My Match-day Video Kit
Steve Massey, Helston Athletic’s Director of Football, tweeted the above video just prior to their FA Youth Cup 1st Round tie at Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday evening. At first glance it looks like it is the amateur club that has all the professional match-day video kit, whereas the professional club has the amateur video set up. A bit like the two boys standing next to a wall seeing you can pee up it the highest. Far from it. Horses for courses. Different goals. The FGR video guy was filming wide angle on his Sony Handycam for subsequent performance video analysis, using very sophisticated software. I made the 375 mile round trip in order to produce video highlights and tell the story of this historic game for Helston Athletic U18s. In any filming scenario you need the right kit to do the job professionally.
So what’s in my match-day video kit bag?
(1) The new Sony PXW-Z190 video camera. This is ideal for filming sport. Yes it is 4K (UHD) but I have only used this for one game. The files were far too large and unwieldly and I found creating proxy files just added an extra couple of hours to my workflow.
One of the great things about this video camera is the 25 x zoom lens (and 50 x if you use the 2x optical extender). So its great for those close-up cutaway shots of the players, coaches and individuals in the crowd and for creative shot flow of course. I shoot 1080p @50fps with 1/100 shutter speed. The images are fantastic – particularly in good light and they far surpass those of my old and trusted Sony EX1 that I used for over a decade. As all good professional videographers do, I shoot fully manual for exposure, focus and audio.
(2) I use one of two tripods on match-day. If its an away match I take my lightweight Miller Solo 75. You never know what you are going to find at a new ground. For home matches, which I now film from our new scaffold tower, I use my heavy duty, studio Manfrotto 509HD. What it lacks in versatility and quick set up time, it more than makes up for in smoothness of the pan and tilt.
(3) On those occasions when I do a “Behind the scenes” video of someone linked with Helston Athletic, I will often film off the shoulder using my Canadian shoulder mount (Cinemechanix C1 Pro Rig). It is a beast- and very comfortable and easy to use.
(4) When it comes to getting the best audio I have a variety of microphones and devices at my disposal. Bad audio is far worse and less forgiving than bad images. I have had my Sony ECM678 shotgun microphone for over a dozen years. It was expensive at the time and has served me really well, largely as an on-board mic. For pre and post match interviews I use a hand held Beyer Dynamic microphone (M58NC). For my commentator and summariser I have a couple of those iconic Coles 4104 ribbon lip microphones you see on tv. If I really want to go to town, I will by-pass the camera’s XLR connectors altogether and record directly to my Zoom H4nPro field recorder. I don’t use it quite so often these days because I have, in the past, failedoccasionally to press the red record button.
(5) There’s nothing quite like a set of Bose noise-reducing headphones to enjoy your playlists and mine double up on match-day as a monitoring headset for the two audio channels (commentary and ambient sound) from the on board and commentary microphone(s).
(6) Monitoring the football action that is being filmed is not so easy using the video camera’s small electronic viewfinder. Instead, I attach a 5″ SmallHD Sidefinder display screen. I have a plate and two rods attached to the base on my video camera and to them I fix a Tilta orbital arm to connect to the display screen. I have found the BNC and HDMI connections quite challenging at times. Often I am struggling to get the display screen to talk to the camera as the match is just about to start.
(7) Where I am shooting a piece to camera or an interview and it is dark, I will use an onboard light. I use the sophisticated A-Lite AMS-D8T/D which has a good variety of temperature settings as well as a dimmer. I even use them in daylight if there is no reflection of the sun in the eyes. It is amazing the difference it can make.
(8) KATA rain jacket – where would I have been without one of these when the heavens have threatened to or actually opened? If they are good enough for the BBC then they will do me fine.
(9) Finally there is a miscellany of items that will be in my Portabrace or KATA kit bag – from batteries that need to be charged up in advance, to XLR cables and microphone windjammers, which always provoke amusing comments. My constant fear is that I will forget one of these on match-day.
(10) As a post-script I should point out that I occasionally use my iPhone X which always surprises me when I incorporate footage from it with that from my Sony Z190. Especially if I have used my ZHIYUN gimbal. OK if money was no object I would be tempted into purchasing the Panasonic GH5S mirrorless camera and gimbal.
So what’s on my wish list?
(1) The GoPro Hero 8 which has just come out. This would be a second camera and placed behind the goal. I have used a similar action camera in the past, but you are always reliant upon an extra pair of hands on the day.
(2) A Rycot blimp wind shield and shock mount system and 50m of XLR cable for my shotgun microphone. This would cut out most – if not all – of the swearing from the dug-outs!
The Big Match