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How wide is it possible to shoot video?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I'd like to shoot video of my kids' sports teams in action and I'm wondering how wide it's possible to shoot. Do video cameras exist that can get the entire width of, say, a soccer field without having to set the camera far back from the field? Ideally I'd be shooting while standing on the field and could get all the action across the width of the field.

Hope this is making sense. For example, let's say two teams are lined up for the kickoff. I'd be standing right behind the circle at the center of the field. For this example, let's assume that the team whose side I'm on wins the kickoff and the ball moves into play in front of me. How much action could I capture in terms of the width of the field and all the players on it?

Thanks so much for any help on this.
post #2 of 10
I'm not sure what you mean by "standing right behind the circle", but the answer is probably no.

A full 180 degree view is called "fish eye" and, as its name suggests there is some distortion.

Consumer priced camcorders have zoom lenses. Some have optional adapters to make the wide setting wider, but not enough if you are near the sideline.

The widest view in a common camcorder is probably the GoPro, so you might look at that. It is wide because it is made to be worn or mounted and not precisely aimed.

The only way to get full 180 degree viewing fields on video that I can think of is with a camera where you can change lenses, like a DSLR and mount a "fish eye" lens on it.

If you stand back far enough to get a common consumer camera or camcorder to work, the people on the sidelines will be in the way. I've seen people use long poles with their camera mounted on top just to get a unique perspective. If I really wanted the shot your after, I would use my camera to find out how far back I would need to stand with it set at its widest view. Then I would attach it to a ten foot piece of plastic pipe, start the recording and hold it up so it shoots over the crowd.

post #3 of 10
I use a 6.5mm Opteka fisheye on my APS-C cameras and 15mm F2.8 Sigma full frame fisheye on my full frame Sony NEX-VG900. Back in 2009 I shot a few videos with my Pentax K-7 with 6.5mm fisheye mounted on my Kawasaki ZX-11 motorcycle.

Also back then I tested the combo on my mountain bike.

Edited by jogiba - 2/6/13 at 10:50am
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
bsprague: Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I meant that I'd like to be standing near midfield right behind the team as they moved forward after the kickoff and was hoping to avoid the fish eye effect. The GoPro looks intriguing- I just checked out some Youtube videos and the wide angle looks decent- not quite 180 but not too bad. My buddy's got one and we're going to give it a test drive on the field.

jojiba: I appreciate the feedback. Nice videos too. There's some fish eye but not too bad. I'm going to look into the cameras and lenses you mentioned and see if I can learn anything.
post #5 of 10
All the GoPros have a fisheye lens. The different GoPro modes provide selective crops of the fisheye, but it doesn't change the fact that you are shooting through a fisheye lens and resolution will be low.

For the best wide angle shots, I'd recommend the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 on a micro 4/3rds body, like the GH1/GH2/GH3. It has a 114 degree field of view at 7mm. That will give you about as wide an angle as is possible without the fisheye distortion, more twice the field of view of a typical camcorder. The combination is more expensive than the GoPro, but the video quality will be greatly superior to anything you can get from any of the GoPros, including the Hero3 Black Edition.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the clarification, hatchback. I looked a few videos of the GH3 and wow- just stunning wide angle shots:


Might be out of my price range right now but maybe down the line. And the 7-14mm seems like what I'm looking for.

Much appreciated to all!
post #7 of 10
Do you already have an interchangeable lens camera that can shoot video? If so there may be a suitable wide angle lens you can use on that camera. For example, the Tokina 11-16mm is great for an APS-C sensor, and the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 is great for any Nikon full frame body (eg., D4, D800, D600).
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've only got a basic camcorder but I'm looking into getting a new one. Just trying to figure out how to fit it into the budget. Thanks hatchback.
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by bluezephyr View Post

I've only got a basic camcorder but I'm looking into getting a new one. Just trying to figure out how to fit it into the budget. Thanks hatchback.
Then I'd recommend you give up on the ultra wide angle footage and just get another camcorder, like the new Panasonic X920M. Playing around with multiple lenses and an interchangeable lens camera is a full time job, and it's just as easy to end up with crappy footage as excellent footage if you're not careful and don't practice a lot. Using a dedicated camcorder will give you the best results with the least hassle. So unless you intend to make a career out of if, or at least a serious hobby, go with the dedicated camcorder.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion. I am intending to pursue this as a serious hobby, and my wife will have some business use for it as well. I'll continue researching and exploring all options. Your input is much appreciated.
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