Photography & Video In Sport Journal
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
Sport has evolved into a slick, professional output that has all social media at its forefront for supporters to get information, this includes matchdays squads, breaking news announcements or ticket updates. Over the 10 weeks in class, we have had our learning cut down into these sections:
Week 1 - Introduction to Photography and Video
Week 2 – Introduction to motion graphics using Premiere and After Effects
Week 3 – Chroma Keying & Montage design in Photoshop
Week 4 – Motion Graphics & Design in Premiere
Week 5 – Animating in-game graphics for social media
Week 6 – Puppet tool workshop
Week 7 – Student guided study, Skater editing
Week 8 – Motion Graphic Templates
Week 9 – Audio editing in Premiere, Tracking in After Effects
Week 10 – Flash Box tutorial
Along with this guided tuition, we have been advised to do additional research on YouTube, Instagram and anywhere else we can think of to help with all aspects of photography and video in sports with the end goal of producing a documentary on a subject of our choosing.
Week 1 - Introduction to Photography and Video
We all see the images and videos posted on social media by all sports, mainly football and rugby will be discussed in this journal but research further into the module will include other sports. In class, we discussed how to use Hacks when making graphics, this was just to show how easy it can be to make something very quickly on iPhones using pages. These were very simple but effective graphics, one thing we were told to do from the start was work smart.
The key to greater productivity and bigger results is to work
smarter, not harder. Learning to work smarter, not harder
can improve your productivity and performance. Working
smarter helps you increase focus and work more effectively
on your most important projects. (Swart, 2021)
We looked at what we would be producing over the next 12 weeks and the end goal of having good content to show our placements if involved with a team that could use our designs. The main objective of this first week was to make us aware of what would be needed to do in making the best use of our time, including finding documentaries that we could showcase and tasks in our own time classed as homework, along with an extensive list of people or companies to follow or research for an industry-standard insight on how to do the simple things like staged photos. The main aspects discussed in class were to make sure the light, pose, and position was correct, and that the picture fits the narrative of the story, something that we had discussed in the previous year but delving into more detail this time around.
This picture is fantastic. The use of very simple lighting has shown Simone Biles in her gymnastic uniform against a plain background but standing out and making. statement. This had to be a picture that fits with the story about her withdrawing from the Olympics and at the same time making a statement about her as a professional athlete. This was an example of what to look for from our lecturer.
In the first year, we were asked to follow people on Instagram. I was looking for interesting people within a wide range of sports, and Vahine Fierro was someone I found through following another photographer covering the surfing. This is a promotional shot for promoting the swimwear by Roxy but they have left the fun element in this to show the natural side of the models being used. For the brand, it also gives people a look at how they could feel when wearing the product being shown.
Deliberate pose in front of The Clock End at the Emirates stadium to signal the contract extensions of the men's and women's managers at Arsenal. Both wearing identical kits with branding very clearly on display, club badges in view along with Arteta and Eidevall doing a very signature football pose of crossing the arms.
Another great picture using macro lighting, in a tunnel which would have been very dark. Dan Vojtech has asked Alex Choupenitch to look away from the camera with his foil placed on the nearest shoulder and his Olympic badge on display. You can see the light reflecting from the far end of the tunnel which shows there was a natural light source but they have moved away from that to make sure the additional lighting is used for the different aspects of the athlete's uniform.
I've followed Red Bull Photography since starting my sports journalism course in 2020 and they always produce some really good pictures. This is a great example of a very simple action providing a thought-provoking picture. You can't see the person's face, that's not the aim of this photo, but you know they are either a gymnast or a climber. Parallel bars or wall climbing? Then the description gives away what they do.
This is a picture that my daughter loves as she's just started getting involved in gymnastics and likes all the content produced by the University of Michigan Gymnastics squad. Again the use of lighting benefits the focal point of the picture with the background being simple and not taking your eye away from the subject.
We were also set a video task calling it “The Game”. It was totally up to us as to what we wanted to but it was to be creative and not show anyone until the next lecture.
With the role of this journal to show all possible learning outcomes and the way we got to those ideas; we watched a video called ‘Claressa’. Made about Claressa “t-Rex” Shields, the first woman to ever win the gold medal in Olympic boxing. Whilst watching we had a series of questions to ask ourselves, these would be questions that we could use to break down every documentary or short film we watched in the future.
