When hiring a sports camera person, consider a creative writer, the story about the game might just be better then the game itself

When Absolute Live Productions got the call to Live Stream the high school all-star football game in Southern California, needless to say  we were more than excited.  The team at Absolute Live Productions loves producing & live streaming sporting events. We had not produced football live stream  in a number months.  live streaming sporting events offer a number of fun challenges, such as, multi-camera switching, 3 play slow-motion replay, special microphones for play-by-play and color commentary, graphics, lower thirds, Live Text etc.  When asked to Live Stream this football game, we were informed that the budget only accounted for 2 cameras.

Typically Absolute Live Productions will use four or five cameras to produce a professional quality live streamed football game. So with only enough budget to hire two professional camera people it left us with an opportunity to bring in some new and upcoming talent to the camera position. It’s always fun when you can bring a soon to graduate film, or broadcast student along to perform what usually is a position reserved for one of the professionals camera personal from our usual roster.  Even without the budget, we volunteered to donate the other two cameras to the football games live stream production.  We figured having the cameras we  would  get additional shots if and when we needed to go to those cameras.  We decided to use two female students, Ruby, a graduate student from Chapman University’s film school, and Violet, Ruby’s younger sister, a devoted liberal arts student from The Big Island of Hawaii.

When the game started we new that if we only pulled a few shots from those camera positions, it would  still be a big advantage to have more then two choices.  In the end  we are all actually very impressed with their abilities to understand and follow the sport.   With a little bit of rehearsal our technical director commented that he would have both of these  young camera people back for another game.  Since Ruby’s  talent and focus leans towards  creative writing, we asked her if she can write 500 words on her observation of what filming and live streaming football  was like.  I thoroughly enjoyed her comments and wanted to share those with you here on our website.   Needless to say if I ever get the opportunity again to be able to hire inspired creative writers to run cameras at a sporting event again, I just might do it.

————————————————————————————————————————————————The Views and Observations of a Female Camera Op. (By Ruby Fink)

There was a moment when I stepped out of the car and viewed the emerald

football field that I was transported back to my high school years. The similar

bleachers, the field encompassed by a spongy red and white track, and the crisp

white lines and goal posts in contrast to the green grass. Of course, there was no

Coyote Pride symbol, the familiar mascot of my Calabasas High School, but the

feeling of déjà vu remained. I suppose it was a standard layout for all public high

schools, but the result throughout the day was that I had to remind myself that I

was not revisiting my old stomping grounds.

In the time it took for our small film crew to unpack the live stream

equipment from the van and begin to set up, the field began to fill with groups

of young boys dressed in dark red jerseys, tight white pants, and helmets. With

different coaches to supervise each group they began to perform a series of drills,

passes, feints, long catches and short throws. Others practiced blocks, forming up

into two opposing lines and then at the coach’s whistle throwing themselves at the

other line with the aggression of one fighting for the last slice of pizza.

I was sent to film said athletes with a camera that weighed more than I was

used to. While it was the newest, shiniest toy to fall off the camera conveyor belt, it

was still a major task to hold it steady, never mind the impossible task of holding it

with one hand while adjusting my zoom lens. Which left me two options: to zoom in

before I pressed record and move closer and farther away in order to get the action,

or to change the zoom in the middle of recording and hope I don’t miss something

football

or that the editor can cut around the times when the camera starts wobbling as one

single arm takes on the full monster weight of the burden in my hands.

In this state I was able to come to a few realizations: Firstly, like when

driving a car, objects in camera are closer then they appear. So when it seems as if

a whistling missile of a football is coming at your head at I don’t-know-how-many

miles per second, there is a good chance it won’t hit you. Rather, a young boy will

jump into frame to catch it; therefore it is best to hold your ground to get said shot

rather than flinch and stumble back a safe distance. That is not to say the football

can’t hit you, I was standing at a safe distance and a bouncing bugger of pigskin

came and hit me in the shin, but at least it wasn’t thrown by a strapping lad who

could bench press me with one hand. Secondly, always be aware of what drill is

going on. If you are in the middle of the field getting shots, the football players will

try and move around you, but if they happen to be focused on catching a ball, you

can be almost run over, which is not as good as not-run-over-at-all but better than

being hit-and-squashed-like-a-pancake. So keep one eye focused on the camera and

another on the field.

As for the game we were hired to shoot…well I don’t understand the

ins and outs of football at all so I’m not sure who won. But a group of boys in

different colored jerseys raced around the grassy field in a desperate battle to

get a small leather ball from one side of the grounds to the other, and a crowd of

supporters cheered wildly and I focused on getting as much action as possible for

my crewmembers in the booth. At the end of the day, my part in the whole sequence

was I was an observer and recorder to something that impacted some and others

not at all.