Behind The Photo: Home Plate Remote Camera
By Jordan Murph, Photography Editor & Archivist
Remote cameras are a tool we use to expand our coverage of your Angels. They provide us with different angles from our hand held cameras in case we get blocked, they can give a unique view from a location that is impossible to physically photograph from, or they can just provide extra coverage.
But what is a remote camera? It is a non-manned camera that is mounted in place and fired via an external trigger anywhere from a few feet away to several hundred feet away. There are many different camera, lens, mounting, triggering, and creative options. We regularly use a remote camera mounted behind home plate to make pictures. Here is some information about the equipment we use, a little technical information about how we set it up, and some examples of images that a remote camera behind home plate can produce.
Home Plate Remote Gear
- Nikon D3s Digital SLR Camera
- 70-200mm f/2.8G VR Lens: this lens is perfect for this situation. It has a great zoom range to give different options for framing, has a fast aperture of f2.8 that allows creative options such as controlling depth of field and shooting at night, and has a built in foot that can be attached to different mounts.
- Bogen Manffrotto #244 Variable Friction Arm with Camera Platform & Super Clamp: this is the standard mounting arm for remote cameras. This arm is often called a “magic arm” which is a similar looking device with lever instead of a round knob. The magic arm lever is either loose or tight with no control over the level of tension. A variable friction arm can be tightened incrementally to allow precise positioning and security. The lever on a magic arm can easily be hit and released whereas the knob on variable friction arm must be deliberately loosened which makes it considerably safer.
- LPA Design Pocket Wizard MultiMAX: this is the standard radio triggering system in the industry. Consisting of a transmitter and a receiver in typical setups, these devices have several programmable functions and can be used to trigger the remote camera from over 1,000 feet away.
- Bogen Super Clamp & LPA Designs Radio Isolation Post: this is used to mount the Pocket Wizard MultiMAX receiver unit in a position to receive an optimal signal and to minimize radio interference.
- Shawn Cullen Designs Nikon 10-Pin to Miniphone Pre-Release Cable: this custom built-to-spec cable is five feet long and includes an inline on-off switch to keep the camera “awake” so that it is always ready to fire.
- Gaffer Tape & Wrench: when working with remote cameras, two tools to always keep on hand are a Leatherman multi-tool to secure the mounts and gaffer tape to secure the lens’ zoom and focus rings.
There are few guidelines we follow when setting up remote cameras. Safety is always first. This particular angle is on the ground, but remote cameras are often mounted in precarious places. If you plan on setting up your own remote, always use safety cables if the camera is in a position where it could fall on someone and remove all extraneous pieces that could fall off, such as the lens hood.
A remote camera should always be mounted in as low of a profile as possible, that is, keeping it as out of the way as possible. This hints back to safety as well as taking the time to make the remote look clean and professional. It also helps to make room for other cameras as a courtesy to other photographers which is especially important at big events like the World Series.
Home Plate Remote Sample Photos
Here are a few examples of the types of images a remote camera behind home plate can make.
Typically, photographers want these high-intensity peak action photos from remote cameras. This photo from the archive is a perfect example of a unique angle of a peak action moment:
But there is more to the story of the game besides just big moments of peak action. This next photo is a great example a reaction that follows a play at the plate. Here is the original, un-cropped frame, that the remote saw:
And here is the cropped version. The crop brings you, the viewer, into the moment more, and removes unnecessary dead space in the frame:
This next image is a great example of another type of image you can capture with a remote:
This image is not the traditional action play at the plate but rather a moment of celebration without the big slide or collision:
This tighter crop accentuates and focuses on the moment of celebration and joy between Josh and Mike.
We hope you enjoyed this look at how these image are made and how we use tools like remote cameras to cover your Angels. If you have questions, please leave a comment!