Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Did you know that you no longer need to be a professional football club to have your matches filmed!
Anyone can do it, and the best thing is that you don't need a huge budget or a state of the art camcorder!
Up North Productions has been filming grassroots and non league football games in the North West of England since 2017. During that time, we've learnt a thing or two about filming football matches, and in this article you will learn everything you need to know, from setting up to operating the equipment!
Why Does My Team Need It's Games To Be Filmed?
There are so many reasons why football teams at all levels are increasingly having their matches recorded.
Whether they use Veo, Pixellot or film their games manually, lower level clubs are taking advantage of the improved technology available to them, and are making the most of footage that was previously unavailable (unless you were a professional or high level non league club, of course).
The most obvious reason why your team needs to have its games filmed is that your coaching team can go through the footage and use it to analyse your matches.
How many other teams at grassroots level are filming their games? Not many!
So, you can gain an unfair advantage over them all by going over your matches and highlighting the strengths and weaknesses from your side's performances.
You can look at team shape, player positioning, set pieces, decision making and discipline.
Filming a match is the perfect way to find out exactly what your team needs to improve on, and you can use the footage to actually show players where they went wrong (or what they did well, not all analysis has to be negative!)
If you aren't recording your matches, you have nothing to analyse so you are simply going from game to game doing the same things week in week out, just like every other team in your league.
Analysis is crucial if you want to remain one step ahead of the competition!
Share Your Footage
Remember the days when you played Saturday or Sunday League football and you scored an absolute belter, but no matter how many times you told your friends about it in the pub afterwards, nobody would believe you?
Maybe you were a goalkeeper who made an outstanding save, or you were a defender who made a goal-saving diving header, but there was never any video evidence of it so everybody assumed you were just exaggerating?
Well, those days are long gone now! Especially with the technology we have at our finger tips!
If you have your matches filmed, you can share the entire game with friends and family or upload it to social media.
Let them all see it with their own eyes!
You can even edit the footage and create match highlights videos, similar to what you see on Match of the Day, and share those online
Sharing your videos is also a great way to get more exposure for your club, you can put the footage on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even TikTok.
You might only play in a small league in Lancashire, but if your video goes viral, you could be seen by millions of people from all over the world!
Make Money From Your Videos
Did you know that you can monetise your footage?
You can make money online, money that can be reinvested into your club and help give you a significant financial boost.
One way is to upload your videos to YouTube and join their Partner Program.
You know those annoying adverts that play before videos? Well, once you are accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, your videos will have those adverts played before them!
Every time somebody clicks on those adverts, you get paid!
Sounds good? Well, there is one small drawback! You must have 1000 subscribers to your channel before you can be accepted into the program.
But, if you utilise your social media properly and get everyone involved at the club to subscribe and spread the word, you should reach the magic 1000 mark in no time!
You can also create a website and allow people to download your footage for a fee.
Whether you use WordPress, Wix or any other website building software, this is such an easy thing to do.
Simply upload your video, add a download button, choose the amount you wish to charge people, and that's it!
This is especially popular for teams when they reach a cup final or have a crucial game where they can either win the league or gain promotion.
People love to relive their glorious moments! And they are usually willing to pay for it!
What Equipment You Will Need For Filming Football Matches
The most obvious piece of equipment you will need is a decent camera! Luckily, there are so many on the market that are affordable and fantastic quality.
You don't need to spend £1000s on a new, state of the art camera (although if you do have the budget, it's always good to get the best out there!).
Personally, I use a Sony PWR-X70. It's an HD camera and it allows me to film at 1920x1080p, and at 60 frames per second.
This is fantastic for when I do my goal replays in slow motion as the quality looks fantastic!
However, this camera is difficult to get hold of, and it is quite expensive as it is a professional camcorder.
You can simply use a Handycam if need be, or your mobile phone, any camera that has a good zoom and has excellent picture quality can successfully record football matches.
Just make sure the viewfinder or screen is big enough! You will need to watch the match through it, if it's too small you might struggle to follow the game.
Once you have your camcorder, you need a good tripod! Nobody wants to watch footage that is jerky and jittery! Use a tripod to keep everything steady!
You can get very cheap tripods, but I recommend that you use one made from aluminium, or at least one that is fairly heavy.
Why? Because during the winter months, it gets very windy! I used to use a tripod that was largely plastic and it was a fight just to stop it blowing away!
You need steady footage, which means purchasing a half decent tripod! It will be worth it in the long run, and it will make your videos look so much more professional.
This sounds like the most obvious piece of advice that you will ever hear, put please remember to either have a long-lasting battery so it doesn't die during filming, or have a spare ready to swap over at half time!
Usually, the batteries that come with camcorders aren't particularly great, they certainly aren't made for filming 90 minute football matches!
So come prepared! It's better to have too many batteries than for your camera to run out of power before the end of the game!
Again, it sounds obvious, but make sure you have a memory card that has enough space on it to film the entire game! Or, have a spare that you can swap at half time!
I tend to use a 32mb SD card, that allows me to film the entire game with plenty to spare.
And, with my Sony X70 camera, I am able to use 2 SD cards so when one of them is full, the camcorder automatically switches to the other!
Very clever! But not all camcorders are this sophisticated, it's likely that yours will only have one SD card slot, so make sure there's enough memory on it to capture the amazing footage that you want!
This is absolutely crucial if you are going to film football matches during the winter!
When I first began filming games, I had no waterproof rain covers whatsoever, and it ended in disaster!
Camcorders are simply not made to get wet, and trust me, it can be a scary feeling when your camera switches off and doesn't turn on again because it has got water inside it!
I've had to leave my camcorder buried in rice next to the radiator for 3 days before it's started to work again because I'd filmed in torrential rain and the camera got drenched!
