Team Videographers??

I’m just curious if your team has anyone who films any of the events your team participates in (like regionals, finals, …) and puts together [so they don’t end up as 9 1.5hr tapes of raw footage :smiley: ].

Last year, I regretably started late, filming only our trip to Houston. I say regretably because I didn’t have any build material for sponsorship videos. As a result I’m starting early this year, in an attempt to cover everything (Hobby Show demonstration, Kick-Off, Regional, Finals hopefully, and everything in between).

Our team’s trip to Houston boiled down to a only 1h07m :smiley: .

I’d like to know if anyone else has put together anything for thier team in years previous, what equipment they’ve used, whether they found the video break-boxes in Houston useful and so on.

My setup is a Sony D8 camera, 2.2GHz 512MB Sony Vaio with FireWire 400 running Adobe Premiere 6.5. It’ll be usefull for editing on the bus ride back.


something we found to be very usefull is to have someone record our matches with a camcorder, staying zoomed tight on our bot

then after the match we can review the tape in the pit (we brought a 10" LCD monitor)

this allowed us to see things that you dont notice during the matches, and things the drivers cant see from where they are

for example, last year by carefully watching the tapes we noticed our ‘flying squirrel’ was folding back when it hit the wall, so it wasnt taking out as many stacks of bins as it could have

in engineering, data is everything - if you can play back each match, in slowmo if necessary, you can see exactly what your bot was doing.

Ha! Finally a topic that I can truly relate to! I’m the video-chick on our team, (also known as the paparazzi). I take video from kickoff all the way until the end of the season, and even of some of our off season events (if they let me get my hands on the camera!) I take video of the build season events (and trust me, with our team, there’s always something to take video of, even if it’s of Rob, picking his nose…) during the build season, of our matches and sometimes the matches of our next competitors and partners during the regional season, and of basically every random thing at the championship event (including rather attractive boys on some of the other teams…).

From there, I give my footage to Chris, the other senior in our Chairman’s group, who puts it on the video machines and edits it. (and yes, normally takes out the cute boy footage) When we’re done, we put the weekly footage on a local tv station during our alloted time so that the community can see it. Also, we make an end of the year video to show at the banquet, where our parents get to see some of the, shall we call them, amusing things that we do during the season.

As to the equiptment that I use, I’m not actually sure other than that Chris normally edits his video on a Casablanca editing machine. I have truly never looked to see what type of camera I use. We typically just take our video with the camera in my hand so I can do, interesting shots…

hi, i was waiting for someone to post something like this =) getting to know all the other videographers on other teams is a great idea… i started very late last season with W. Michigan regional, but managed to pull something together in pinnacle studio for a promotional video that was okay, but definitely not what im capable of. i was more doing it as a home video type project, but then one of the teachers recommended it as a good tool. If anyone has been to CR, the promotional videos done in the middle of the comps are an excellent source of ideas.

this year im trying to see what im able to with a copy of adobe priemere… it would be nice if somewhere down the line we could get a copy of that software or possibly FinalCut Pro (mac’s) as the animation teams do for 3DSTUDIO etc…

btw, what kind of equipment are you operating on? ive got a jvc handheld, thats no where near professional, and going onto about 3 years old but at the very least it handles mini-dv formats and does decent footage.

A few of the people on my team including my self do the video ography for a lot of our robotics stuff. I would of attached a sample movie but the attachment feature is foo bared.

As for what equipment we use here it goes…
Canon XL1
Canon GL1 or GL2
Sony PD-150

Apple G4 - Dual 500 MHz OS 10.2

Final Cut Pro 3

wow… im jealous =P. i think we are probably going to see a wide spectrum of the number of teams that do do the editing, some may use a more home-based approach like me, or may choose to try it out at school (another option im thinking off, with the final cut option) the only problem being i wouldnt be able to work on it at all hours…hehe

Hah… I feel just like all of you guys- been waiting for this. our team is big, and i mean BIG on video. we tape every event we partcipitate in… Our ‘video cabinet’, as we call it, is swollen from a insane amount of mini-dv tapes… we really didn’t use the break boxes at houston, just taped our own matches and pit events

basically, how we do it is: we have our own sony mini-dv camcorder as well as an assortment of sony still cameras. our school’s tv lab teacher is really motivated, and after a long struggle with the school board got enough budget to buy 4 new vaios, so we do most of our editing at the tv lab… recently we’ve been making dvds to distribute to sponsors, its a really cool way to sell yourself…

We do something similar, covering important pre-/post- season activities along with all of build season and competitions (well, as much as our videographer last year was around for). This was then editted into a few versions: a short “video-brochure” for drop-in fundraising use, an hour-long documentary for possible broadcasting (our video from last season will actually get broadcast on local cable at the end of this month, finally), and a much more informal archive for intra-team purposes (including all the stuff unfitting for public display, for whatever reason).

