How I Became a Youth Ice Hockey Videographer

I suspect it is not uncommon for somebody technically minded to volunteer to do something only to find themselves realizing, “ok, well, now I need to figure out how to do that” simply because they were looking for a challenge. I decided to start recording video from my son’s ice hockey games as the team videographer. I have no prior experience doing any video editing or filming of anything let alone sports, but professionally I do know how to write software even if I’m an amateur when it comes to media.

What I have observed is that parents like to be able to see their son or daughter score a goal or make a key save. Coaches like to review video and find teachable moments and lessons on teamwork. Individual players want to perform at higher and higher levels on their way to their dreams of the NHL so want to review video just like the pros to refine their own techniques and results.

“Get in the fast lane grandma, the bingo game’s ready to roll!” — Mike Lange

My goal is not to become a professional video editor or sports analyst. I want to help the parents, coaches, and players get what they want but without spending all of my free time doing it. I want to automate, hack and take short-cuts, derive insights and still come out with something useful and professional looking with as little effort as is necessary. Larry Wall, creator of the Perl programming language, defined the Three Virtues of a great programmer which includes laziness, a quality that makes you go through great lengths to not do work later by spending even more energy up front writing programs to save labor in the long run.

There are challenges and solutions which I’ll be releasing over the course of the 2019–2020 PeeWee (12 and under) season. Broadly these lessons fall into the categories of:

  • Capture — the decisions for equipment needed to capture raw audio and video from multiple locations
  • Editing — telling the story of the event when not everything captured is useful or re-assembled from various perspectives
  • Storage — planning for storing and archiving media
  • Analysis — identifying what happened and when through a combination of video and audio analysis combined with scoresheets
  • Delivery — how to get the results efficiently to the audience and stakeholders

While I’m part of an ice hockey family, there are similar communities that can benefit from similar approaches with football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, etc.

The pre-season has wrapped up so now it’s time to put it all in practice. The questions I’ll be answering include:

  • What equipment should I use to capture ice hockey footage?
  • What are the ideal settings in terms of quality and frames per second?
  • How to get the data from multiple camera sources loaded?
  • How to manage local or cloud media file storage?
  • Which settings and codecs can I use to transcode for efficient use of space and quality?
  • How to synchronize multiple video feeds in a timeline?
  • What can I do to improve the audio of the media to sound more like sports broadcasts?
  • How to cut between cameras depending on where the action in the scene is?
  • How to identify scenes within the game such as goals, penalties, or stoppages in play?
  • Which editing software should I use? How to use iMovie, DaVinci, Avid, Adobe, or something else?
  • How to pan / zoom cameras remotely?
  • How to do privacy blurring and remove identifiable information of a minor or somebody that did not agree to audio or video?
  • Is it possible to automate the insertion of titles, transitions, and backgrounds?
  • How to identify events like passes or shots and the players within the frame?
  • How to use streaming or other broadcast media platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, and Mixer to share with fans and family that can’t make it to the game live?
  • What are the career paths and resources for somebody that really does want to become a videographer?
  • How to insert slow motion replays for key moments?
  • Are there tricks to make animated GIFs or highlight videos with slices of the game such as following a specific player?
  • Can I just buy a solution or is it worth building this on my own?

It’s a long season, so to find these answers, I’ll post updates on Twitter where you can find me as @jaysondelancey. It’s an exploration with a mix of the technical and creative aspects while also bringing in some experts along the way to share tips & tricks of those that do this professionally as a career.

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Manage Developer Relations @Dolby; Maker at Robot Garden; Previously HERE, GE, Rackspace, DreamWorks Animation, MathWorks, Carnegie Mellon

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Jayson DeLancey

Jayson DeLancey

Manage Developer Relations @Dolby; Maker at Robot Garden; Previously HERE, GE, Rackspace, DreamWorks Animation, MathWorks, Carnegie Mellon

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