Basic Guidelines for Football Coach’s Film
Being a Video Coordinator for a Division 1 College Athletic Program I see the good, bad and ugly of Coach’s film on a daily basis. The department I lead continually strives for the best quality film we can provide, this past season doing it with very limited resources. A program can have top of the line equipment in the Video Room, such as XOS, DVSports, Professional Cameras etc. or they can be using a simple edit system pushing film to DVD (This year at GSU we utilized the latter system, which will come in a more detailed post later) but ultimately it boils down to the effectiveness of the camera operator actually on the field day in and day out.
In this post I will be covering some of the most important factors from what I have observed to capturing great Coach’s Film in College Football.
Concentration– In my book this is the most important factor to capturing quality footage. I will admit it is tough to stay concentrated for two hours a day standing 40 feet above the practice field filming each and every play, but it is vital! The second you become distracted you will miss the beginning of a play, miss the ball carrier or worse case scenario think that you’re filming when you’re actually paused… yeah it’s happened. While it may not seem that vital while on the field to capture every millisecond of a play, the coaches back in the office spend countless hours analyzing every detail of it, from pre-snap formations to the tackle.
Framing– Framing is key, especially for team drills. In College Athletics we mainly use two cameras, a Sideline Wide and an Endzone Tight. The Sideline Wide shot keeps all 22 players in the shot for as long as possible, zooming in to the location of the end of the play to see as many jersey numbers as possible. The Endzone Tight angle is generally framed to include the tackle box, and then widens and follows the ball as the play progresses, always keeping the tackle box in the shot until the play finishes.
Movement- This is one of the biggest problems after the above two, smooth movement. Coaches analyze every movement of every player on the screen during the play, and it is impossible or at least very difficult to do so when the camera is moving wildly across the field attempting to follow the ball. It is vital that the operator uses slow zooms and steady pans/tilts to include the play while making it as smooth as possible.
Knowing Football- It is important that the camera operator have a good understanding of Football terms, positions and plays. Often times myself or a coach will tell someone to film the O-Line… which doesn’t work if they don’t know what the O-Line is! Granted it’s usually not that simple but you get the picture.
Passion and Dedication… with a little Talent- To make a great football camera operator you have to love Football, you have to love providing quality film for coaches, you have to be dedicated to constantly learning and honing your craft… and oh yeah having a little talent doesn’t hurt either. I constantly get “running a camera? Well anyone could do that!” from people who have never set foot on a forty foot metal lift perched above a practice field in puring rain attempting to follow an option play where the players on the field can’t see the ball… much less a tiny camera high above. Trust me, as easy as it may sound I assure you it’s not. The individuals I have working for me are incredible at what they do, they work at it and are dedicated to learning more… and the ones that are not usually aren’t around long enough to make a difference.
If you’re in Video for Athletics, comment or send me an email with what you think it takes for great Coach’s Film.
Next time I’ll cover the way we operated the Video Department this season using Adobe Premier Pro, Jump Drives, borrowed meeting rooms, DVD’s and first time video staffers…. all while attempting to build the program from scratch for our first season.
The ways we operated would work great for smaller schools, especially the High School Teams, who are looking to start or better use Coach’s Film to make an impact on their program.