Many players are starting to record their paintball gameplay videos these days as camera technology is getting smaller and more powerful. This makes it easy to relive our best moments on the field and show them to our friends and family!
I have been recording my paintball games for the past few years and have learned quite a bit about what equipment you will need for some solid gameplay footage.
But why start recording your paintball games? Here are some reasons why I stared to record my games in the first place:
- Better way to learn from your mistakes – It’s easier to find out why that move up the field was a bad decision after the adrenalin has worn off.
- Identify bad habits that need improvement – In the heat of the battle, you won’t notice the small bad habits that may be getting you eliminated.
- Help hone and improve new skills – You can review new techniques you are working on with ease and see how you can improve.
- To share fun moments with others – It’s fun to share your passion with the people you enjoy most!
What to Look for in a Paintball Camera
All action cams are not built the same. Some cameras have serious limitations when it comes to a high energy game like paintball. I have had a few cameras in the past that just didn’t make the cut as they had bad video quality or little to no video stabilization options built in.
The most important feature to look for in a paintball action cam is video stabilization. This is a digital setting that reduces the vibrations and rough movement added to the footage if you are running or shooting.
Many older and cheaper cameras do not have this feature and it can really throw off the game footage when playing intense games like speedball or when you are trying to cover a lot of ground in a scenario event.
Keep in mind that when using this feature, you will loose about 10% of the video edge in wide field of view mode. This is the “buffer” room that the camera will use to automatically reduce the shaking in the video.
You need to be able to record at a decent video quality and frame rate. 720p at 24 frames per second is just barely scraping you by with no room for digitally zooming in with a video editor.
I found that 2.7k at 60 frames per second (fps) with my main head camera offers me everything I need to make a decent video. This way I can still export at 1440p or even 2160p at 60fps (or 30fps if need) without sacrificing video quality.
If you are using a zoom cam with an optical zoom, you have room to skimp on the video quality a bit. I have my zoom cams set to 1080p at 60fps and I don’t notice much difference in quality when editing.
Make sure your zoom cams are set to the right focal length. Some zoom cams are designed to zoom in really far (some airsoft cams) and may need to be dialed back a bit.
The worst thing that can happen to anyone recording their game is having the camera cut out right before your awesome move or just before the action starts.
Having a long battery life can help you keep recording all day long without worrying about if your camera cut out or not. If the camera has the option to replace the battery or even attach an external battery, you can keep filming without worrying about conserving battery power.
Keep in mind that shooting at a higher frame rate will eat up your battery life faster as the camera is doing more work. I found the battery drain is nearly doubled when jumping from 30fps to 60fps.
Camera and camera gear weight play a factor on the longer games, especially if you are attaching it to your mask. The last thing you want is your camera weighing you down or pulling your mask off!
Most modern action cameras are very light weight and can fit in small places. This also allows you to attach cameras on rigs for a 3rd person view as well!
You may be investing several hundred dollars into your camera setups, but you need to make sure that you use a protective case to protect your cameras from damage.
Most cameras are tough, but the display screens can’t take much abuse before they are damaged. Thankfully, most cases are cheap and easily replaced. I have had my camera cases break on the field and all I had to do was replace the case, not the camera.
Tips for Filming Your Paintball Games
After recording my games for over a year and sifting through all of my footage, I have learned quite a bit about what can make or break good gameplay video.
Simple things that we may overlook at the beginning like if your hopper is blocking the camera on your mask or properly adjusting the camera angle so you can see where your shots land need to be tested before you hit the field.
Shoot at the Highest Resolution You can Edit
My most important tip for recording your paintball games is to shoot at the highest resolution both your camera will allow and what your computer or phone can edit.
The last thing you want to do is record your awesome gameplay footage at 4K but your computer can’t handle or edit the footage. I had this happen to me once and I had to do a lot of work to turn my 4K video to 2.7K so I could actually watch it.
This doesn’t mean you should shoot at 1080p because that is what you will be uploading to Youtube, you want to shoot at a higher resolution so you can zoom in and out of your video during editing without getting too pixelated.
Finally, by filming at a higher resolution will make any video that is exported at a lower resolution look better. It just makes the end product look cleaner and has less distortion.
Check Camera Angle and Position
Far too often when browsing through Youtube videos, I run across someones helmet cam pointing at the ground in front of them and all you can see is their marker. That or you see nothing but a hopper the entire video and just watching the player run around.
I like to test my camera footage in the back yard (or in the living room) before heading out to the field to film. To test my cameras, I hit record and act like I am playing a game by moving around, pretending to shoot, and using corners or trees as bunkers.
Then I review the video and see if any adjustment is needed to compensate for any blocked video or if my cameras point of aim is off for both my helmet cam and zoom cams.
Color Correction and Noise Reduction
Depending on the capabilities of your video editing software, you will want to adjust your video and audio settings to what your video editor is capable of. I use Lightworks 14.5 to edit my videos (www.lwks.com) so my editing experience may be a bit different than yours.
