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Camera Operator Training - Hockey

Camera Gear:

The camera team leader will be in charge of camera gear inventory and transport of the gear to the rink. Camera operators must be familiar with the equipment and help maintain the organization of gear throughout the shoot.

  • Sony 4K Camcorder

  • GoPro Hero 10

  • GoPro Hero 7

  • SD Cards (3)

  • Micro SD (2)

  • Tripod

  • GoPro Mount

  • Extra Batteries

  • Battery Chargers

  • Charging Cords

  • Extention Cord

Pre-Game Setup:

The camera team leader will be in charge of pre-game setup leading up to the shoot. Camera operators must check the batteries and cards to confirm that the pre-game setup has been completed.

  • Fully charge all camera batteries, and backup batteries.

  • Ensure there is enough memory card space in each camera to record an entire game.

  • Before the first game of a showcase, ensure all camera Memory Cards are formatted and placed back in the cameras.

  • Check the Camera Gear list and make sure the items are present in the camera bag.

Center Ice Setup:

The Camera Operator will be in charge of setting up the center ice camera, with the camera team leader helping with general setup.

  • The ideal location to set up the camera is directly at center ice, as high and far back as possible (as long as the view is unobstructed).

  • Proximity to a power outlet is important when recording multiple games because it eliminates the need to charge batteries is a constant power source can be utilized.

  • Extend Tripod to optimal height.

  • It is best to have the camera monitor at eye level when the environment allows.

  • When on level ground, make sure each tripod leg is extended to the same length.

  • When on bleachers or hills, try to have two legs the same length with the third leg at a shorter height to compensate for the slope.

  • Attach the 4K Camcorder to the tripod with the shoe.

  • Tripod Shoe should always remain attached to the camera or the Tripod.

  • Level the Tripod head.

  • Using the bubble and the circle imprinted on the gauge, then

  • point the camera straight at the center of the playing surface and check the monitor to ensure that the boards are level with the bottom of the screen.

  • Do not check the level by pointing the camera at either end of the playing surface.

  • Camera settings are as follows:

  • Record at 4K 30FPS

  • Automatic Exposure

  • Automatic ISO

  • Manual Focus

  • Focus the camera on the nets with manual settings.

  • Zoom all the way in on one of the nets and manually adjust the focus to make the mesh of the net clear.

  • Make sure the net is at the far end of the focal range, rather than the near end.

  • The result should be the entire playing surface in focus.

Center Ice Camera Operation Strategy:

Before we get into the strategy for operating the cameras, use the following criteria for recording:

  • Record the entire period without pausing or stopping recording.

  • Press record before the opening face off and stop recording after the final buzzer to end the period.

  • DO NOT STOP RECORDING BETWEEN WHISTLES, AS IT MAKES POST PRODUCTION MORE DIFFICULT.

Watch the following video to gain insight into the priniciples and strategies that are written below:

  • The main objective of operating the center ice camera is to capture as many players on the ice as possible while keeping them centered in the frame.

  • Although the puck should be in frame as much as possible, it is okay to let the puck leave the frame if it has been dumped down the ice for icing. Rather than following the puck, follow the players chasing the puck.

  • During play, the camera should be completely zoomed out.

  • The only circumstance that zooming in is appropriate is after a goal has been scored.

  • Rocording the Offensive Zone when all players are inside the blue line:

  • On the side of the frame where the boards end, lock the boards near the edge of the frame to maximize the amount of ice on screen.

  • Once the boards are locked, watch the player closest to the opposite end of the frame:

  • As long as the player closest to the edge doesn't come close to leaving the frame, keep the camera stationary in locked postion.

  • As soon as the player closest to the edge comes close to leaving the frame, move the camera to keep them from exiting the frame.

  • If moving the camera would lead to removing other players from the frame, choose to frame the players that are more involved in the play.

  • Recording the Neutral Zone when the play is transition between offensive zones:

  • As much as possible, try to keep every player in frame as play tranisitons between zones.

  • If all players are in frame, balance the frame with equal space between each of the furthest players.

  • If the players are too streched apart to keep everyone in frame, identify which direction the play is materializing and favour the players who are furthest advanced in the direction you have identified (keeping the players on the far side of the fame to allow trailing players to stay in frame).

  • If the puck is not immediately visible, pay attention to which direction the majority of players are pointing their bodies.

  • Once the puck is controlled through the neutral zone and past the blueline, look to frame the goalie before there is a possible shooting opportunity.

  • If the play is stretched out or the offensive team doesn't have enough control over the puck to take a shot, you do not need to frame the goalie.

  • If the players move into the near corder of the boards, use that as an opportunity to lock the frame in the offensive zone.


