The last two weeks have been full of valuable learning experience. After filming my first PDGA tournament, then editing the video, I am looking forward to the next time I can do so. Being on the course with the best disc golfers in my area was amazing. I saw shots that I couldn’t make without having elbow surgery, and I saw shots that I make every day.
During the first round, I walked around and took pictures and shot some video. I was able to get video of several different cards of varying skill levels. My pictures weren’t nearly as good. My knowledge of the ins and outs of action photography is very limited, so I did not get as many good photographs as I would have liked.
The camera I used is a Canon Vixia HF G20. I borrowed it to film the tournament, and it is a very good camera. Its optical zoom is not the greatest, but for what it normally is used for, a high optical zoom isn’t needed. I did not have a monopod to use while filming, to which I adjusted for the second round and had my stool on which to sit and steady myself for capturing the tee shots. I have my eye set on a Canon Vixia HF R700 to buy for future filming, but that is something that will take time to fulfill.
On to my list.
1. Discs Are Hard To Follow
Light colored discs against the blue sky will be lost pretty much every single time. Not only does disc color cause problems, but the types of shots thrown make a difference as well. On Hole 10, I filmed Daniel Philley during both rounds in which he threw the same big hyzer shot. The disc went high so quick, there was no way I could track its whole flight, so I had to just widen the shot and catch its landing. Even some of the best in the business, ex. Terry Miller & Marty McGee, lose the flight of discs because it is inevitable.
Bobby Brown from Dynamic Discs had told me to get some practice filming discs being thrown. So, as a nice coincidence, I filmed my fellow club member Robby Harris throwing some discs Friday evening. It certainly helped me during the round coverage I did. Also, filming discs with the sun in your face is a lot harder than with it at your back.
On hole 13 from the WOGD NA stop, I lost sight of Mason McKay’s drive as it hit the white clouds, and was unable to keep track of it.
2. Make Sure You Have Multiple Batteries
This was something I flubbed on. Since the camera was borrowed, I had little control over how many batteries I had to cycle through. However, as the camera is normally used at my church, things can get moved around by members cleaning or using the equipment. One of the batteries was, and still is, unable to be found, which left me with one battery for the camera.
On top of that, the battery I had for the camera would only last sixty-five minutes or so if I used the viewfinder, and significantly less if I used the screen. To which, I spent Thursday and Friday trying to find somebody in my area that sold replacement video camera batteries, all to no avail. I ended up buying a battery on Amazon, the largest made for the camera, which arrived on Monday. It’s a situation I don’t plan on encountering again.
3. Know The Course
If you have played the course that you are going to film, that knowledge will help you out somewhat. When you actually get out the camera, your positioning is essential to capturing the flight of the disc. Players will get in the way if you’re behind them. If you are beside them, panning the camera quickly will make for bad video.
On my hometown course, one that I’ve played dozens of times, I had to quickly figure out the best position in order to capture good tee shots. Most of the holes worked out very well. There were a couple that didn’t, namely 11 & 14. Hole 11 has two cedar trees/bushes about twenty feet in front of the tee pad. If anybody went to far either direction, then the shot was cut off from view by the shrubbery. Hole 14 is a pretty good dogleg right, and with the tee pad up on a hill, basically the top of the riverbank, there was limited space in which to stand.
The worst hole for camera positioning was Hole 18. With the tee pad nestled next to a sitting area bordered by shrubs and trees, I could only get almost directly behind the players as they made their drives. This resulted in a obstructed view of the disc flight if they threw RHBH hyzer shots. I can’t complain about the course from a camera perspective because the wooded parts aren’t that tight, and the open parts are wide open for filming.
4. I’m Not as Fast at Editing as Jomez or CCDG
Editing video. You could almost call that an offensive term, and if the words were a bit shorter, they would fit into the four letter word category. Jeez, it just seems like it takes forever to cut down the videos to have a good flow of shots. As consumers of disc golf video, we have become spoiled to the speed with which Jomez Productions, Central Coast Disc Golf, and Prodigy Disc(Marty McGee) can put out quality high definition video. Terry Miller is right up there with them, though his computer issues the last few months have slowed down his production somewhat. I imagine that it will increase with the new of his purchase of a new MSI laptop for editing purposes.
I used my own laptop to do the editing on both videos I released. It is a couple years old, but a recent upgrade to a solid state hard drive has helped it tremendously in terms of speed. Having that fast hard drive doesn’t translate into quick editing though. It may save me some time by loading the media faster, but the actual work of cropping video down is done only as fast as I can watch the clips and click the mouse. I probably could have used my desktop and gotten the video renders done quicker since it has a faster CPU, but the ability to sit in my recliner and edit necessitated my use of the laptop.
5. Releasing Videos Next Day is for the Pros
Receiving some good feedback for my first full round coverage video, I am looking forward to the next time I can film some disc golf. Honestly, I’ll always be a PDGA Rec division player, so it doesn’t bother me to not play. I still love playing rounds of disc golf, but I’ll stick to club minis and casual rounds. If I can’t be the best, then at least I can film the best. Though it will take me a bit longer to get the videos released.
Knowing the speed with which the crews that film the major PDGA tournaments can release footage, it only stands to reason that I will get faster at editing. Having longer clips of video to sort through may make the editing process a bit easier as well. I had 36 separate video clips to order and cut to make the video. It made for a longer edit time for me as I had to make sure I added the clips in the correct order.
Bonus: Know Your Editing Software
With so many options for video editing software on the market, free & paid, it seems pointless to say know your software. But, it’s not. They all have the same basic functions. Load video clips into a specified order, crop them, add music, add text overlays, and so on. Each program can have features that another doesn’t though, which can lead to producing something you don’t want to release.
I use Corel VideoStudio. Like any other program, it has added features and fixed bugs as new versions have been released. The layout is clean, the features are more than I know how to use at the moment, and I don’t have to study a seven hundred page manual to figure out I need two clicks to add a text overlay. I can make a presentable video using the Corel software, and will only get better the more I use it.
I’ve gotten some pretty good tips from the best in disc golf media about how to improve my videos. I will put that advice to good use when I next make a video. Bobby Brown kept it real, Ian Anderson chimed in with insights, and Terry Miller spoke words of wisdom.
Keep checking back each week for new posts about my life in disc golf.
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