Take the 2-minute tour ×
Video Production Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We want to make recordings of high school hockey games for coach and player reviewing. However, getting a good shot of the entire rink with one camera is impossible. Using a student to record the game live has proven to be a problem, because the student usually will watch the game and forget he's recording it, so a lot of the action is missed. So, I was thinking about putting two static cameras at the centerline, one shooting one side of the rink and one shooting the other, then combining into a split-screen video, and then recording that video, so that it can easily be played back at a later time.

So, I have a couple of issues with this:

  1. How to combine the two video streams into a split-screen video.
  2. How to then digitally record these videos for later viewing (digital is preferred, due to the ease of copying and playback).
  3. I would actually prefer HD video... Is that even possible?
  4. Prefer hardware rather than software based, due to the environment.

Any ideas would be appreciated! I have been googling this and am having a very difficult time finding pro-level equipment made for this... There's a variety of i* apps, and in-car mobile video products, but none of them seem like the right fit.

share|improve this question
1  
Have you considered doing this entirely with a lens, rather than in software? A wide angle lens can do it, or a split lens, aiming at both sides of the rink. –  Dr Mayhem Feb 20 '13 at 17:38
    
Also, have you considered simply using two separate feeds or find a student that is more interested in film than hockey. It would probably be easiest to use two feeds and find a piece of software to play them back together so that the coach and players can swap between them. Having each half screen is going to be kind of hard to follow action I would think and makes the actual setup of recording a lot harder. –  AJ Henderson Feb 20 '13 at 17:42
    
As far as lenses go, I didn't think I could find a lens that would be wide-angle enough to do the job, and still keep enough definition to make it worth it for the coach... I will admit that I could be wrong about that. –  subnet-nd Feb 20 '13 at 18:37
    
The student availability issue is a problem because of the size of the school. So, just finding one that is interested more in film than sports is kind of a non-starter. –  subnet-nd Feb 20 '13 at 18:39
    
I am really trying to do this hardware-based so there is very little man-hours involved in the production of the finished product. Using software to "choose" which feed to watch on the finished product is too technical and complicated for these users. I don't really see why having split screen video to cover the entire rink would be difficult to follow: in fact, it would preserve all of the ice that would otherwise be hidden by a single camera angle. They really want this simple and turn-key, and I realize that means more tech, complication, and automation behind the scenes. –  subnet-nd Feb 20 '13 at 18:45
show 1 more comment

2 Answers

Your best bet to easily do this is probably to set up two cameras with half the field of view being used. Then simply setup a simple project that can combine the two and encode it for electronic distribution. If you want to do an all digital route, you are still going to need to run an encoding after the fact to get the size down, so doing the combination of two feeds as a fixed project in post is probably the most straight forward. Should be able to just copy the files and hit go.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Many of us including myself tend to throw technology at problems that otherwise would yield better and optimized results by old fashion human intervention.

The problem as I see it:

You want to present to the coaches and team information that will allow them to make decisions on how to improve their performance on the ice during a competition. Simply, you need an accurate and clear recording of a game with the best possible details of the actions of all the players engaged with the puck.

Solution:

While it would be nice to have two cameras to cover the entire field there is still the problem that the optimal portion of the screen will be the half way point between the goalie and the center per both cameras. Any action at either goal or center will be on the edge of each camera's frame. This is not optimal. The best solution would be for one camera to "follow" the action with enough detail to capture the players handling the puck.

Consider how professionally produced hockey games accomplish this by using the following: multiple cameras at strategic locations fed into a live mixer and switcher under the supervision of a video director, and yes with the occasional cut away shots to the commentators. Not to mention the real time graphic compositing with clock, scores, and handy info found marching across the ticker.

Let's streamline this to be affordable and targeting the coaching staff's criteria.

One camera with an experienced "sports" camera operator. The camera should have the ability to zoom and easily be focused manually on the fly, mounted on a heavy duty tripod with a very smooth fluid head and stationed on the center line of the field at 10 to 30 feet above the ice on the most stable platform. The elevation of the camera is critical to capture the geometry of motion under play.

The camera operator must be extremely experienced to achieve the optimal recording. Hiring a student with little or no live sports coverage experience and expecting the student to yield professional results is at best a fairy tale. One of the most demanding and challenging camera work is sports photography. So don't even think about skimping on experience here as you have already found out it will bite you in the butt.

You likely do not have a budget for hiring a professional camera operator.

No worries, since this is a high school you have an enormous resource of moms and dads, uncles and aunts, or other relatives that may have this level of experience and are more than happy to volunteer their skills and talents to assist in improving the performance of this hockey team. Imagine if you had a son or grandson involved in hockey and you are both proud of this and love the sport, and were once a professional sports camera operator.

You only need this experienced person for at least one season as they train two student interns who are at most in their junior year or one year from graduation. You should have at least two interns so you have back up.

These interns should first demonstrate a keen passion for sports video capture and they should receive academic credit for their efforts and perhaps some tuition weaver or discount as an additional incentive. These interns should be additionally trained on the care and feeding of the camera, tripod, and any associated accessories.

In the following year the former interns will be your mentors for the next batch of interns.

Now you have a sustainable means of professional quality capture and recording.

I base this answer on personal experience some 40 years ago.

While I was in my senior year at SIU Carbondale as a cinema major, I was selected from numerous applicants to a special internship for credit to the SIU film unit. One of their main duties was to record on 16mm color film all the home games of the SIU Saluki football team. I recall many Friday nights and Saturday afternoons working as camera assistant to a professional camera operator covering these games. This guy had it down cold with numerous seasons doing this. He would demonstrate technique and then I would have a chance to see if I had got it with his evaluation right on the spot. Instant feedback, instant progress.

One camera, zoom lens, heavy duty tripod with a very smooth fluid head, mounted above the press box outside at about 60 to 80 feet centered above the 50 yard line. These films were absolutely needed for the coaching staff. This coaching staff expected professional results and they got it delivered. Hence, some of the funding for SIU film unit thus came from the SIU football program.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.