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I have played and watched basketball for about 15 years. In those years, I have seen families come to games to videotape their young athletes career as it is starting. But the quality of the footage they end up shooting is just plain awful. Imagine what a coach would think if they had to guess which player on the court is the one they're supposed to be scouting.

What we can and can't do with video

The video you send to me can only be cleaned up so much. Realistically, the quality of the tape you send in will be the quality of the product you will get back. Here, the video is digitized (converted into ones and zeros) and manipulated digitally so there can be no more loss of quality, but once it leaves your hands, the damage is already done.

This page was created to help you to help us. When we get good quality video, we deliver good quality results. So here are a few tips to help you home videographers capture great quality video.

  • First and foremost, please use a tripod. The stability a tripod offers significantly clears up video tremble. It really doesn't matter how steady you my feel you are, a tripod will be better. Cheap ones work just a good as expensive ones in terms of stability but expensive ones could be better for panning across the court. Look for a tripod that has a fluid head, where the movemont is buffered and smoothed out by fluid in the head of the tripod.
  • Don't use auto-focus. I know it seems like a hassle to manually focus your camcorder but when your camera loses focus, it has to re-adjust, creating a blurry lag spot while it tries to find the right focus. The best thing to do is set up as close to halfcourt as you can, switch to manual focus, zoom into a player at each end of the court, focus, then zoom out. What this does is assures all action on both ends of the court will be in focus without ever losing focus. Center court may be a tad out of focus, but most action is at the ends anyway. Use the viewfinder to focus, also. Generally, the viewfinder's resolution is better than the flip out LCD and your eyes are closer to it so you can judge the crispness of the video more accurately. Just remember to refocus at the start of every quarter to keep quality good.

  • Zoom in and stay in. Zoom in enough to where only about two-thirds of the court is visible (baseline to just above the three-point line). The clarity of the players will improve drastically.

  • Shoot in SP Mode, not LP. Standard speed records much better quality even though it records shorter amounts of time. You want to start off with the best video possible therefore when you make copies, they will also be better. If you are worried about recording time in this mode, edit while you shoot. Other than free-throws and a few seconds of led-in footage on inbounds, stop the camera when the clock is not running. The only exception would be recording officials assigning player fouls at the scorer's table for stat purposes. If you have a MiniDV camcorder, keep the effects OFF. They use up extra tape for effects we will add anyway.
  • Copyright 2002 - 2003 VirtualHoops. All images and content is property of Chris Duckworth.