Last year, we had one very busy guy who couldn’t attend a lot do all the filming on his Canon ZR-something (40 i think). He editted on his iMac with iMovie (sounds amateur, but it was surprisingly well done). This year, we may have up to 3 camera people running, which should get us a wider variety and coverage of shots to work with. We also might switch to Premiere/Final Cut, depending on availability and whether we learn enough to use it, though we haven’t yet hit the point where we feel we need the high-end software.

i have been taking video for my team for the past three years, and i have not found the break-boxes to be very useful. i prefer to take the video myself, that way i can zoom in on our bot. each year i put together a little montage using iMovie, but this year i am trying to learn final cut pro. i have also put together a short video to show to prospective mentors/sponsors, and to possibly show on public access tv. last year, after every match, our drivers and programers would meet to watch the video and see what could be improved for our next match. this was especially hepful since we were still fixing our autonomous mode at the competition.

We had a videoographer at Phoenix, he also did interviews, and just got finished with a 2 min promo. video. Our old VCR messed up the tracking, we have to get another one. It only showed me one thing, lol, how much of a dork I am.

This year my friend Vernn and I plan to tape a lot, not really for the team, for our own entertainment. LOL, we just watched the stuff we taped last year, yup, good times.

Wow. I left to get my skates sharpened and already theres 6 replys!

This year I’m thinking of putting together several pieces:

1 / 2 / 5 minute promotional segements.
–one set for sponsors, one for students
30 minute segement for the regional.
30 minute segement for the final.
1 hour movie of the entire season.

I was thinking of burning them onto DVDs (and perhaps selling the 1 hour movie as part of a fundraiser). Our school has a G4 lab with DVD-burns and OSX. I don’t have much fimiliarity with DVD authoring software, and I’m looking for suggestions [software and composing the DVD]. iDVD is free although I’m asumming thee will be as much flexibility as in iMovie [close to zero].

A VERY valuable lesson I learned in the days following our team’s trip to Houston was to log everything. Right there and then. I had spent the following week trying to log everything, that otherwise would have taken me an additional moment when filming.

I had filmed all of our heats, and the Curie final heats [to know what our team had to live up to next season]. Although we weren’t able to screen it in the pits, it still gave us a valuable tool use in analyzing our strategy and driving.

For filming matches, tight shots are definatley the way to go, but showing more of the field at times allows the viewer to see what the robot is responding to. The stands are the best place to film from, because by zooming out you’ll get a nice panaramic bird’s eye view of the field.

Something to keep inmind for the kick-off/regional/final: The breakboxes had XLR audio out and S-video out *.

BTW, if your team has and footage online, post a link.*

In the past, many of our matches have been recorded with a standard digital camera by our advisor. This year, however, two dedicated rookies seem to have fallen into the role of videographers, working hard at various off-season competitions. In the past, review of previous matches has proved a useful tool.

Its really great in my mind to see all this feedback coming in about videographers =) its always funny to see a random person moving about when everyone else is around doing work or at the field buzzing about with a camera making sure stuff gets documented. That’s not to say we dont do work with robots, but this is really rewarding too.

just a thought, does anyone here plan out sequences and shots? im talking about making a storyboard with the specific purpose in mind of creating a promo video that has a set structure and what not, or do you take a lot of source footage and then gradually edit it down when the time is right. Basically do you plan out exactly what kind of shots you want to take? or do you play it by ear most of the time. like i menitoned above, last year for us was pretty haphazard, but im looking forward to doing a much better job this year.

also just wondering how much leeway did the schools give you with usage of the media labs? i know im usually able to come in before/lunch/after school. but im not sure exactly when the time would be. im debating between whether or not to try and finish everything at home or to use the school’s facilities. two different formats (priemere or final/imovie)

DVD’s are a neat idea, hope to see it work out!

Not to create any more of a stirup but our schools Digital Media program is one of top in the nation. Also the listed equipment earlier is just a small chunk of what we have.

take a look at our stuff

In 2002 we attempted to assign a couple of students as ‘videoist’. It didn’t flow as nice as we had wished because there was just too much material to go over. Throughout the 8 competitions I drove in, my parents recorded our matches, and several times at longer competitions, it was nice to review the footage so we could recall a certain teams’ capabilities.
I would recommend it to any team to try and have at least one match recorded of each team. That way if you have to work on alliance selections, you can at least see a visual of the team, and hopefully their ‘appendages’ were working during the recorded match.

