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Basketball Remote Camera, advice welcomed
Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 9:00 PM on 02.20.10
->> Had my first experience with a remote camera today. Shot the Northeastern/Louisiana Tech mens BB game and mounted a camera behind the backboard. This is my first attempt at any remote and I feel it went well but would like to get input from others that do this on a regular basis. The first two images on my member page are from today. These are cropped only, no post processing of any kind. I had the opportunity to fit the mounting up last night before an NU mens hockey game when the nets were folded. Got to the game 3 hours early and mounted a Mark II with a 17-40 and PW. Took about 20 minutes to get it mounted and aligned. Sure wish I took a photo of it but with a close game got sidetracked. In any event this was mounted about 2' from the actuall glass, hence the glare you see, I think this is why?

This was the first time anyone at the school has done this and even though everyone that needed to know approved I was still cautious.

So for those that do this on a regular basis what can I change? What is a typical keeper rate, would these be keepers? It seems to me that the camera needs to be closer to the glass, maybe higher and pointed downward more. what do you think?

Any comments reccomendations good or bad welcomed.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 9:07 PM on 02.20.10
->> Good evening Jim.

Please check out this wonderful how-to story Darrell Miho wrote for us many years ago:

Through The Glass: How to set up a glass remote for basketball

Many great details in this story that might help you out.

Good luck!
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 10:46 PM on 02.20.10
->> You need to be sure and gobo--using something to cut out the reflections in the glass.

I have found using a 3"- 4" Hard Based Plastic Roof Jack ( works.

I cut away the part that goes under roof shingles and then put the lens through the hole into the camera. The angle is usually pretty close and looks clean behind the board.
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Mark McIntyre, Photographer
Greensboro | NC | USA | Posted: 11:23 PM on 02.20.10
->> Jim - Very nice images. I hope you were able to use the PWs that I sent. I normally place the lens directly on the glass to cut out the backboard. With the use of black foil you can cut out most of the glare. Make sure you use 2 magic arms & a safety cable. This is a low percentage shot and you may only keep a few from each game. It is normally the luck of the draw and where the rebounds go.
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David Manning, Photographer
Athens | GA | | Posted: 2:28 AM on 02.21.10
->> ... Just understand that sometimes you get amazing plays in the remote and sometimes you get nothing....
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Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 10:06 AM on 02.21.10
->> Thanks everyone for the input.

I was aware I needed something to cut out the reflections and will work on this next time. This was the first for me and the school so did not want to raise alarms with taping things to the backboard and all. Small steps you can say until everyone is more confident. I do know that the few images I got, including the two posted, removed all the skeptisim of me being crazy in trying this... and when you get an asst. coach slamming during the shoot around just after mounting it, only helps too.

Mark, I did not get them yet but once I do they will get good use, have many ideas for a remote for baseball, lacrosse etc. Trying to find a source for a Hockey net box too. I have a great rental place 20 minutes away, so I picked the PW's up Friday. A second magic arm and clamp would help as the backboards bounce alot, you got an extra you want to get rid of?

After looking through the images I noticed there is nothing from the second half when I was at the other end of the court. I assumed a court length distance would be fine. How far will these transmit? I was using PW II's. I can't see it being anything else, as all batteries were fine after the game.

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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:23 AM on 02.21.10
->> Jim, your pocket wizards should easily have worked the length of the court....not that I have EVER done this BUT several things could cause the wizards not to work. 1)Were both units turned on? 2)Did a frequency setting get changed? 3)Did the transmitter slip out of the hot shoe a little bit and lose the connection? 4)Perhaps the stay awake cord was set on normal instead of pre-release and the camera went to sleep?
Those are some ideas. Not knowing the facility I would think there wouldn't be a lot of RF running around to mess up the LOS for the Wizards, but you never know.

PS:Yes. The reason I know about those PW FAIL symptoms is because I have done every single one of them. A couple twice.
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Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 10:38 AM on 02.21.10
->> Chuck,

I checked the frequencies when I got home and they were the same, I was using one in my hand not attached to the hotshoe so that couldn't have been it., Both were on as I got plenty the first half and remember seeing the light blink on the one in my hand the second half.

I will check the cord but the camera was mounted for hours prior to the game, I did check it every so often. How long does it take to go to sleep? How can I tell what position the switch should be in, I thought that if I did not see the image on the LCD it was in the correct position.

There are a great deal of RF in this building so maybe that is it.

Also thanks to Max Simbron for helping me out with this weeks ago, I appreciate the phone conversations!!!

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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 11:00 AM on 02.21.10
->> I'm not an expert on remotes, well, I take that back...I'm an expert at screwing up WITH remotes! 8)
If nothing was appearing on the LCD screen then you had the stay awake cord right (mine says "pre-release" and "normal". you want it on "pre-release". one suggestion (that we frequently use around here) is to have someone physically stand under the remote and you test fire it from the other end of the court...if it works while the game is not in play then there is an excellent chance you're getting some kind of interference during the game. that's all I got. as i said I frequently have trouble with remotes and I have old pocket wizards but their range has never been an issue.
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Richard Orr, Photographer
Longmeadow | MA | USA | Posted: 11:45 AM on 02.21.10
->> New batteries. Every game. need them or not.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 12:03 PM on 02.21.10
->> gee richard, I can keep the same batteries in a pocket wizard for several weeks even months without changing them out. maybe it's because they are the older four channel models but they really don't drain the batteries. hell, I've left them on for a day or two and they still work fine....I don't like adding battery waste to the environment...and changing out pocket wizard batteries every time you use them? hmmmmmmm.
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Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 8:24 PM on 02.21.10
->> I hope I don't need new batteries each game a big waste. The PW's I used were rented and came with batteries and they lasted the entire 5-6 hours they were on, who knows how much they were already used.