Ice Level GoPro Setup:

  • Where to mount a GoPro at Ice Level:

  • It is important to mount the GoPro within the following area to achieve the best filming angles to cover up the near boards as well as behind the net net.

  • When Mounting a GoPro on the Glass, use the following diagram as a reference:

  • Attach both Gooseneck extenders to the suction cup and GoPro.

  • Extend backward 2 feet and downward 1 feet.

  • The GoPro will hang below the suction cup, slightly tilted down to frame underneath the suction cup.

  • Position on Glass: mount the suction cup at the apex of the boards curve, as it allows you to see both behind the net as well as the near side boards.

  • The GoPro FOV is roughly 140 degrees at its widest point, which makes it impossible to capture the full ice while safely suctioning the GoPro to the glass, so it is important to strike the right balance and minimize the area of the ice that is not covered.

  • Mounting Height: secure the suction cup roughly 6 feet off the ground, with the GoPro hanging 5 feet off the ground and 2 feet away from the glass.

  • This provides the optimal height for viewing the play while discouraging spectators from standing in front of the GoPro and compromising the frame.

  • GoPro Framing: tilt the camera so you can see:

  • the curve of the boards in both the bottom corners of the frame, but not the entire curve of the boards,

  • at the top quarter of the frame, show the wall and a small sliver of the ceiling.

  • If you do not show enough wall / ceiling at the top of the frame, it will make it difficult to balance the frame when zooming in during post production.

  • Position on Glass: Camera is placed in ideal location, but the height affects how wide it can see at the bottom of the frame.

  • Mounting Height: Camera is placed too high on the glass, which raises the chances that a spectator will stand under the GoPro and have their head block the bottom of the frame.

  • GoPro Framing: Camera tilt keeps enough free space at the top of the frame, but it is too high to see the curve of the boards, which means players bodies will disappear when they get too close to the glass.

  • Position on Glass: Camera is correctly positioned on the right pane of glass, but the camera is mounted too low on the glass.

  • Mounting Height: Camera is placed too low on the glass, which leads to more overlap of players in the frame and too much empty space at the top of the frame.

  • GoPro Framing: The camera is tilted to show the curve of the boards in the corner, but because it is too low it leaves too much empty space at the top of the frame as well as showing the suction cup.

  • Position on Glass: Camera is placed in ideal location, but the gooseneck extender is mounted too close to the glass and slants to the right, which leaves too much invisible space behind the net.

  • Mounting Height: Camera is placed too high on the glass, which raises the chances that a spectator will stand under the GoPro and have their head block the bottom of the frame.

  • GoPro Framing: The camera is tilted to show the curve of the boards in the corner, but because it is too high, it crops the top of the frame and doesn’t give enough headroom when zooming into the far end of the rink in post production.

  • Position on Glass: Camera is place in the ideal location, but the gooseneck extender is mounted too close to the glass and slants to the left, which leaves the entire boards on the right side invisible.

  • Mounting Height: Camera is placed too low on the glass, which leads to more overlap of players in the frame and too much empty space at the top of the frame.

  • GoPro Framing: The camera is tilted too far up and you can’t see the curve of the boards, and because it is too low it leaves too much empty space at the top of the frame.

GoPro Setup:

  • Attach GoPro to Glass Suction Mount. Use the following diagram for guidlines on placement:

  • Check to ensure there is a microSD card in the GoPro.

  • Press Record button at the mounting location.

  • Check to make sure the recording has started

  • Check the Battery level to ensure it will last the duration.

  • Check the card space on the camera to ensure it will last the duration.

  • Secure the Suction mount directly behind the net at the maximum height.

  • When determining the maximum height, make sure it is possible to tilt the GoPro with your hands after the mount is secured.

  • Make sure that the lens of the GoPro is not directly in front of a smudge on the glass. It is okay to make the GoPro slightly lower, or to the left or right, if it allows the lens to look through clean glass.

  • Tilt the GoPro so that it’s center is pointed directly at the center of the net.

  • Check the monitor (when applicable) to ensure the following framing:

  • The entire net is in the center of the frame,

  • there is space above the glass on the far end of the ice,

  • As much of the behind net ice is framed as possible after the first two conditions are met.

Filing Structure

The camera team leader is responsible for file transfer and organization. Use the following criteria to ensure the footage is legible and stored in its entirety.

  • Event Folder

  • Games Folder

  • Game Folders numbered in chronological order with team names and division specification if there are multiple divisions at the event (i.e. G1 - FV - Pilot Mound v Delta)

  • Create Folders titled:

  • Center Ice

  • Ice Level

  • Go Pro (when applicable)

  • Place the corresponding video files in the appropriate folders with no extra folders or naming conventions in between.

  • i.e. CSSHL - Female Varsity / Games / G1 - Pilot Mound v Delta / “Ice Level” and “Center Ice”

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