GoPros have the ability to add its own color filter and it is great for those who don’t have the ability to adjust colors or contrast in their editor. The default GoPro Color mode creates a vibrant video and automatically adjusts the color settings as the lighting chagnes.
I personally like to shoot in Flat Color as I have the ability to edit the color and contrast in the video editor as needed. This way I get as much detail as possible without loosing any definition with the auto color features.
Noise/wind reduction needs to be used sparingly or not at all. Some of my first videos I made had almost no nose in some spots because of all the paintball markers shooting in the background caused the filter to cut out all sound.
I would turn off any noise filter settings on your cameras just so you can get all the sounds of the battle.
Set Camera Field Of View
Too wide of a camera setting can throw off your video immersion and make what you are looking at in the video seem smaller. Plus, if you get too wide you start getting a fisheye distortion that just looks funny.
I like to set my head cam to “Linear” footage as it feels like the most natural view and brings the viewer closer to the action. The wide and superview settings on my GoPro are just excessive and give that fisheye distortion.
Play with your settings to see what you like before you hit the field. You may actually like the extra wide angles and may make what you are doing look that much better!
Eliminate Excess Camera Movement
This is a big one. You will be moving around a lot and if your camera has the slightest bit of movement, that movement will transition to your camera and give lots of movement in the video.
Most players attach their helmet camera to the top vents of their mask. This section is usually made of hard rubber or plastic and has a little bit of movement to it.
This is fine if you are using a decent camera and a decent mount but you have to use a decent mount that can secure in place over a large surface area.
The basic 3D printed mounts just don’t cut it, trust me I have tried a few of them. You will need the aluminum mounts or the really nice and ridged SLS or MJF printed mounts.
I personally like to position my GoPro down a little bit in front of my mask for more of a first person view. This requires a few extension arms to stick the camera forward and down. The only downside is that it can allow the camera to move around a bit.
I fixed this problem on my mask by sticking a suction cup between the camera and my lens. The camera sits nice and stead in front of my lens with zero movement.
Modify Your Camera Cases
Most of the protective waterproof cases are completely sealed and are usually harder to open and reduce sound quality. You most likely aren’t going diving any time soon and GoPros are water resistant so rain isn’t a problem.
I like to remove the waterproof seal on the protective case opening to reduce the pressure added to the latch and hinges. This lets you open the case easier and makes the pivot points on the case door last longer.
Since the case is fully enclosed, drilling a few holes in key locations above the cameras microphones is a great way to increase sound quality. What I do is put the camera in the case and locate the mics (assuming you have a clear case). Then with a sharpie, I mark the locations, remove the camera, and use a drill to make the holes.
Play to Have Fun
At the end of the day, you need to remember to have fun. You will forget to turn on your camera, your batteries will die, you may even forget to bring your camera. But don’t forget to have fun!
Don’t let small things like that ruin your day or make you not want to play ball anymore. More than once have I goofed on my recording and missed some AMAZING footage but that wont stop me from having a good time on the field.
My rule is play paintball first, footage second. I’m not going to ruin other players day or be a grump if my camera isn’t working right. I came to play ball and that is exactly what I’m going to do.
Best Action Cameras for Paintball
I have been through a few different cameras, some I liked and some I no longer have.
My first experiences with the earlier GoPros were lackluster at best. Video quality and stabilization were lacking to the point that I would rather play without them.
Below are the cameras that I currently use and like. They are the ones I record all my games with and keep up with me even during large scale events.
GoPro Hero 6, 7, and 8 Black
I specifically call out the Hero 6, 7 and 8 Black as they come with more advanced video stabilization and can shoot high quality footage at 60fps or more.
My first GoPro was the Hero 3+ and the video quality and stabilization were garbage. I move around way too much to get any stable footage and just watching it made me motion sick.
After upgrading to the Hero 5 Black, I found the video quality to be better but still felt lacking on the video stabilization feature. I ran with this camera for a good 6-8 months but grabbed a Hero 6 Black and have been quite satisfied.
The Hero 7 and 8 Black come with even more advanced features and better stabilization features to smooth your footage out even more. Some of the footage I am seeing come from those cameras is phenomenal and video is rock steady.
The Hero 6 Black is an effective and affordable option for any paintballer wanting to capture their gameplay and can be found quite easily on Ebay – Click here to see what is available on Ebay
The Hero 7 and 8 are the newer versions and are a bit more expensive but can be had new from lots of major retailers, as well as used for a cheaper price.
Click here to see Hero 7 Black prices on Ebay
Click here to see Hero 7 Black prices on Amazon
Click here to see Hero 8 Black prices on Ebay
Click here to see Hero 8 Black prices on Amazon
Runcam 2 (Standard and Airsoft Versions)
I use 3 different versions of the Runcam 2; the standard version, the Airsoft Edition, and the Brain Exploder Zoom Lens version.
