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Under estimated Baseball
Kevin Sousa, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 9:02 PM on 04.21.15
->> Covered my first MLB game and I under estimated how difficult the game is to capture and caption.

Looking for tips about the following:
1. How do you identify players when they don't wear numbers on the front of their jerseys, helmets, sleeves, etc?

2. Keeping track of important plays and which inning it took place?Went to upload and I forgot everything about the play, who drove in the run, etc.

Thanks for the help in advance.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 9:23 PM on 04.21.15
->> 1. You can generally identify players by position, though you should be careful doing this. Players, especially in the infield, move to back up other players, so you will commonly get them at bases that they don't play (especially home plate and 2nd base). Waiting until players turn around and shooting an extra shot of their jersey helps, but that's not always an option either. All MLB teams have web sites with player photos on their rosters. Using a combination of all of this is generally enough.

2. The voice recording on pro bodies is fantastic for this. Shoot the play, then record a quick "RBI by blah blah in the third" memo with it. If you don't have that option, shoot the scoreboard. It'll at least tell you the inning, if nothing else. Most MLB and MiLB teams (maybe all) have a play-by-play report on their web sites that's updated live. If you know the inning, you can probably go back and find the play with all the details later.
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Javier Gonzalez, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 9:23 PM on 04.21.15
->> You must know the game, teams and players. Arrive early and get all information, line up with names and positions. Get all names, all. Including the umpires. Follow the game as any other JOUNALIST with a notebook and a pencil. At the end you will have all information you need.

Good luck!
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Ken Blaze, Photographer
Cleveland | OH | USA | Posted: 10:15 PM on 04.21.15
->> Any of the online sports sites like or CBS sports have play by play of each game. It's gold for baseball if you ask me. You can look at the play by play as you are editing and captioning and see what you have photographed.
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 10:30 PM on 04.21.15
->> A couple thoughts: remember what some of us old farts did in the film days - shoot a few frames of the players back after the play ends. If something you want to note happens, shoot the scoreboard - it'll have the inning, count and score. Additionally, any major league game should have lineups in the press box and photo workroom.

Plus the above suggestions...
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Manalapan | NJ | United States | Posted: 8:27 AM on 04.22.15
->> In addition to all of the attention and make notes about uniform styles and shoes. Who has high socks? who is wearing what brand of shoe, using what brand, type, color bat or glove, who wears sunglasses, who has facial hair and of course nationalities....There are whole lot of details you need to be aware of to do this job properly. If your cameras support voice tagging, use it, if not , as Dave suggested, do what the old farts like me did and still do... shoot backs and score boards. Do your home work, get to the park early and take some time to watch batting practice to get a feel for all of these things. The answers for you are in the details.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 10:49 AM on 04.22.15
->> Go old school -- use caption envelopes like those during the film days where you wrote down everything you shot. Instead of large envelopes, today I use smaller coin packets that open at one end for my memory cards. Write down every shot/play using a simple shorthand in addition to making a frame of the player's number when he turns around.

Here is what I use starting back in the '70s when I was a MLB team photographer that was taught to me by the local wire service and newspaper photographers:

Write down the inning number and circle it. Then use a team initial with the number of the player to identify him along with what happened; defensive players are in (). When a new inning starts also shoot a frame of the scoreboard as a framer marker separator.

For example, lets say you're shooting a Yankees-Blue Jays game. For a Yankees player swinging at the plate the code would be Y21 K (code for strikeout) or Y21 doubles. For a play at second base, B14 out at 2b (Y24) means Blue Jays player #14 is tagged out at second base by Yankees #24. And Y23 fields B7 1b means Yankees #23 handles the ball hit by Blue Jays #7 who made it safe to first base.

The problem with just shooting numbers on the back of jerseys when they turn around -- which you should do anyway -- you don't have the context of what you shot. This is where the written caption envelope becomes invaluable. Also, one envelope per camera/disk; two cameras = two envelopes, three cameras = three envelopes. Then when you are ingesting the disks write down on the envelope which folder it belongs to. In the film days we used twin tags which were a pair of pre-numbered labels -- one on the envelope and one on the film leader before you souped it.

