What Is the Optimal Height for Recording Soccer Games?

Recording soccer games using a tripod to capture an elevated angle is critical to getting the best game film.

by Charles LaCalle

Charles works with Trace to educate teams and parents on using video effectively for player development and recruiting.

Recording soccer games with a tripod at an elevated position is fundamental for game film analysis. Tripods on the soccer pitch are critical to getting the wide shots that allow players and coaches to keep as many players in the frame as possible in order to provide the necessary context of what’s happening on the field. 

But if cameras are too high, the tower will lose stability and sway in high winds (not to mention that the players could look like ants on the field). If cameras are too low, you might be able to capture great game film of individual moments, but the footage will lack the context required for coaching or college recruiting. Also, you’ll find that most of the moments in the source of action are blocked by other players on the field when filmed at eye-level. 

Trace Soccer Camera Tripod on Field

“The primary purpose of using a tripod to film at an elevated angle is to keep as many players in frame as possible. Many make the mistake of concentrating too much on a small area of the field which provides a very limited context or view of the game.  A transitional game like soccer requires as much of a complete picture of the field as possible since that is where the action will be.”

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Why Using a Tripod To Film Soccer Games Is Critical

  • Elevated cameras eliminate the problems associated with eye-level game film, including players blocking the action on the field or spectators walking in front of the camera while filming is happening. 
  • Higher cameras (up to around 16 feet) allow for better angles. As any professional videographer knows, higher angles create bolder perspectives and allow for more background in the shot. 
  • An elevated position allows the viewer to understand spacing and distance. These are critical for understanding the context of the plays happening on the field, which enables coaches to give better feedback to their players after the game has ended.   
  • Elevated cameras on tripods allow soccer coaches, players, and parents to see the buildup as it happens in real-time. 
  • If you’re considering using the video for college soccer recruiting, you must film at an elevated position. College coaches want to see wide shots with approximately ¼ or ⅓ of the field at any given time in a recording to get context about what is happening and to understand a player’s decision-making, leadership, reaction time, and other factors. 
  • An elevated position enables spatial and positional awareness. It allows the viewer to see a team’s shape and players’ placement in relation to each other. With an elevated camera, players get a larger vantage of the entire field so they can analyze their performance and placement even though the players are not at the center of the action. Positioning is critical in soccer, so camera elevation must allow you to capture large swaths of the pitch.

Trace Radar View

An elevated viewpoint is so critical to competitive teams and top soccer clubs that Trace has integrated “Radar View” into its product. For many teams, positional awareness is a key part of coaching, and the Radar View, enabled by Trace’s highly accurate GPS trackers, gives coaches a tool for explaining formations to players. (Learn more about Radar View here).

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What is the Optimal Height for Filming Soccer Games? 

Through rigorous testing and after filming tens of thousands of hours of soccer games, we have found that the optimal height is 16 feet. Tripods that are higher than 16 feet do not deliver significantly better results or better angles, and higher tripods tend to be less stable. 

We recommend that the Trace tripod be set up in the center of the field and about  4 to 5 steps from the midfield line. To ensure safety, tripods should be loaded with 3 sandbags. 

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