The standard Runcam2 is perfect for a reverse cam and can record for a long time at 1080p 30fps. This is one of my cameras that I just turn on and don’t bother messing with unless I am off the feild.
The Runcam 2 Airsoft version comes with a 35mm lens for those far off shots and can record at 1080p at 60fps. I use this camera primarily for FSR only as anything closer will just be out of focus or zoomed in too much.
My primary zoom cam for regular paintballs is the Brain Exploder “Close Range” zoom cam with a 16mm lens. This puts my regular paintball eliminations in perfect focus and has just the right amount of zoom for standard gameplay.
I like to check Ebay first with my cameras to see if I can pick a used one up at a good price – Click here to find a cheap one on Ebay
Otherwise, you can still find them for a good price on Ebay or Brain Exploder’s website. Click the links below for current prices.
Standard Runcam 2 on Amazon
16 mm Runcam 2 at BrainExploderMerch.com
Runcam 2 Airsoft Edition on Amazon
The best way to attach these to your marker is with Brain Exploder’s Runcam2 Mounts. I have a few of these and they are super sturdy. Pick some up from him on Shapeways by clicking here.
You can have the best action cameras on the market, but if you don’t have a decent mount it may all be for nothing.
If at all possible, use metal or ridged plastic parts that can take impact without damage. The standard plastic GoPro mounts and cheap plastic knock offs will break on you. I have replaced dozens of plastic and cheap 3D printed mounts.
Goggle Camera Mounts
If and at all possible, only use high quality metal goggle mounts. I have seen plenty of people loose their expensive cameras in a scenario event because their mounts broke while playing ball.
I have invested a lot of money into my camera and want a mount that I don’t have to worry about. After using several different types from cheap 3D printed designs to heavy pot metal mounts, I have found the two absolute best options on the market.
– HK Army GoPro Goggle Mount
The HK Army mount is the absolute best option on the market today and is the one I use for my helmet cam.
These mounts are made of anodized aluminum in a bunch of different colors to match your mask. Plus, they use a 2 piece design that clamps the mount to your mask and doesn’t allow for much movement at all.
You can pick one up for a good price on Amazon by clicking here.
– BrainExploader GoPro Goggle Mount
If you want a decent mount that is just a little cheaper than the HK version, look no further than the BrainExploader version. This is a very rigid nylon mount that is about $10 cheaper than the HK version.
You can pick one up from his Shapeways store by clicking here.
Sometimes you just want to attach a GoPro to your barrel and call it a day. Your barrel will bump, rub, and hit the bunkers so you will need a quality mount that wont break on you or damage your barrel.
– HK Army Barrel Camera Mount
A great, basic barrel camera mount is the HK Barrel Mount. Just like the mask mount, this mount is made of aluminum and clamps down on your barrel so you to attach your GoPro. Super simple and easy to use.
The only downside to it is that it isn’t a streamline look on the side that can slightly obstruct your line of sight down the barrel from the hardware mounts.
You can pick one up on Amazon by clicking here.
– Inception Barrel Camera Mount
For the most streamlined barrel clamp without any obstruction, the Inception Designs barrel GoPro mount is the way to go. It comes with a rubber liner on the inside to prevent marring and is cleverly designed to be sleek and unobtrusive.
You can pick up the Inception mount on Amazon by clicking here.
– Beamshot RF9 Picatinny Rail Mount
If your camera mounts attach to a picatinny rail, The Beamshot RF9 is the way to go to attach your zoom cam to any paintball barrel. They come with several sizes of rubber buffers and can even clamp to 1″ diameter barrels!
I use these on my electro setup for both my zoom cam and reverse cams. You can pick up yours on Amazon by clicking here.
A major problem some people will run across is not purchasing a modern, quality micro SD card for their cameras.
You will need to purchase a Class 10 micro SD card to be able to record at 60 fps on most action cams. If you use anything less than Class 10, you may only be able to record at 30fps.
Also, make sure you don’t purchase an SD card with more memory that your camera can handle. I use 64GB SD cards on my Runcam 2s and 128GB SD cards on my GoPros. This gives me enough memory to record all day on one card without having to swap them out mid day.
Battery life is something you will have to juggle, especially when recording at 60fps. Having extra batteries can help keep you recording, but you have to keep an eye on your battery levels and change them throughout the day.
The best way to do this is to use a small portable charger attached to your camera. You can ziptie these chargers to your marker or mask and they will give you an extra hour or two of recording time without changing the batteries.
Small chargers like this 500mAh charger on Amazon will get the job done and allow you to keep filming for a long time.
Remember to Have Fun!
Please remember to have fun! Some days your camera gear will just not want to work properly but don’t let that get you down.
I have seen plenty of players stop playing just because they couldn’t record their games properly and that was their only drive to keep playing.
Play like the camera isn’t there and have fun!