Specific shots (Houston trip):

-I synced the introduction to Come With Us by Chemical Brothers. This segment introduced the entire team and showed shots of our bus ride (from Toronto to Houston). I attempted to do what Kar Wai Wong did in his short entitled The Follow ( The music was the foreground and the image was the background. All the sped up highway and Houston shots were syncrinized to the the drum beat in the song. I used a similar sequence as was used in Snatch [where Turkish is jumping down a flight of stairs with his booty goods], for introducing every team member who went. The song had keyboard rises onto which I put about 3 seconds of 2.5x real time footage of the member, followed by a 5 second freeze frame with thier name. Making 13 such sequences was quite tedious.

-The ending of the song was a very brisk drum beat, to which I flashed 77 freeze frames of Houston. Each picture was displayed for 6 frames.

-I gave an introduction to the venues by showing a series of panaramic shots.
Astrodome: I filmed the lineup on the first day (walking back from the fron of the line to where our team was standing), the crowd flooding into the stadium (camera was sitting on my raised hand and I used the viewfinder to see what I was doing), and a general shot of the venue from ontop of our crate.
Reliant Stadium: Just before the closing ceremonies, I had climbed up to the restricted 3rd level seats to get a nice shot of the 20000+ kids attending.

-Between each section I had faded to black and let an orange text string scroll by slowly from the middle of the screen to the left side of the screen. (our school colours are black, white and orange).

-I filmed all of our matches from the level on which the walkway was. This gave me a nice unobstructed view of the entire field.

This is what I have in mind for a promo video:

  1. Shots of the build sessions (ones showing planning, teamwork, safety and operation of complex machinery)
  2. Panaramic shots of the venue showing the size, the amount of people and sponsor’s banners.
  3. Clips from our successful matches and any neat driving that we’ve done.

I’m stuck on making a catchy intro. Within the first 10 seconds I want the viewer to know what the team does. Following the presentation I want the viewer to be excited about our team and achievements, and answer who, what, where, how, why and when. Any suggestions?

Below are shots from Reliant that show where I was filming from:



Macs kick-butt in video editing. I use an old 500mzh Dual USB iBook with iMovie to edit. It’s slow but good. Also, the new version of Final Cut Express is out now, so go get it! It’s like the stepping stone between iMovie and Final Cut Pro.

We will be throwing together a DVD this year with iDVD and iMovie. I’m seeing if we can create our own themes in iDVD, but if not, expect a brushed metal look! For iDVD, we will be using a new Al PowerBook 15" 1.25ghz with SuperDrive.

Mike T. is our big video guy on 384. He did our video last year that we showed at Houston on our little iBook hooked with speakers. I will also be doing some stuff this year.

I have to say, I prefer macs for video editing, it seems to be the only thing worth doing on a mac… :slight_smile: no offense anyone. I’m on the same team as jake, several posts above. for the past few years i’ve found that having more than one videographer on a team really helps the process. if you missed something, got a different angle, had part of your tape taped over…it helps to have a backup/alternative.

as for making the videos, it can be a bit confusing, especially if you use any program more difficult than imovie. :ahh: good move using premiere, it can be very useful and advantageous to utilize a program with advanced features, like final cut pro.

another good move in starting at or before kickoff. there is so much material you can use if you just pick up a camera and start shooting. you never know when you’re going to need a random shot of dean talking from a segway. :smiley: another idea would be to get stock shots of people welding, grinding, sawing, machining, manufacturing, (videotaping), animating, anything that your team does.

when you go to produce your final movie, work from an overall theme. whether it’s by chronology (build phase, regional, national) or by section (manufacturing, electronics, drive team) or anything else, it’s a better idea to have a theme than a bunch of random shots thrown together. another helpful idea: use music! it’s fun.

well that’s about all i can contribute for now. i wish you all well in your video-oriented endeavours.

(i think there should be a video competition…) :wink: :smiley:

I don’t really plan what kinds of shots I want before shooting, mostly because I don’t know how the matches are going to play out. I try to get as much video as I can of our robot doing everything it can. Afterwards I log it all and rate each shot. After I know what I have for clips, I use a storyboard, well Jeremy does the storyboarding, to plan out the video. I organize it into sections and set each one to music. As for video labs, we do most of our work on our team’s iMac. But when we need to do animations or when the website team needs the iMac our teacher lets us into the video lab.

about iDVD, you CAN make your own themes!!! :smiley: :smiley: go to custom under themes, and you can import your own background, choose the font, etc. the only disappointing thing about iDVD is that you can’t put a video or anything before the opening menus.

we’re producing a dvd that has video and pictures from the last three years of competition. the layout is something like
Video (all videos are montages)
Video 1
Video 2
Regionals Pix
Nationals Pix
Video 1
Video 2
Regionals Pix
Nationals Pix
Highlights Video (this is the one we’re playing on public access tv here to try to get people aware of robotics. it’s basically about first, with some stuff about our team in the end.)

hope this was helpful. :slight_smile: