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Filming Video at Practice - What's the Best System?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

With 50+ racers at a practice, what is the best solution?

 

Continuously filming doesn't work - too much time between an individual's runs.

 

Would like to segment runs for each racer and post online for viewing after practice - without it taking hours of a coach's time editing and uploading after practice.

 

Anyone have any good solutions out there? Cameras, software, etc?

post #2 of 26

Control the camera remotely? I know GoPros can be controlled up to 600ft away :D

post #3 of 26


coaches eye s/w is great for analysis afterwards

post #4 of 26

This is a tuffy and we at WMRT have considered many options including drones.  My personal fav solution is a bit labor intensive but exhilarating and technically simple.

 

The process is best for your younger racers as they are easier to keep up with.  It involves shadowing the racer down a (preferable closed) course by a coach or older racer / intern /  college age alum on school break.  It also works best on moderate terrain and is better for SL or youth GS.  

 

#1 Build a long selfie stick.  I used an long XC pole with a cam mount.  This creates separation from the athlete providing a margin for safety while still providing stable detailed images.   

 

#2  As for cams.  Sure go pro is good but anything works.  I sometimes even use the kids' phones.  That way they have a video of themselves in their pocket at all times and can share or edit as they like.  Do not underestimate the technical video savvy of a 12 year old!  In good weather, I use a 7" tablet that fits in my parka and I can review the video with the kids ON THE LIFT.  This is great individ attention immediate visual feedback situation.  

 

#3 I have a inexpensive HD camcorder I bought on craigslist that takes standard SD cards.  In an effort to keep things semi organized and minimize coaches moving data etc, have the athlete BRING THEIR OWN SD CARD.  Put their name on it.  When it is time to record their training run, pop in their card and chase.  This creates a personal record for them that can be stored in a coaches flle and on the athlete's personal device.  It also allows them to see progress over the course of a season.  Parents love this as well as they can see their training dollars at work!

 

#4  Taping 50 athletes this way would be impossible for one coach.  However, with 10 coaches over a 2 day training weekend, this is not too bad.  

 

#5.  Chasing the athlete is not as hard as it sounds.  You do not have to make the turns, just shadow the course.  It is surprisingly slower than you think and you can look ahead.  Just keep the selfie stick pointed in the general direction of the racer.  

post #5 of 26

I'd get the parents involved.  

post #6 of 26

Reviewing at home is good, but you get the best effect after a video session. You need to tape say 10 (must have age groups) and then go in with the coach for review. The most effective improvements I have seen followed a good review session: they know what they did and how it feels, they see what came out, you tell them one or two things to change and they DO IT! Nothing beats the "OMG is that me? Yuck!". At home that only results in frustration but with a coach you can point out some positives as well and guide them.

 

Plain camera works best. Older coaches prefer clunky old models with a viewfinder, for good reasons (more stable and visible in the sun).

 

Make sure they ski straight at the camera, film them from the side and get a few turns from the back.

 

Following with a go pro is really good as well. Gives you a different view. That you can post for later viewing.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post
 

Reviewing at home is good, but you get the best effect after a video session. You need to tape say 10 (must have age groups) and then go in with the coach for review. The most effective improvements I have seen followed a good review session: they know what they did and how it feels, they see what came out, you tell them one or two things to change and they DO IT! Nothing beats the "OMG is that me? Yuck!". At home that only results in frustration but with a coach you can point out some positives as well and guide them.

 

Plain camera works best. Older coaches prefer clunky old models with a viewfinder, for good reasons (more stable and visible in the sun).

 

Make sure they ski straight at the camera, film them from the side and get a few turns from the back.

 

Following with a go pro is really good as well. Gives you a different view. That you can post for later viewing.

Agree with all of this.  I'll add, if you're going to be doing this on a regular basis, invest in a stable tripod and fluid head.  The quality of the video, and therefore the value of it, will skyrocket.

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
 

Agree with all of this.  I'll add, if you're going to be doing this on a regular basis, invest in a stable tripod and fluid head.  The quality of the video, and therefore the value of it, will skyrocket.

my head is already very fluid - I can hardly make up my mind... what do you mean ?

 

:rotflmao:

post #9 of 26

In case you're not joking about the "what do you mean" part, razie, this.  If you were joking about that too, maybe someone will find it useful.

 

post #10 of 26
If you can get someone to do the videoing for you ( at our mountain the race club president videos the kids each and every practice and it then goes on the big screen in the club during breaks), I believe Sony now has a hand held that also doubles as a projector. Once you capture the video, you can turn it to a wall or something and watch what you recorded. I'm wanting to do more research on this to see if I can record the athletes and on the top of the next run, play it back either on the side of a building or even on a steeper slope. I haven't put much thought or research into it as I just happened to notice the camera flipping through a catalog and it was just a thought.

