing 2 hours of filming (including setup and breakdown) and editing time of 1-3 hours per game, the costs for the automated systems seems really affordable. For example, https://us.shop.veo.co/ list the Veo system camera for $1499, a tripod/pole for $250, and monthly fees of between $25 and $50...

And specifically in reply to Adjarnic: I feel your pain! I've filmed more than 200 Lacrosse games for various team over the past 3 years (starting because my son played, then to help the coaches with game analysis), and although I've offered it to parents and teams for $50 per game, nobody is really willing to pay - but kids get multiple $100+ sticks each season simply because they want to, and demand video to be available immediately after a game.. I've been gifted $50 by two parents over the past year - and not even from the parent that told everyone that my footage was the deciding factor that got her child recruited into a D2 university...

And just to be clear - I do this as a hobby, and have no affiliations with any of the companies mentioned - no "free gifts" or paid or promotional materials were received - but I'm open for offers that will be declared Happy

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Soloshot

I've seen quite a few of the Soloshot camera systems popping up on the sidelines. Seems like a decent option for individual players. Two cons that I see initially are: The size of the GPS "tracker" the player needs to wear and the fact that you can't necessarily see the entire sequence that the player is a part of (for example he/she takes a shot, you might not see the result if you are close up). Price is also up there around $900.

Any one have any experience with these cameras?

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Re: Soloshot

Soloshot is not an ideal situation. You pointed out the two obvious ones. The idea of the soloshot is pretty slick, but there is another problem.. it only captures the player wearing the tag. If that player subs out..then what? There wont be time to switch the tag (or whatever the tracking device is). For those looking to record a game for anything other than saving a memory of a specific player this is not going to be an option.

Me personally I wouldnt want to work with MP4 if at all possible, which is what most of these cameras shoot with, like GoPro, phone video, handy cams, etc. You are recording a 1 hour or so video.. as someone who owns a pretty powerful workstation for video editing, MP4 brings my system to a crawl. Most people try to edit on a much less powerful laptop usually without a dedicated GPU. It works..but it is very slow in most cases. If you are just uploading directly to youtube, then it may be good enough. If you plan to edit it, cut clips out for highlight reels, and more.. then you will want/need to transcode to an editing format, like DNxHR or ProRes (if you are on Mac), which alone takes many hours for a one hour video. To be fair I work in 4K so HD is about 1/2 to 1/3 or so processing time depending on the recording settings.

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