Week 2 – Hacks and Keyframing
“Any procedure or action that solves a problem,
simplifies a task, reduces frustration, etc,
in one's everyday life” (Collinsdictionary.com, 2019)
Being a sports journalist, you have to be prepared to think on your feet and develop ideas quickly, and in some instances, get content out on social media within seconds. Goals scored, substitutions, and any other breaking information during a football match has to be quick, informative and well made. Using our phones, we were asked to use Keynote, Apple's version of Microsoft PowerPoint. This might have been called a hack tutorial but it has shown how easy it can be to create this kind of content, perfect for all of us looking to be involved in a media team or reporting on live games.
Week 3 – Montages in Photoshop and Chroma Keying
This was the first week that I had to play catch up and find out what happened the following week, I used the learning materials tab to look at videos linked to the example. From those examples I also found some other interesting videos explaining what mistakes not to make and if you do, how to work around any issues.
Week 4 - Motion Graphics & Design in Premiere
Premiere Pro had always been something I had a very basic knowledge of, it was used for making club promotional videos and more often than not, they were simple marketing videos that the company already had a template for, I was asked to modify the design and update them.
This was the first chance I had to put anything I had learned previously into practice with Premiere Pro. I also got to have a go at doing some green screen practicals as I had missed out the week before.
A vital skill for another module where we had to produce pictures to be posted with a brand new podcast that promoted the BA Sports Journalism course. It wouldn’t be in video format but this was, again, the first time that I had experienced using any type of green screen, so it was a very positive part of the module for me.
Motion graphics have become a big part of every sports production whether it’s live on TV or on social media, on-screen graphics can be changed in an instant, being prepared for this with keeping in with the branding would be hard. One thing I found from watching a few videos and going through them briefly in the lecture is that the simple things are often the most effective. You don’t need to be overly fancy with all the different filters, transitions and colour changes you can make, it just needs to be used in the right way.
In learning materials for this week's lecture, we also had a workshop to enrol on for extra tuition.
This course has taken me around 15 days currently and given me a great background and understanding of motion graphics to go alongside everything we had been taught in lectures, and one of the most important lessons was going out and doing more research or learning off your own back. I will be finishing the course as soon as I get the chance.
With us being 4 weeks into our module, we had been given more tasks to complete and understand that simple action can make a video look as if it’s had endless hours are taken to make it, one of the effects we learnt about was Ken Burns.
The Ken Burns effect is a film and video editing
technique that creates motion from static images.
Named for American documentarian Ken Burns,
it involves panning and slow zooming over still
images such as photographs and archival documents.
Using simple camera techniques like the slow pan,
the close-up, and the zoom, Burns produces energy in
his documentary films that rivals that of narrative
motion pictures. (MasterClass, 2020)
The task set out for this tutorial was to recreate a video produced for the Boston Red Sox winning the world series in 2018. Simple effects make pictures come to life and draw you into the story
This is another great example of using the Ken Burns effect with still images and creating stand out content. The new name reveal for the Washington Commanders after changing from the Red Skins.
Week 5 – Animating in-game graphics for social media
After Effects, the scary software package that uses keyframes, and tracking, just looks very confusing with everything that you could do with it, but, and it’s a big but, when broken down into little pieces it was a lot easier than everyone thought. This week was all about learning how the different parts of the software would benefit us in a professional environment, in this case producing social media graphics for a football or rugby team, preferable one that we were on placement with.
One video we had been asked to watch was by TipTut with an Intro to Motion Graphics which went over the basics we would need to produce professional work for this module.
This was only the first of 4 videos in this introduction and again the emphasis was on us to use our initiative and watch more tutorials, and after watching this and looking into the other videos produced by RoyFX and Ben Marriott
Our first task and putting these new skills into place was to remake the Merthyr Tydfil logo reveal with the steps being explained in a class by Andy
There are a variety of websites that produce pre-made editable content for in-game graphics, such as Motion Array and Envato. These are great places to get ideas for how you want your work to look and develop ideas without paying for the videos. They also supply free content via email which can often be transitions, video holding templates or text graphics.
In the past, I have used both Motion Array and Envato to create visual content for nightclubs and bars I’ve worked in or to promote events that they have on, with what I’ve learned just from this session alone I will try to make my own from now on but use these as a starting block for how I want them to look.