I thought that this approach would be good for close to immediate feedback and better than trying to look at a little screen on the lift. Maybe it will project from the lift to the ground?
post #11 of 26

I have a coach friend who uses an Ipad and wifi card.  He can access the video straight from the camera on the ipad and show the athletes their runs right on the hill.  Or video and view later. Either way its easy and efficient.  He often does it at lunch, having individual athletes come over, view their video, get feedback and then go back to lunch.  He makes it through his whole training group in the time it takes to eat and they can apply their feedback immediately on the hill.  He can also video a run and watch it on the chair with the athlete, which allows for pretty good feedback timing while things are still fresh in the athletes mind.

post #12 of 26

simplest is to video on SD cards with a dedicated camcorder. If you are going to stand in the middle of a course, then stopping and starting video is simple and "self editing" however it requires someone to stand there and video as well as some practice and skill.

 

L&AirC, I have not tried the more recent projector camcorders but if they are about the same brightness as my portable dedicated LED projector, they will not work on the side of a building, even in the shade. They generally require a pretty darkened room. I used to carry my projector (battery powered) and it would require being indoors and a good bright white wall to get a decent view. And even then the image had to be pretty small (projector real close) to really see much.

 

Yes to view finders. The are much easier to control and get good capture.

 

The rest has to do with budget and ease of use.

 

if the sky is the limit, get a large screen TV or monitor and you can send video from just about any camcorder. My sony has HDMI output and we can send video right to an HDMI screen. if you can get permission from a lounge or room at your resort, that makes a great way to review video. I've seen setups where they have people ski down to certain place, and stop, step into a small booth and they have it ready immediately on a small video screen.

 

If you have a large enough budget, you could get a shack setup at the top of the race training run with the video play back, and send the video files directly to the shack from the hill for immediate viewing.

 

With even a larger budget, there are several companies now that make video systems that will recognize movement and begin recording on movement. If you configure them to watch a specific area for a trigger to begin recording, you could have an unmanned location that would record a run from the beginning and stop when the skier passes a different location or times out..

 

DC

post #13 of 26

Actually the harder part of the OP's request is processing the videos and getting them online.  The video capture is no problem.  

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

Actually the harder part of the OP's request is processing the videos and getting them online.  The video capture is no problem.  

Part of the problem is how you capture the video. If you capture it in a form that is easy to move and transport, then processing them and putting them on line is pretty straight forward.


The reason I mentioned the first item (self editing) is that if you practice and work at it, it's pretty simple to "self edit" while recording, then it's just a matter of sending the whole day's worth of video up to the cloud and give access to the coaches and athletes so they can watch the clips. If you stop and start each run, they will each have their own file.

 

Sorting them is a little tougher but if you sync the time stamps of the video with a large clock at either the top or bottom of the run, you can get real close to the correct file and go from there. The athletes would have to remember the order they skied in, or they would have to remember the clock times to find their files.

 

There are several free and inexpensive video processing tools that can batch process a whole directory of files if you are talking about trying to compress them for online viewing with slower internet speeds.

 

I have a paid version of Adobe Creative suite which includes premier and can batch process files but that's not a "budget" solution. DVD FAB can batch process a folder and is a bit less expensive.

 

Windows Media player can also process files but I have not played much with that software.

 

Time consuming but cheap is YouTube and it's online processing of video but it's free storage and publication of videos, so that's an option as well.

 

DC

post #15 of 26

Good information here above. IMO the most important thing is the capture itselfe. If that is not good then everything down the line will be as bad or worse. Keep the camera steady and sublty zoom out at an oncomming skier so that he remains the same size on the screen for as long as you can. Usually the quality is good enough these days for less zoom than 10 years ago. I try to keep the camera steady and let the skier go back and forth on the screen.

 

Most of my filming is by free hand. I also use a tripod but I have found that its hard to drag along good ones and the cold makes even the best fluid heads slow. However, I have done lots of video using a tripod by setting the camera to film a race track and then letting it run for a while. I usually stop and turn it off and back on again to split the files for better ediging. This gives me the possibilitie to overlay two skiers on the same screen for some cool and educational visuals. This has totally made the clock useless since on the video I can see exactly where time was made or lost. The information 1 sec slower is usefull but nothing beats seeing exaclty where time was lost. That way I can also compare lines and positions. Very usefull.

