Whether you are an athlete hoping to get a contract or an organization looking to promote your events, athletic highlight reels can be an important marketing tool. 

This guide will help you showcase your sport.

Choose a Video Editing Software & Learn How it Works

If you are new to editing videos, choose a program, such as Premiere Pro, that is easy to use. Familiarize yourself with common tools, such as how to crop a video in Premiere

The website or blog of the company that makes the software you are using can be a good resource. You can also find tutorials online for many popular programs. 

Choose a Resolution for Your Film

HD video gives you the highest quality; however, it can be challenging for inexperienced filmmakers to work with. HD video files are large and can take a long time to transfer and render. The size can also make these files difficult to work with on laptops or older computers. 

Additionally, if you are planning to share your work online, platforms, such as YouTube, may adjust the resolution to fit the viewer's bandwidth and large video files may be slow to load, causing some users to leave before viewing your video. 

For these reasons, you may want to work in standard definition.

Gather Your Equipment

A video camera is your most important piece of equipment. While you can spend a lot of money on a high-end camera, it is possible to make a quality highlight reel with an inexpensive camera. 

You also need a battery charger, extra batteries, a gear bag, a notepad and pencil, and a tripod or monopod. 

Get Your Graphics & Music Ready

Create a folder on your computer for graphics such as sponsor and tournament logos. Choose music and either get permission to use it or use music with a Creative Commons license

Choose a selection that has wide appeal, conveys the tone you are going for, and builds excitement.

Shoot a Lot of Footage

Most highlight reels are only a couple of minutes long, but to get those couple of minutes you need to shoot a lot of videos. 

The more video you shoot, the better chance you have of capturing highlight-worthy moments. 

Curate as You Go

One of the easiest ways to avoid having to watch hours of footage to find the highlights you want to use is to film each play individually and then delete the plays that you know you don't want to use on your reel. 

If you plan to use this method, choose a camera that makes it quick and easy to delete footage.

Take Notes

If you are unable to discard the footage you don't need as you are filming, watch the footage and whenever you spot a highlight you may want to use, make a note of what time it occurs on the video. 

Another method to try is to load your footage and check the audio graph for spikes in crowd noise. Check those sections of the footage for highlight-worthy plays. 

Improve Your Video Shooting Technique

You will get better highlight footage if you start with a better quality video. Make an effort to get close-up shots of athletes. If you have access to a camera players can wear during the action, use it. 

Change up the angles and locations you film from. Use a tripod or monopod to avoid camera shake. Get some audience reaction shots. Include footage of sponsor or partner posters, signs, and banners.

Improve Your Editing Technique

The most popular highlight videos are between two and four minutes long, so aim for that length when choosing your highlights. 

Keep it simple and avoid cluttering the video with effects. Trim your clips to just the highlights. Match the clips with the beat of your music. Include a variety of clips.


A great highlight reel can do a lot to increase excitement from fans and get more people interested in events or athletes. 

It is an involved process, but it is worth taking the time to produce a high-quality video.


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