Video Express for Basketball: Camera Instructions for Filming Games

Modified on Fri, 5 Jul at 5:08 PM


In this article, we will discuss best practices on how to film your basketball games for maximum coverage. This guide provides tips on how you should set up the camera, what to frame in the camera's view, and more.


Video Camera Setup Instructions for Recording Basketball Games 

Set Up Power to Your Position

  • We recommend an extension power cord of 100 feet to avoid having all your gear shut down in the middle of the action because someone tripped on a cord and unplugged it. 
  • Use gaff tape (not duct tape) to tape the plug to the receptacle on the wall. We also recommend using gaff tape to cover your entire cord run.

Set Up the Tripod

  • Position the tripod as close to exactly half-court as you can.
    • This avoids the serious problem of one end of the court appearing farther away and smaller than the closer end 
  • Do not attempt to zoom in and out during the game 
  • If possible, prevent people from sitting in the 3 rows directly in front of you
    • Use gaff tape to secure “caution” tape that will prevent people from obstructing your shot.  Try to stay away from an exit row heading down to the floor because people going up and down the stairs will obstruct your view
  • Set up the tripod with two legs forward and one leg back
    • This keeps the tripod legs out of your way so that you can get comfortable while shooting.  This also allows you to adjust the camera’s vertical angle by adjusting only the single rear tripod leg.
  • If you are not on a flat surface or if there are gaps in the bleachers, secure the tripod legs to the bleachers with gaff tape
    • Bleachers vibrate from people’s movement and tripod legs will shift
  • Use the bubble level on the tripod to get the mounting surface level 
    • You can do more adjustments after the camera is mounted and turned on using the basketball court as your reference point 

Set Up the Camera and Monitor

  • Attach the camera to the tripod using the quick mount plate 
    • Lock the plate into position so the camera does not fall off the tripod or sit loosely on the tripod head which will cause problems when shooting. 
  • Plug the camera's power supply cord into the local power 
    • Tape the small camera power cord to the leg of the tripod so that it cannot be pulled out of the camera. 
  • Make sure the camera is using the power supply and not the battery
    • You do not want the camera to turn off in the middle of shooting a game because you run out of battery power
  • Use a monitor 
    • We recommend the use of an external monitor instead of using the camera’s viewfinder. Plug the monitor’s power supply into the local power.
  • Once the camera is attached, lower the two front legs to dip the camera slightly forward to better track the action on the floor 
    • You will miss the action on the near sideline at half-court if you do not dip the angle down a bit, but do not worry if you cannot get their feet in the shot when the players cross the half-court line
    • Be careful not to tilt the tripod too far or your basket shots will look tilted and your panning will look odd
    • Do not use the tripod head adjustments to dip the camera forward – it will change the framing of the basket shots
    • You want the camera to track on a slight concave arc and the only way to do this is to lower the front tripod legs slightly

Set Up the Correct Angle

  • Framing
    • Make a mental note of where the top of the frame meets the backboard at one end and then make sure the opposite backboard meets the top of your frame in the same place 
      • Use the left/right tripod leg height adjustments for this – it is the only way to handle setting up your framing 
      • Then use the tripod head adjustments to fine-tune the height of your angle
      • If leg adjustments are done correctly, the head tilt adjusts will not affect the framing as you pan
  • Zoom in to obtain the framing shown below
  • The same amount of backboard should appear at both ends of the court
    • You will notice in this shot that the top of the backboard is barely in view.  In smaller gyms, the very top of the backboard may not be in view.  This is the correct angle. 
  • By using a 7” monitor, you will become a pro very quickly. 

Properly Capturing the Action

  • Try to shoot from a position above the crowd.  A platform that sits on the bleachers will help if there is not a higher position like a balcony to use.  Realistically, however, you will normally shoot from the top rows of the typical high school or small college gym.  The ideal position is a high angle at center court.

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