Along with the video tutorials, this explained again how easy movements and transitions within After Effects would make the simple things look like they’ve taken ages and stand out on a club's social media channels, something that I had often moaned about whilst following my team, a little effort and planning can make everything easier and create great content. This will be something I will take into consideration when making my motion graphics for submission later in the module.
Week 6 – Puppet Tools and Other Elements
When the module outline was discussed at the start, this was the week which caught my eye the most when we had a brief description of what we would be doing. The Puppet Tool is used to make a static image look more lifelike and animated, another After Effects tool that is very simple but produces great end products that can be used on social media or websites.
Like most items in After Effects, the Puppet tool helps to make content come alive in a very simplistic but effective way. We got given the task of first making a figure skater move under the instruction and direction of our lecturer, once we had done that, we were asked to work on one of a series of pictures taken from the Winter Olympics.
I chose a snowboarder to manipulate movement-wise mainly because I had never done anything like this before and thought it was more challenging than the other options given to us. I wanted to make sure that I covered more possible problems or stumbling blocks so that I knew the workarounds and ways to correct any errors when using this in the future. This task was set to be completed in class and uploaded to blackboard for everyone to be able to download and see. Below is my first attempt at using the puppet tool.
Professionally made video
I've found that throughout this module so far, the more you try to do the better the end product is. I've also looked at more instructional videos that are linked to the specific subject and I'm subscribed to more YouTube channels than ever before.
Week 7 – Documentary Research
With the final pieces of our module coming together, this week we were asked to do some research regarding our documentaries, these wouldn’t have to be long but looking at 2 minutes on a subject of our choosing. I had set out to do a brief doc on Bristol Rovers 1990 Promotion season as I was working there for my placement and I had access to fans to discuss what they thought. One of the books suggested to us for a bit of inspiration and guidance was Bill Nichols – Introduction to Documentary and just from reading the acknowledgements section, I knew this would have some very valuable lessons and ideas to use for my project.
Firstly, I wanted to set out what kind of documentary I wanted to do, and which mode would suit my story best, and these modes were the fundamentals behind what I would choose, using these as a guideline to keep too. Within this research I would be able to plan out exactly what I needed to shoot, record and source to make the documentary have a clear story, beginning middle and end along with a structure that made sense and did not veer off in a direction that didn’t make sense. If my documentary covered a couple of these modes, at least I would have stuck to some rules even if I got confused along the way. It will be interesting to see if I can match the final project to any mode in particular.
Poetic: Instead of using linear continuity to create a structure, a poetic documentary arranges its shots by means of associations, tone and rhythm.
Often rely on colour, tones, sounds and mood. They are usually associated with avant-garde filmmaking.
Expository: Large emphasis on voice-over commentary, a problem/solution structure, an argumentative logic, and evidentiary editing. This is the mode that most people associate with documentaries in general.
Observational: Direct engagement with the everyday life of subjects as observed by an unobtrusive camera. The filmmaker doesn’t interact with the subjects but only observes them. This example I have decided to highlight as an observational piece is a mockumentary by definition but shows the perfect direct engagement.
Participatory: Interaction between the filmmaker and subject. Filming takes place by a means of interviews or other forms of even more direct involvement, such as conversations or provocations. This mode is often coupled with archival footage to examine historical issues.
Reflexive: Calls attention to the assumptions and conventions that govern documentary filmmaking. This mode increases our awareness of the constructedness of the film's representation of reality.
Performative: Emphasis on the subjective or expressive aspect of the filmmaker's own involvement with a subject; it strives to heighten the audience's responsiveness to this involvement. It rejects notions of objectivity in favour of evocation and effect.
Week 8 – Motion Graphic Templates
"The choreography of graphical elements
over time to convey information" (Crook and Beare, 2016)
We put everything together that we had learnt from weeks 4, 5 & 6 to help us make the Motion Graphics templates (.mogrt). Motion Graphics templates allow a designer working in After Effects to encapsulate a complex After Effects project into a single file with easy-to-use controls that can be customized in Premiere Pro. (Adobe.com, 2021)
This would become part of the assessment regarding the online graphics we had made for our placement teams. Within the .mogrt file, we had to make sure that we had made the different elements editable when they were used again. These could include Font, Text, Colour or Size.