I had the switch in the correct position so the only thing I can think of is interfearance. I hope to use some new to me PW's Tuesday and will make sure they work with a person listening to the camera while I am at the other end.

Thanks for the help everyone I appreciate it.

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Steve Daggs, Photographer
Washington | IL | USA | Posted: 12:25 AM on 02.24.10
->> Richard,

I shoot 40-50 basketball games a season and use the same batteries (Duracell) in my PWs all season with no problems. However, I have had a problem with remote cameras (D100/D1x/D2x bodies) "hanging up" after 20-30 frames. I think I have a Paramount pre-release cable and use the PW Plus R/Ts and the Plus II Transcievers. Last week, I had a D1x on a floor plate placed several feet away from my position, so I could hear the shutter fire. I would notice it not firing and turned it off and on and it would fire for awhile and then quit again. With a D100 or D1x remote mounted on the goal base while shooting from the corner, I always have about 20% fewer frames on the remote than on the cameras I'm firing. I have tested the setup at home and can't duplicate the problem. I don't think it is interference because my strobes ALWAYS fire. I just plan on missing a bunch of shots from the remote. Does anyone else have this problem? Any ideas on what may be going on here?
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 12:48 AM on 02.24.10
->> Steve -
Just nailing Jello on a tree here, but might you be having a buffer issue? As in the remote won't buffer as fast or to the extent a newer body might?
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Steve Daggs, Photographer
Washington | IL | USA | Posted: 10:17 AM on 02.24.10
->> Dave,
I don't think it is a buffer issue since I shoot with strobes or remote flashes and can't fire off a string of 3-5 frames per second. I need to try the static test again to see if I can replicate the problem where I can see what is actually happening.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 10:56 AM on 02.24.10
->> I don't want to hijack the thread and will start a fresh one if anyone objects.......

Just wondering what the wisdom here is on springing for the Multi-Max units versus the PW II's. I was (am) leaning towards the Multi's for the ability to upgrade the FW as LPA finds bug fixes. Worth it? Reliability differences?
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David Manning, Photographer
Athens | GA | | Posted: 11:14 AM on 02.24.10
->> Myself and another photographer were playing with some serious features on the MultiMaxs the other day. Rear curtain, delay & multipop. Ive watched someone try and do the whole "lagging the camera" & firing camera and strobes all together with mixed results.

As someone who sets a bunch of remotes, i usually have to negotiate to get a free channel at bigger events as I have the Plus IIs.

So if you just need to fire a remote flash or a remote camera, the Plus IIs should be fine. If you need all the gee-wiz-bang features & delays or have a need for your own private channel then go the MultiMax route.
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Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 02.24.10
->> Relative to my original post I tried to duplicate this last night with an unmouted camera on the floor and no problems. I thought the Percision Time units that the refs use could have played a part but had these on the scoring table prior to the game, no problems. This will go on as a mystery.

Eric relative to the multimax's vs Plus II's... I looked into this and for my needs of wanting to trigger a single remote camera plus II's and the Plus's work fine. I could not justify over 2X the cost, and since I bought used Plus's, over 4X. Depends on what you are trying to trigger and how many at your event will be doing the same.

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Shawn Cullen, Assistant
San Diego | CA | | Posted: 12:54 AM on 02.25.10
->> Jim,
A few things come to mind regarding your issues with triggering a remote camera from across the court. Not knowing your exact shooting position on the court and where you Pocket Wizard unit was mounted, line of sight is very important. I know it is possible that it can still work without it, but none the less, you should always try to mount the PW units so that there is constant line of sight. The backboard could possibly cause an issue, and so could players jumping around the basket, but more than likely not. Also, I would avoid putting the PW Receiver in the hot shoe of the remote camera. LPA has found that there can be some RF noise emitted from digital cameras that can reduce the chances of the signal reaching the Receiver unit. Mounting the PW unit at the back end of the basket structure using a 20’ mini phone male to female extension cord should help. Low battery power could be an issue, but only if they are really low, and it does not sound like this was the case.
Jim, I know you are using the Plus II’s and you have your reasons, but for others, there are some features in the newer USB enabled MultiMax’s that might help in situations where you think you have interference from RF noise. The newest firmware 7.35 which is a beta version, allows you to use a “Noise Sniffer” mode that will detect the level on noise on a particular channel. If you find that the noise level is high, you can change any Custom ID’s you have to other frequencies. There is also a signal strength indicator as well. Here is a link to a PDF document that will explain all the features,
For anybody that has signed up to be a beta tester, LPA is looking for feedback on the new firmware. Here is an email address to send any comments to,
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Thread Title: Basketball Remote Camera, advice welcomed
Thread Started By: Jim Pierce
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