Where this discipline becomes important is when you're needing to find a particular player/play on deadline to match the lead of the story. For example, let's say Blue Jays player #44 set a new career record with his 100th double and it occurred in the 7th inning according to the post-game notes/play-by-play. Find the envelope with the circled 7 for that inning. On it is the folder number. What you're looking for is half way through the take. Scroll the frames to the section where you shot B44's number as he is dusting himself off after the play. Back up a few frames and you have his slide into 2b and back up a few more frames where you have him hitting the double.

Using written caption envelopes can cut your search and captioning times down from minutes to less than 30 seconds.

This same discipline is valuable when shooting football too. For example, P56 +8 1d (S88) means Patriots player #56 ran for 8 yards for a first down before being tackled by Seahawks player #88. And S12 sack -3 (P78) means Seattle quarterback #12 is sacked for a three yard loss by Patriots player #78.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer, Photo Editor
Roswell | GA | | Posted: 4:07 PM on 04.22.15
->> Just be sure all the cameras are synced to the same date and time. No need for expensive envelopes. Just write the time down when a play happens and then you can find each photo based on when it happens.

You don't have to think about which camera shot it when, it is in order of when you shot it if you sort images by capture time.

This is also helpful when using remotes and want to see which is the best image from a play.

I use the envelopes when shooting as part of a team and someone is picking up cards and the giving them back, but not any other time.
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 9:06 PM on 04.22.15
->> Small point of order: Nikon has a free download called Nikon Capture that will sync bodies to whatever computer you connect to - it takes longer to open and start that to accomplish the sync. If I'm shooting something using a remote, I update the sync as the camera clocks tend to drift. I've also decided that this is the only practical use for this bit of software...
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 9:57 PM on 04.22.15
->> As to Stanley's remarks, coin envelopes are less than a nickel each. He also says to write down when plays happen. On what? Yes, you can use a notepad which is a lot cheaper, but using an envelope that is matched to a specific memory disk is a lot easier to sync with what you shot during post once you get into the practice.
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Brian Westerholt, Photographer
Kannapolis | NC | USA | Posted: 11:24 PM on 04.22.15
->> As someone who covers a lot of Minor League Baseball (90+ games in 2014) I find the recording feature on my Canon bodies to be the greatest thing since....well, you know the saying. When the uniform number is not readily visible, I record the players name/number, and when I ingest the images in Photo Mechanic, there is a little speaker icon that you click on to play back the recording. You can use this to also record the info about a play as you mentioned, so-and-so hits a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 4th inning.....
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 1:29 AM on 04.24.15
->> Voice annotation, which is the reason I upgraded to the 1D series bodies. I got sick of keeping a scorecard and trying to write down the key frames (which I had locked) on the sheet and even worse trying to remember all involved in the play.
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Alvin Jornada, Photographer
Santa Rosa | CA | USA | Posted: 4:19 AM on 04.24.15
->> This is from a picture editor's perspective but it might help you as well, time/deadline permitting. I would run's GameDay and the ESPN equivalent (for backup) on a second laptop or another browser window, when I live-edited other photographers during MLB Postseason (selecting, toning, captioning and transmitting their photos). The box score and play-by-play functions help remove much of the guess work while captioning and can be used to look back at previous plays. They're updated pretty quickly during games and can still be accessed after the game ends. The text version of the play-by-play is also concise, so you're not bogged down with reading through unnecessary info.
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 1:11 PM on 04.24.15
->> To add to what others have said, one reason why I gave up using the Canon 5D MkIII and a loaner 7D MkII for baseball is the lack of voice tags. Baseball is far and away the biggest reason, IMO, for the existence of this feature.

I addition, has a solid play-by-play feature to assist, especially on plays that happened an inning or more ago.

Played with the MLB At Bat app, but the in-app purchases needed to make it provide sufficient information made it a no-go for me.
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Kevin Sousa, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 5:42 AM on 04.29.15
->> Thank you everyone for the great tips and tricks.
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Thread Title: Under estimated Baseball
Thread Started By: Kevin Sousa
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