I'm trying to record an indoor soccer game from the middle of the bleachers. However, I cannot backup enough to get the entire field in the recording area.

I thought about fish-eye lenses but I'm guessing the video will be distorted near the edges where the goals are. I would like to avoid that if possible.

Another option is to try placing the camera near one of the edges of the field and backing up until the entire field is in the recording area.

Any ideas? I have no experience with videography so simpler solutions are preferred.


The field

  • Have you found a camera to solve this?
    – Crashalot
    Oct 15 '16 at 5:45

You're correct that you either need to place the camera farther away until the entire field is in view, or use a wide-angle lens adapter (not necessarily "fisheye" but wider). For indoor soccer, clearly you're limited by the walls.

Presumably, you want to hit "record" and enjoy watching the game, rather than having to actively pan the camera back & forth. Also, I'm presuming you only have 1 camera & 1 operator, and you don't really intend to edit the footage together later... If that's the case, look for a wide-angle adapter & put the camera as far away & as high up as possible (a GoPro or similar as suggested previously might be easier to stick high up on the wall :))

For most basic consumer camcorders, you can get a wide-angle adapter to screw onto the front for about ~$40 (make sure the lens & screw threads are the same size or find one specifically compatible for your camera). That should give you ~20-30% wider field of view. It won't be perfect & might be slightly distorted, but it will capture more of the field than you would otherwise.

That still probably won't be enough to capture the entire game from mid-field, but it will get more of it. To fit the whole thing you'd likely need to be up on the ceiling or on a ladder at the top of the bleachers. Not safe, or easy to maneuver.

If you watch professional soccer matches on TV, you'll notice that they don't capture the entire field either, but instead follow the action of the ball. This is because 1) that's the focal point of the game and 2) In order to really see the whole field the camera would have to be so far away you wouldn't really be able to tell what's going on anymore.

There's little/no zooming (instead they cut between cameras). They tend to keep the player w/the ball just off-center, so there's room for them to run & not go out of frame. Mid-range or close-up shots are usually done w/separate cameras, often at field level along the sidelines. As you'd suggested, you could put a camera near the goal line & see the whole field, but then you're down low & will only capture what happens nearby in that half of the field.


The problem you are running in to is that your field of view is not wide enough. The field of view is determined by the sensor size and the focal length of the lens. You can't change the sensor size, but you can sometimes use filters on the lens to impact the effective focal length of the lens. The result is normally pretty shoddy for such filters, but it is about the best you can hope for unless you can find an angle that allows you to fit the entire scene within your widest field of view for the camera. Also, as you suspected, filters that expand the field of view are generally not rectilinear which means that they distort the image and make it look kind of stretched. This effect isn't limited just to the edges, but it is the most prominent there.

What you really want is a camera with a wider field of view. If you have enough budget for it, an action cam, such as a GoPro is really ideal for this kind of situation because it is both small and has a naturally wide field of view for taking in a large scene like this. Many such wide angle lenses will be rectilinear and should give you a much more natural looking projection of the scene onto a flat screen.


If a wider angle and better resolution (needed when subjects become smaller in frame) is out of the question then try a remote panning head that will follow a player automatically. This robot head can pan to follow action remotely http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1023888-REG/solo_shot_soloshot2_robot_cameraman.html

  • I would like to follow the ball, not a specific player.
    – Alper
    Jan 27 '16 at 22:26
  • Not sure if you can attach a transmitter to the ball, but its an interesting use case.
    – 3pointedit
    Jan 28 '16 at 12:48

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