There are plenty to choose from online, and I highly recommend that you invest in one.
It's better to do that than risk losing your nice, new camcorder!
Video Editing Software
Once you have recorded your footage, you need some video editing software to piece it all together.
Most camcorders don't record your footage in one big file, it records in 'chunks'.
For example, when I film my matches, when I download the footage from my SD card, it downloads it as 10 separate files.
The reason for this is that my camcorder can only record in 2gb segments, so once it has recorded 2gb of footage, it creates a new file.
It might sound complicated, but do NOT worry! It's not!
All you need to do is drag the files into your software and drop them onto your timeline in order. Nobody will even know that the video was not one big file! It is all seamless and straightforward.
How To Get Set Up
Always try and set up in line with the halfway line! While this may sound obvious, some people film from the most bizarre angles and positions!
It just gives you the best viewpoint and gives your footage a more balanced look.
Also, if possible, try and film from an elevated position.
This is not always possible, but it can be frustrating when you are recording a game and there are people getting in the way of your footage!
Whether it's spectators, subs warming up on the touchline, or the managers stood in their technical area, it can cause you to miss some really important moments of the game.
I no longer record at pitch level, but when I did, there were occasions when a goal would be scored and I couldn't even see the player crossing the ball because people were in the way!
One option to avoid this is if both dugouts are on the same side of the pitch, simply film from the other side!
How To Film The Football Games
Once you are all set up, all you need to do is press the record button on the camcorder and the rest will take care of itself...
Well, maybe not!
Following the action can be quite difficult if you haven't done it before, it took me a few games to get to grips with it!
But, it's like riding a bike! Once you learn how to do it, it's fairly straightforward from thereon in!
I have had no formal training on filming football matches, I am 100% self taught, but my number one piece of advice would be to try and get the player in possession of the ball positioned right in the middle of the shot!
And try and predict the flow of the game so you know what the player on the ball is going to do next. You can usually see when someone is about to shoot or pass the ball forward, try and anticipate what is going to happen next.
It's also important to try and keep your footage as smooth as possible, try to keep camera movement to a minimum.
I know that sounds ridiculous because the ball is constantly on the move, but try to make the camera movement smooth, make it look natural rather moving it around, up and down, left and right, unnecessarily.
Think about when you watch a football match on TV - does the camera look jerky and all over the place? Or does it smoothly, seamlessly follow the ball and play as the team moves from one end of the field to the other?
The last thing you want to do is give the people watching your footage a headache!
Keep it steady!
Zooming in and out is absolutely vital to recording quality footage, get it wrong and it can ruin your entire video!
The very first game I filmed was a disaster, in hindsight!
Why? Because the camera was zoomed out as far as it could for the full 90 minutes!
I had to zoom in using my editing software afterwards, and it looked horrendous!
If you don't zoom in, you will struggle to see the ball when a team is on the attack and you could miss a goal!
With my camera, I zoom in by at least 50% when a team is in or around the penalty area, and if the ball is close to the touchline opposite me, I zoom in to about 75%.
Then, as soon as the ball/play is moved across field again and gets closer to me, I smoothly zoom out.
Notice I used the word "smoothly" there! Lots of sharp zooming in and out really can make the footage look unnatural and uncomfortable to watch.
Gently zoom in and out. Sometimes it's not possible because the action is so fast and frantic, but try to avoid any unnecessary, aggressive zooming!
The only time I ever have the camcorder zoomed completely out is when the ball is right in front of me!
And I rarely have the camcorder zoomed in 100% unless I am recording a goal celebration and want to get the player's face in the shot.
Zooming in too close can cause a big problem because it's harder to follow the play, I'd only zoom right in on an individual player if I was recording a personal highlight reel for him/her.
When I record a football match, I watch it through my viewfinder or monitor. I never take my eyes off the game, that way whatever I see I record!
It's definitely a skill that needs to be honed and developed, but with practice you will soon get used to knowing exactly how much you should zoom in and out.
Just ask yourself - "is this how it would look on TV?"
How much of the play have you got in your shot?
You don't want to zoom in too much that you get footage of the player having a shot but you miss the ball hitting the back of the net!
But at the same time, you don't want to be zoomed out so far that you can barely see the action!
Remember, anything around the penalty area, about 50% zoom should be just about right!
I have recently started filming my football matches at 60fps, and in HD (1920x1080).
The reason for this is that I create match highlights videos so I include slow motion goal replays.
By filming in a higher frame rate, it makes the footage look much smoother when slowed down.
However, not all cameras film in this frame rate, and filming in 24fps is fine, as is 30fps.
Just remember, if you are manually setting your camcorder up, make sure that your shutter speed is set to double that of your frame rate.
So, for example, when I film at 60 frames per second, I set my shutter speed to 120.
When I record at 30 frames per second, I set my shutter speed to 60.
There are other settings that you can alter, such as Iris, Gain, etc, but when filming my matches I usually leave the rest to auto, including autofocus.
Many videographers will disagree with that, but during a game it is impossible for me to alter the settings because of the equipment I use (I will talk about that in a future post!), so I need a one-size fits all kind of approach!
If I was shooting a commercial video, I would pay more attention to detail with regards to settings, but when I am filming a football match in changing light and changing conditions, I prefer to let the camera to do the work for me!
So, there you have it! That's how to film an amateur or non league football match!
It's not as complicated as some people think! And you don't need state of the art equipment!
You could even film matches on your phone, if you had a tripod and a battery that would last for 90 minutes!
I will be uploading more articles in the coming weeks, explaining exactly how I have overcame my "people getting in the way of my footage" problem!
So don't miss that if you are looking for a way to not only film your team's matches, but take your videos to the next level!
You may not be a professional videographer, but you can produce professional content!