1 – Determine if you actually need to hire a videographer
The first thing to consider is not always the most obvious: you need to decide if you actually need to hire someone for your upcoming sporting event. You should talk to other parents and the coach to make sure other people are not already filming the game themselves or having someone else do it for them. One thing to consider when using other people’s footage is to make sure ahead of time that they are planning to capture the game as you need it to be (see Tip #8).
PRO TIP: You can offer to split the cost of a professional videographer, whether you or another family hire them.
2 – Do more than just one search
Sometimes when searching for something online, what you would type might not be the same as other people. The same is true when a sports videographer is working on keywords for their website. Try searching a few different terms and gathering a list of possible companies to work with from there. Remember the first result isn’t always the best, sometimes it’s just the company with the biggest advertising budget.
PRO TIP: Try searching terms such as sports production companies, sports videography services, sports videography, sports videographer, sports video services, with and without your city name.
3 – Know the Terms
One thing we can tell you after decades of working with videographers- they can be a unique bunch. A great videographer is able to understand what clients are trying to say even when they use the wrong terminology. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Because of this, you want to make sure you are familiar with some basic sports videography terminology to make sure you’re on the same page.
PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify when you are confused. We all would rather be on the same page before starting a project and a great crew will ask the right questions to ensure they understand exactly what you are looking for.
4 – Determine their Primary Focus
You always want to determine what a videographer’s primary focus, or speciality is. At American Sports Memories, all of our sports videographers are sport-focused. This means we schedule soccer videographers for soccer matches and basketball videographers for basketball games. While it is true that some videographers are skilled in covering multiple sports, not everyone is. You need to have someone who knows the ins-and-outs of your sport to create the best coverage that coaches will want to view. Furthermore, a videographer who has experience only filming weddings sometimes isn’t the best option to film a highly competitive lacrosse game – unless they have a runaway bride, they rarely encounter people running at full speed on a day-to-day basis. Do your homework and make sure you feel confident in your videographer’s ability to capture your sport and level of play.
5 – Read Reviews
This may seem obvious but you want to make sure you read reviews online and learn about how others felt working with the videographer. You can also look at testimonials on their website, though these are often their best reviews hand selected. If you cannot find reviews online feel free to ask the videographer for contact information for references. We will clarify that while you can ask for references any time, it does seem like a bit much to do so if you’re looking to have a single game filmed vs a full season.
PRO TIP: Look at their portfolio and identify teams they have worked with so you can email those teams directly and ask about their experience with the videographer.
6 – Look at Their Portfolio
Just as important as reading reviews, looking at their portfolio is a crucial component of selecting your next sports videographer. This will give you insight into their approach to filming sports in general as well as your specific sport. Additionally, just like in Tip #4, this will give you an idea of what their primary focus is. If they mainly have information about wedding or corporate videography on their portfolio, there is a good chance that their focus in sports is secondary.
7 – Balancing Professionalism and Price
The most difficult part of selecting a sports videographer is balancing experience and price for their end product. Today, video cameras are more accessible than ever and this has led to an increase in people declaring themselves to be professional videographers. The old saying, you get what you pay for, holds pretty true in videography. A videographer offering the absolute bottom line may be more willing to take a risk on a project they don’t feel comfortable with because if the client doesn’t end up liking it, it’s not much money to have to refund.
PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on multiple games or for veterans, etc. The worst they can say is no, but oftentimes videographers are willing to work with you to meet in a middleground on project price. This doesn’t mean you should lowball a videographer- value the time they have put in to perfect their craft.
8 – Ensure They Are Able To Tell Your Story
Filming a sporting event is more than pointing a camera at a field or court, and this is especially true when filming to create a recruitment video as the end result. When speaking with potential videographers make sure they understand exactly what you have envisioned for the filming process. This may mean filming half the game in a different location, such as in basketball filming from center court then under their offensive hoop.
9 – Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to educate yourself on the process and to clarify terms you don’t understand. Hiring a videographer is an expense and one that should be taken with great care. Ask to schedule a time to speak with your potential candidate by phone if possible. This is a great way to learn more about their experience with sports videography and how that can help or hinder your project.
10 – Editing Considerations
Simply put, you don’t have to have the same person film and edit your footage. Often times, a company will offer a discount for combining the two services. However, if you prefer the filming style of one videographer (or want to do it yourself or have another family film) and have a different company edit the footage, that is totally fine and a standard process.
PRO TIP: It is a good idea to ask the editing company ahead of time what format they prefer to receive raw footage in so that you can communicate this to your filming videographer.
As a final recommendation, we highly recommend you follow your gut instinct. When speaking to a company representative and something feels off, don’t book the coverage. You want to ensure the project comes out exactly as you want and choosing the wrong videographer can cause a headache. Don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions or flat out tell the videographer that you have decided to not move forward with the project. You are the client, you are in the driver’s seat!
Established in 2010, American Sports Memories is one of the largest and most trusted sports production companies in the United States. Over the years, we have worked with thousands of players, coaches, and parents to capture high quality game film and develop result getting recruitment videos. To learn more about our sports videography services, click here.