How to Guides – Recording Live Events & Sport

If you don’t know what you’re doing, filming your kids singing and dancing on stage, while you’re sitting down in the dark at the back of the room can be a pretty tough gig. In fact, if you go to any school concert you’ll see parent’s struggling to do to this, most of them have their phone turned around the wrong way, their zoomed to the max, holding it with one hand and trying desperately to keep it still, while trying to enjoy the moment as well.

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Now before I get onto how you can film your kids live performances like a pro I need to discuss and important point first and that’s consent. Firstly, do you have permission to film other children and secondly do you have permission to use that footage online. In most cases you’ll be fine for filming, but not for broadcasting online. In fact, I’d never put any video or photos of other kids online without getting consent from their parents first.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s get onto the filming. When you’re filming any live performance with your mobile the most important thing you can do is get as close to the action as possible. As we’ve discussed before the lens on your mobile is a wide angle lens and isn’t really designed for filming subjects a long way away. And yes you can zoom, but it will affect the quality of your video as your phone has a digital zoom instead of an optical zoom. But the best option is to arrive a little early and get as close to the stage or performance area as possible and then use a telephone lens like the Moment lens which will get you even closer to the action.

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One thing to consider here is that the more that you re zoomed in you are the more camera shake you’ll get, so you’ll need to try and hold your devices as still as possible. Which when you might be filing your kid dancing to a 3 min song can actually be quote hard.

Now in most cases at these types of events you’ll be sitting, which can actually make its little tough to get that perfect shot as you might have someone else’s head in front of you. So what I like to do is hold my mobile with 2 hands and either try to find something to rest my elbows on, this could be the seat in front of me, arm rests if your seat has them or you can even tuck them into guts like this for support. The key thing is to try and find a method for stabilising the camera during your kid’s performance.

You can use simular techniques when you’re standing up on the sideline filming sport, but the difference here is that you’re probably going to have to pan around a little to keep the camera on the action, obviously just try to do this as smooth as possible. If you’re filming little kids playing soccer for example it can often be a good idea to get down on your knees and film closer to their eye level as it will make the footage more engaging and interesting.

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Now getting good quality audio at live performances can be bit of a challenge. If you have an external microphone, like the rode MK this is a perfect time to use it, because it will only record the sound that it’s pointing at, rather than all the noise around you. Often you’ll find that you don’t use an external microphone like this you’ll end up capturing the noise of everyone talking next to you rather than what’s happening on the stage.

Ok so now we’ve gone over the basics let’s take a look at how to actually film a live performance and sporting event.

Filming a Live Performance

Now I’d argue that a live performance like a school concert is more than just what happens on stage, you want to capture the atmosphere and the build-up to the event as well.

When I’m creating a live event video I’ll always start by getting an external shot of the performance location, by this I mean a wide shot of outside the school Hall or dance studio. Now I do this, because it gives my video a clear start and also gives me time to put some text on the screen showing the date and name of performance.

I’ll then rush inside and get a seat as close the stage as possible, as I said before the closer you can get to the action the better your shots will be. Before the performance starts I’ll also grab a quick shot of the audience. As you can see I’m starting to build a story here and by having these shots at the start of the video I’m giving it a context and making the video that I film of the performance more powerful.

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One the part you want to film starts the key is to keep your shoot still and follow the action as good as you can.

Once the performance is over I always think it’s nice to zoom out and show a shot of the audience clapping, as this is a nice way to finish it off.

Now you can end your video here, but depending on what you’ve just filmed it can be a nice touch to do conduct a little interview with your child getting them to tell you about the performance and how they think it went.

Filming Sporting Events

Filming sport can also be a challenge, as you never really know what’s going to happen next, and for this reason you often finish the game with loads of footage. As we’ve said before less is always more, but if you do end up with lots of content you can always delete what you don’t use. Now the length of the finished video you create of this event will all depend on the amount of good quality footage you capture here, but I’d aim for creating something no longer than 3 min.

The first rule of filming live sport is, you don’t want to film the whole thing. Instead what you want to create is a montage of the game, which could consist of variety of shots from different angles that capture the essence of the game and have a clear beginning, middle and end.

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I’d probably only do this once a year, the rest of the time I’ll be on the sideline cheering with the other parents. So when I do film it, I do it properly and focus on it for most of the game.

With a sporting highlight video, which is what we are creating here I think it’s always nice to start with a photo of the team and then in the edit add a graphic that says who they are and who they are versing and the date. If I can’t arrange this, then I’ll just take a nice photo of my kid holding the soccer ball or even just take a photo of the field to use as a background.

I’ll then capture the kick off and follow the action for 20 seconds or so. From there I’ll then capture a variety of shots for a variety of different angles – this means I actually walk around to a few different locations of the sideline to film. Because as I’ve mentioned before when you cut together different shots from the same angle, it looks a little odd. So you need different angles to make your video look more interesting an exciting.

Another thing I like to do is break up the game footage with some other shots like parents cheering on the sideline and the coaches ½ time message to the team, it just adds to the excitement and brakes up the game footage a little.

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At the end of the game I also like to capture the kids shaking hands with the other team as this is just a nice way to show the end of the game. I’ll then end on a nice graphic showing the score with a nice background.