 

As mentioned earlier by others, whenever you can, make every run a single take. If you do this smartly you will have a video that needs no editing. However, you will need a video edit software. I use Sony Vegas. The camera Im using is a Canon stand alone dedicated HD camcoder recording to an SD card. Here is the process I use:

 

- get a YouTube account

- record to SD card

- take SD card out of camcoder and put it into your Computer

- import the video clips to a dedicated media folder

- open Sony Vegas and start a new project

- import the media into the project

- edit

- render

- open your YouTube account and upload your video

 

Some of this can be streamlined and there are shortcuts such as post directly to YouTube from Sony Vegas.

 

T

post #16 of 26

I am wondering if there is a way to eliminate the editing/export/compression step.  Possibly a camcorder that records MP4 files?   Shoot each run as a separate file then just upload to youtube or wherever.  

 

I used to shoot dance competitions and baseball combines where we would run a firewire to a Macbook and capture straight into FCP....but that was a tricky operation and prone to crashes... would not want to try it on piste.

post #17 of 26

iPad -> iMovie -> iMovie Theater - nein transfer erforderlich

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

I am wondering if there is a way to eliminate the editing/export/compression step.  Possibly a camcorder that records MP4 files?   Shoot each run as a separate file then just upload to youtube or wherever.  

 

I used to shoot dance competitions and baseball combines where we would run a firewire to a Macbook and capture straight into FCP....but that was a tricky operation and prone to crashes... would not want to try it on piste.

Youtube takes almost all the video formats recorded by most video camera's it's just that the file size is usually huge and would take a very long time to upload if all your files are in the several hundred megabyte range. If you compress the files, then it's less time uploading. for 50 skiers and maybe 200 files that could be a very long time uploading..

 

Most software has "batch" scripts where you can select a folder, and process all the files in the folder to compress them and save them in a new format. Then uploading will not take as long.

 

I've sent up full HD sony "abcvideo.mta" up to youtube without any problem, other than it took several minutes to upload one file.. and I have a 20+Mb upload pipe.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainmaker View Post
 

iPad -> iMovie -> iMovie Theater - nein transfer erforderlich


ipads are not the best tool for recording sports... especially in full sun.

 

Realtime zoom is very tough on an Ipad as well.

 

The best tool for recording skiers is a dedicated camcorder with a view finder. IMHO

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan View Post
 

Youtube takes almost all the video formats recorded by most video camera's it's just that the file size is usually huge and would take a very long time to upload if all your files are in the several hundred megabyte range. If you compress the files, then it's less time uploading. for 50 skiers and maybe 200 files that could be a very long time uploading..

 

Most software has "batch" scripts where you can select a folder, and process all the files in the folder to compress them and save them in a new format. Then uploading will not take as long.

 

I've sent up full HD sony "abcvideo.mta" up to youtube without any problem, other than it took several minutes to upload one file.. and I have a 20+Mb upload pipe.

 

How long does it take for a kid to run the gates, :60ish? I am thinking the recorded file would be in the 20 - 30mb range in that format and you could get a camera that allows you to choose a lower res. or bit rate for smaller files.  Then you could, I think, just upload.  Trying to think of a way to save time of transferring to edit program and back out. Yes I have used batch processing many times for large numbers of sequences.  I would seek to avoid that step altogether and go straight from card or camera to web.  

 

Almost all the shooting and editing I do is in Full 1920 x 1080i, but I export it as 1280 x 720 and limit the bit rate as well for uploading (Vimeo's specs) so it will stream without hanging up (most of the time anyway) .

post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 

A lot of good posts and good information. Thank you. A little elaboration / clarification to the issues:

 

 - capturing video is not an issue, but wondering if there is a way to capture video that lends itself better to editing later

 

- there are normally 2 to 3 racers in the same course at one time, following at a safe distance from each other

 

- with so many racers and the fast pace of them coming through the course, the camera needs to run continuously (no time to review individually at bottom of hill)

 

- watching the uncut video is too time consuming for an individual racer or as a group (too many other racers, 40+, between each of their runs)

 

It boils down to editing the video - segmenting it into individual clips, identifying the racer and the clip, and posting for viewing.

 

If there is not a technical / software solution to the above that doesn't include hours of editing time after practice then we will need to approach it a different way. Such as:

 

- coach at start picks a racer for video run, notifies camera operator, racer reviews film immediately after run

 

- camera operator notifies coach at start when ready for next video run

 

With the number of racers we have each one will not get a video run each practice, more like once or twice a week. Certainly some good things about this approach. I envision a ipad connected to a video camera for viewing playback on the hill. Good immediate feed back and probably better video if focused on one racer start to finish.

