6 Tips to Capture Awesome Race Videos of Your Star Swimmer

So, you think your child, or athlete, is about to do something special at their meet, and you want to get it on video, perhaps post to YouTube so that others can revel in the glory, or on special occasion, maybe even send it to SwimSwam?

We’d love nothing more – nothing beats more swimming videos on the internet. Below are 6 tips from SwimSwam’s professional videographers about how to capture the perfect race footage:

  1. Hold your camera SIDEWAYS (landscape) – swimming is horizontal, this will capture more of the ‘good stuff.’ This is a general rule-of-thumb for anything you plan to put on the internet. Graphically, the internet operates mostly in the horizontal.
  2. Don’t zoom in and out. Pick a good zoom that captures your swimmer and leave it. If it’s just for personal use, feel free to zoom right in on your swimmer. But, that takes a lot more work and camera movement to keep them in the frame. Best bet – stay zoomed out, show some context. Less movement of the camera allows for better post-race analysis, too, if that’s one purpose of the video.
  3. Don’t cut to the scoreboard during the race. In the age of the internet, it’s very easy to get results online, and either edit in that context later, or simply add it to the video description (including splits). Really, don’t cut to the scoreboard after too – you only get one chance to catch that moment of jubilation after a big swim. The scoreboard results will be available forever.
  4. When uploading, upload through either a reliable LTE cellular connection, WiFi connection, or better yet – through a hard-wire to your computer. That keeps you from losing quality. With so many people logged on, it’s hard to get good service at a pool – that’s why your quick-action, direct-to-YouTube (or email) upload usually comes out so poorly.
  5. Cheering is great, but if you can sacrifice that, you’ll come up with a better video quality. Cheering causes you to move the camera, reducing video quality! This brings up a bigger point – your camera has sound. Be careful of what you say…:-)
  6. Find an anchor point. Even if you don’t have a tripod/monopod (and many facilities don’t allow spectators to use these), try to anchor your camera/phone (or your elbows) on something stable. Worst case: anchor your elbows to your chest (if standing) or knees (if sitting). Turn the camera by turning your whole body, not just your arms. That will get a smoother video.

Look out Steven Spielberg – armed with these tips, you’re going to be unstoppable in capturing award-worthy memories of your child’s big swim.

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1 year ago

5A. Get someone else to film your child (in landscape) while you actually get to watch.

Reply to  coacherik
4 months ago

But not your wife, because she will film the wrong swimmer. Repeatedly. To the point of absurdity, really.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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