Playing with camera crews

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Playing with camera crews

Postby IMPRESARIO » Thu May 17, 2012 12:41 am

Filming an upcoming tournament, any tips from players who have played with camera crews following? We want to promote the sport and the tournament but not at the expense of quality of play. We'd appreciate some constructive input from any one experienced.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby djester#2 » Thu May 17, 2012 12:52 am

Just act like a respectful observer and there shouldn't be any problems. Filming from inconspicuous areas shouldn't bother anyone. Basic rules of gold apply really. If anyone blames a camera crew for their bad shot (and you were not interrupting them) is just looking for excuses.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby VERMIN » Thu May 17, 2012 9:40 am

Use a Monkey Cam
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby gvan » Thu May 17, 2012 10:35 am

I am constantly followed by camera crews. It has no affect on my Disc Golf game, but I have to be careful with whom I go to dinner.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby 12StonesScott » Thu May 17, 2012 12:05 pm

No one wants to preserve in any form my playing of disc golf, but I've spent a lot of time on courses with a camera when I'm not playing, including a couple of Atlanta Opens with big national fields, the Forsyth County Open a couple of years ago when it was a warmup for USDGC and drew a really strong field, and Am/Junior Worlds in Ohio in 2010. Common sense will take you a long way. There's a constant tension between what makes for a good shot and what may be distracting to players -- for greatest interest and drama you want to be able to see the faces of the players in what you're shooting, but that means having to be in front of them or at worst off to one side, where you're more likely to be distracting. The key things are distance and immobility -- if you're far enough away, quiet, and not moving, most players aren't going to find your presence distracting, even if you are visible to them. On a wooded course like ERP, there are often places you can set up with a clear view of the tee box, for example, where you can be mostly behind a tree with the camera braced against it for stability, where if you don't move around a lot they may not even realize you're there. There are also lots of places where it's impossible to get a decent shot without being a distraction, so don't try to force those. On open courses, being as far away as your camera will allow while still getting a decent shot, being at an angle to the line of play (i.e., in front of but off to one side of the tee box), and using whatever buildings or natural features may be present can help make you less distracting. Don't overlook the value of getting down on the ground, particularly if there's a ditch or a small hill that can help hide you -- this has the added advantage of often being a more dramatic or interesting camera angle.

One tip that may not be immediately obvious is to be aware of holes besides the one you're shooting on, particularly on a course where the holes are close together. You may be fine from the perspective of the players you're shooting but be a huge distraction to players on another hole. Know where you are and what's around you at all times.

You don't say whether you're talking about video or still photography -- video's a bit more forgiving in many ways of bad lighting, being too far away, etc., but either way the better your equipment the easier it is to get good results. A monopod is a godsend for this kind of work -- it helps with preserving the stability of the camera throughout the shot, makes it much easier to stay stationary and maintain a good camera angle and focus once you've established it, but is easier to pick up and move and less hassle than a tripod. Zoom lenses are a mixed blessing -- on the one hand, they let you maintain some distance from what you're shooting so that you're less of a distraction, but on the other hand unless you shell out the bucks for really fast, sharp glass, consumer-grade zooms often are so slow (i.e., have such a high maximum aperture number) that they require shutter speeds too slow to capture the action in any lighting conditions other than bright direct sunlight -- not a problem on open courses at mid-day, but in the woods or on overcast/rainy days, it may be nearly impossible to get a good shot. The auto-focus speed and quality on your camera/lens combination can also make or break you -- if it's slow or constantly seeking you may end up with a card full of unusable shots. Knowing how to set the various AF modes can be a big help (I find setting mine to single-point focusing rather than multi-point where the camera tries to guess at what to focus on helps), and understanding how to lock focus is vital. If your equipment allows for manual focusing, this can be a good time to use it -- if you're shooting an entire group teeing off from the same box, use the AF if you want to set focus while the first player is standing at the front of the box, then switch to manual focus, tweak as necessary, and then leave it there for the duration -- that way, you know you're going to stay focused on the spot you're trying to shoot, rather than having the camera switch focus to a tree or the tee sign or whatever if they end up in the camera's AF sweet spot.

For video and most consumer digital cameras, you don't have to worry about shutter noise, but there are often still various beeps or other noises that the camera makes when you switch modes, press the shutter button, etc. Most allow you to turn off all of these sounds, and I'd recommend doing so. For DSLRs or film cameras with an actual shutter, there's not a lot you can do about the fact that the shutter does make an audible sound when it opens/closes. In order for that not to be distracting to players, I rely on distance and timing -- where possible, I try to be far enough away that the sound isn't a factor, and (especially when that's not possible) to time my first shutter press to the instant just after the player releases his shot -- my goal is for the disc to be out of the player's hand before I do anything that could possibly affect them. I don't always succeed, but my hope is that even if my timing is off by a fraction of a second the noise is still late enough not to have any impact on the player.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby $Dollar$ » Thu May 17, 2012 1:13 pm

That was a very informative post Scott. I am all about getting Disc Golf on video. There always seem to be some disc golfers crying about getting worked by cameramen, but I think they should just learn to live with it. I love watching Ball golf and those guys put up with mega distractions. Yet another instance where disc golf could learn from ball golf.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby 12StonesScott » Thu May 17, 2012 4:33 pm

$Dollar$ wrote:That was a very informative post Scott. I am all about getting Disc Golf on video. There always seem to be some disc golfers crying about getting worked by cameramen, but I think they should just learn to live with it. I love watching Ball golf and those guys put up with mega distractions. Yet another instance where disc golf could learn from ball golf.


