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William in Kuparuk, Alaska listens on KBYR – “Alaska Talks Here” and asked: “I am looking for the best digital recording device for recording video of children’s hockey games, to where you can capture at least 1/3 or even 2/3 of the ice, so you don’t have so much movement back and forth that you lose track. So you can actually see the players, so we can take this video into the locker room and do reviews and explain to them how well they’re doing and how they can improve. I’m looking for HD, quick playback that we can play on the wall of the locker room so these kids can understand exactly what we’re trying to coach them.“
William, given your expectations, you’ll probably be disappointed. You’re going to want a very wide angle lens, very high resolution, and a very fast autofocus.
Now, you will have trouble finding any autofocus that can figure out where a puck is and realize that it should be following the action over there, typically you tell it where to go or it guesses based on a couple of settings (like “prioritize the middle,” simple rules like that).
High resolution means that 4K will be the better choice for you, but it will be more expensive.
A wide angle is simple enough, a smartphone will give you a very wide angle, for example. What it won’t give you is good enough optical clarity, so you’ll probably want something like an SLR.
Any digital SLR capable of video or dedicated SLR-based video camera will let you remove a memory card, usually an SD card, that you can play in a projector.
You’ll probably have image issues here too, focus aside, you want to shoot a wide field and then show your players what’s going on in a narrow part of that field of vision. You won’t be able to easily zoom in and out very quickly, so you’ll either be looking at also getting a phone or tablet involved. Doing that will slow you down when it comes to transferring the card, but not doing it will leave you clicking a thousand times or dragging around the view in a tiny view screen.
You can come up with a workable solution, but it will probably require dedicated camera operators to zoom in and out and mind the focus. Without that, you probably won’t get a good enough result to keep you happy.
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