Our ideas that we have had up until now are getting made into proper motion graphics with the help of Andy, our lecturer. At any point, and even away from the lecture, we could contact Andy for guidance or if we had an issue with a certain keyframe not working in the way we thought it should, he would explain what was wrong and help us correct it. This would be vital for me as I had chosen to take on a very animated look for my assessment hand in for this module and to go with what I have mentioned numerous times over this journal, it’s often the simplest thing that can make the biggest impact when used correctly. We had also been told to investigate some more tutorial videos on YouTube by Premiere Gal which had been left in the learning materials on Blackboard. Once I had looked at these I decided to invest some more and found these videos very beneficial.
Will Bartlett - Storyblocks - 2019
Ukramedia - 2019
Week 9 – Audio editing in Premiere, Tracking in After Effects
When I watch Monday Night Football, I’m often blown away by how technology has managed to make it easier for pundits to break down and show different parts of the game, showing player runs and the journey of the ball with a line of light shining on them. This is where we learned how to make that happen ourselves, I thought it would be a lot more complex than it was, but I think that the same throughout this module. I would think that most things were way above my capabilities, but I managed to learn the technique and put it into practice myself with decent results in the end. This would all be great to show future employers when applying for jobs as it would show my diversity within a workplace setting.
Tracking is also something that could be used in analysis after a game, whether it was football, rugby or cricket, to show how a player was making the correct runs, delivering the correct passes or accuracy. There would be better technology used by professional teams, but this could be extremely useful for those that didn’t have access to better equipment.
This was the video we were asked to use tracking with Manchester City vs Barcelona
We went through the different processes and how best to follow either players or objects, I decided to follow the ball with a very simple ‘Ball’ tag as shown in the picture below.
As a class, we discussed different ways to track the ball or players with some deciding to go with a permanent line that would show the movement even when the ball had moved on, I had planned to do follow the ball for the entire video but for the purposes of this journal I have only selected a sample area which shows the tracking in progress.
I also revisited YouTube and Premiere Gal to see if she had any more tutorials on tracking as this is something that could be used for promotional videos for clubs or teams as well.
Week 10 – Flash Box tutorial
This was the final lecture where we would be taught, after the Easter break we had been told we can book tutorials just to go over the documentary and anything else we were having issues with, but for today we would look at using a flash box for taking pictures. This is something that I’ve mentioned in Week 1 when commenting on the pictures I’ve used as examples of portraits and staged shots. This was the first time we had a proper chance to use the flash boxes and we teamed up with the photography students from the first year and started by taking pictures with different settings on the camera and flash box as shown in the gallery below.
As always, I wanted to do some more research on how this could be used in different environments and headed to youTube for more tutorials using different aspects as well as sport. I found the following 3 videos very helpful, even down to the editing side which we had gone over in class with Andy, who had also uploaded the editing video to be viewed whenever we needed it, which I have downloaded for future reference.
Todd Eckelman has locked this video to only be used on YouTube, here is the link for the full video - How to light your sports portraits and take them to the next level.
Prenzlow Photography is another great example of how flash box or lighting can make a picture really ‘pop’, I’ve heard a lot of American tutorials say this.
All of the people I have mentioned above have an extensive catalogue of pictures using this process and they have documented it on YouTube for promotion but I’m also hoping they did it for students like myself so we can learn from what they do. If I ever get the chance to produce work like this on a consistent basis, I will always be looking back on these tutorials, along with Andy’s video as a reference.
Here are some of the videos I've produced using After Effects, Photoshop and Motion Graphic Templates.
I know the numbers aren't correct but the .mogrt file will be updated, these are just to highlight the work being done.
Bristol Rovers Football Club - Video Footage
Keith Brookman - Still Images
1st Take Video - Archive Footage
Adobe.com. (2021). Motion Graphics templates FAQ. [online] Available at: https://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/motion-graphics-faq.html#:~:text=Motion%20Graphics%20templates%20are%20a.
Collinsdictionary.com. (2019). Collins English Dictionary | Definitions, Translations and Pronunciations. [online] Available at: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english.
Crook, I. and Beare, P. (2016). Motion Graphics : Principles and Practices from the Ground up. London ; New York: Fairchild Books.
MasterClass. (2020). How to Use the Ken Burns Effect in a Documentary. [online] Available at: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-the-ken-burns-effect-in-a-documentary#what-is-the-ken-burns-effect [Accessed 15 Mar. 2022].
Swart, J. (2021). 7 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder. [online] Intelligent Placement. Available at: https://www.intelligentplacement.co.za/7-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder/ [Accessed 2 Mar. 2022].