Thanks. I do think the challenge in tuning out distractions, at least on the tee, on approach shots, and jump putts, is different, and tougher, for disc golfers. In ball golf, your feet are essentially stationary and once you've lined up the shot you're focused on the ball -- striking it cleanly and smoothly -- and if you lift your head to look at what's down the fairway in the middle of your swing it's probably going to end badly anyway. In disc golf, your entire body is in motion throughout the shot except on close putts, and your field of vision is vastly larger, with more opportunity for movement in it to throw you off. Ideally we'd all be able to focus intently enough that it wouldn't be a problem, but our cognitive equipment is programmed by millions of years of evolution to notice and evaluate anything else in motion, especially while we're in motion.

That said, I know some players who have a hard time tuning out the fact that there's a camera on them recording what they do regardless of whether they can see it or not. I can sympathize, since God knows I embarrass myself on the course often enough, but ultimately it's really no different than the rest of your group watching you, so that one I think you just have to find a way to deal with.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby 12StonesScott » Fri May 18, 2012 12:04 pm

jamichelson wrote:I have simple question (so don't want to create separate topic) - where can I find some pics (for free) of the sport to use on one of my sites? Thanks!


Gonna depend a lot on what type of site it is and what sort of pictures you're looking for. Tournament action shots? Pictures of top players? Pictures of courses? Pictures of casual players? Are you planning to use the pictures to help sell stuff, to promote a club, to liven up a site with articles about the sport?

Generally speaking, people like me who shoot at tournaments and such aren't looking to make money off their efforts (which is good, because there's not much there to be made), but we generally also aren't thrilled about someone using our pix to make money without some appropriate compensation (not necessarily monetary). If you're publishing articles about the sport -- tournament coverage, how-tos, articles on equipment or courses, etc. -- and aren't charging for access, most of us would be willing to let you use our pictures. If you're charging for access to content, then you shouldn't be surprised if those of us who might provide content to you would want to be paid (at least in trade) for it. Or, maybe, we'd do it if you just ask nicely -- Innova has used pics of mine in their last two catalogs, and all I got from them were a handful of copies of the printed catalogs (as well as the exposure and the satisfaction of having my stuff out where lots of folks will see it). That's fine.

The other consideration is what the subject of the photo thinks about it. It's all very well and good for me to give you permission to use a photo I took of Ken Climo at an Atlanta Open, but if you're using it in something other than an editorial manner (i.e., to sell something rather than to illustrate an article on Climo, the tournament, or something like that), then you would definitely need a release from him to use it in that way. I don't bother getting photo releases from people I shoot at tournaments -- they're public events, and I don't need their permission for journalistic uses, but I would definitely contact them and get a release for most other purposes. And I wouldn't give permission to anyone else to use the photos in a commercial mode without explicitly noting that the photos do not have releases from the subjects and that obtaining such releases would be the responsibility of licensee.

It shouldn't be too hard to turn up my pix and those of lots of other folks online -- most of what I shoot ends up posted somewhere. If it's on a photo sharing site, the terms on which it can be used are posted there. If it's on Facebook or something like that, there's not much I can do to stop you from grabbing a copy and using it however you like, but I won't be happy about it if I think they're being misued, and it might ultimately make me restrict who can see my pix on there, which I'm reluctant to do unless it becomes a problem.

In general, searching for "disc golf" on something like Flickr should turn up plenty of hits. If you see something you like, contact the person who posted it and ask nicely, with a description of how you plan to use the picture. Odds are decent they'll say yes, unless they are shooting professionally and expecting to sell the photos in question, or if they have for some reason given an exclusive license for that particular photo to someone else (for example, someone shooting an event on behalf of a publication or web site and being paid to do so might have an agreement with the publisher that they could use the photos themselves or post them on a social networking site, but not license them for use in other pubs or web sites).
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby grease » Mon May 21, 2012 10:43 pm

When playing with camera crews, one good trick is to have a fake blood capsule in your mouth and chomp on it when the camera crew takes your picture. The fake blood pouring out of your mouth usually gets them! Better yet unzip your fly and have your wiener hanging out. That's what I call playing with camera crews. You are all free to make up your own games.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby Can't Hit Open Putts » Tue May 22, 2012 7:33 am

I always request that I'm not filmed because I believe that the camera "will steal my spirit". Either that or use a midget caddy, it freaks them out after a while!
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby luke » Tue May 22, 2012 2:18 pm

I've filmed more than one tournament and never ticked anyone off, including an A tier (ATL OPen 08).

1. Research the course so you know good places to video from. Try not to get in direct line of site, and if you find yourself there, be very still.
2. Make sure the TD tells everyone you'll be there and to just tell you if they don't want to appear.
3. Vary positions and distances from which you shoot. Utilize the zoom to get closer action from farther away, but try not to zoom during a shot.
4. Don't shoot with the sun behind your object. Can't see it, and the sunlight is bad for your camera.
5. more later if I tink of it.
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Re: Playing with camera crews

Postby gvan » Tue May 22, 2012 3:25 pm

Can't Hit Open Putts wrote:I always request that I'm not filmed because I believe that the camera "will steal my spirit". Either that or use a midget caddy, it freaks them out after a while!


It's common belief that society is in decay. You think it's a coincidence that camera phones and other image capture use is on the rise? Maybe they don't steal your spirit all at once, but a bit at a time.

I did blow an easy putt at my first GSSS at Central. I saw someone taking a picture and it got in my head that It'd look bad if I missed. I did and it did...
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