 

Video is an awesome tool for realization of what you are really doing and correcting a flaw or improving on the good. There is no question when it comes to things like ski racing or the golf swing it can have a huge impact on improvement. Just tough to do with so many racers at one time.

 

Still hoping for a technical/software miracle...

post #22 of 26

So for your scenario, least expensive, and best option I see is training your video crew to do on hill editing by handling the skiers/communication better.

 

What you need for this scenario is:

 

2 radio's one with an ear bud would work best.

2 people. One somewhere on the course with a good view of the whole course. One to handle the camera.

 

Procedure:

 

Mark a section of the course in the middle somewhere (start and stop)

example would be if the course is 30 gates, plan on recording gates 10-20. (or a specific technical part of the course (ie you want to see how they handle a fall-away pace changing section)

The video person would situate them self somewhere where they can get a good view of the whole section to be recorded. Make sure the start section is brightly and clearly marked so the video person can use it to find the racer and pick them up as they enter the "recorded section" The video capture should be stopped and restarted between each racer. Best scenario for location is if the video person is practiced enough, they would stand somewhere around gate 15 (off to the side enough so they don't have to zoom in and out as much when the skier passes) and get several gates coming and several gates going.. I say "practiced" as this is a skill not easily mastered. You have to keep the person in your view and zoom out and back in as they pass. Then you have to re-acquire your next target quickly as the enter the recording area, while stopping and starting the recording. Second best scenario is well below the recorded area so you can zoom back into the start location as soon as they leave the recording area

 

The spotter or second person ideally would be at the top or be able to radio to the top, when to start the next racer so that after the first racer leaves the recording area, the next skier will be starting through the first few gates and building their rhythm. Timing should be such that as or after the skier leaves the recording section, the video person would have enough time to stop the camera, re focus attention on the start location for the next skier and capture them as they enter the recording area.

 

The spotter should continually update the video person where the next person to capture is on the course. Just in case you have a real slow skier in the middle. You may have to either give up on a few last turns early to capture the next person, or give up the first few turns to allow the first skier to complete their section. This where real practice comes in. If you have to acquire a moving target after they have passed the "brightly marked" start spot, it gets harder.

 

The other logistics part is making sure you know what order they came down in or use Jerseys' or numbered jackets/vests

 

Using a scenario like this would give you a series of video clips that could just be uploaded to your host of choice without editing.. The better the recording, the better the result will be.

 

If you know you have 25 racers and you end up with 25 clips, hopefully the racers and their coaches will know what order they came down in and should be able to find themselves in the group based on time stamps and order of recording.

post #23 of 26

The technical hardware/software solution would be something like a Mobotix Video surveillance camera with lots of smarts.

 

SugarBowl is using Mobotix camera's for their web cams so you can take a look and see how crisp the images are.

 

The problem with Mobotix camera's are they don't have any mechanical Pan/tilt/zoom. The do have digital versions of this.

The second problem with Mobotix camera's are they max out at around 16-24 FPS so it may not be the smoothest video available considering you are trying to capture pretty high speed movement.

 

Using an M25 type camera however, with an appropriate length lens, you can capture a section of the race course from a fixed location. You would then configure the camera to begin recording as a person enters a very specific section. This can be mapped graphically so that when a person crosses a specific line for instance, the camera will start recording. I have not used the end recording feature on these camera's but I know that you can trigger an "end of event" by setting up a second "trigger location" 

 

This will generate "events" that will automatically be recorded.

 

The process could be completely hands free once the camera is configured and setup. The recordings go directly to SD or external hard drives and could be uploaded as is.

 

The challanges would be what happens when racers start to catch up with the person in front of them or they get too close together. The camera start a new "event" when someone enters the recording area, even if the previous person has not left the recording area. This will create an "overlapped" recording which would be both skiers in the same recording and would partially defeat the idea of a separate video for each skier.

 

You also would have to spend a lot of time setting up the recording process. You also would need to have a location that would have a clear view of the area you want to record as well as the ability to "move" the camera if the new course moves to a location that doesn't suit the previous location.

 

There will be a lot more setup and a lot more of a learning curve. With the newer camera models, they capture motion better than they used to and with the proper lens choice you can get a pretty good view. You would also need special software loaded to view smooth motion video from these cameras. Luckily the software is free but does need to be loaded in order to view the recordings.

 

DC

post #24 of 26

The mobotix camera would need a power source external from the camera, a network of some sort and a computer or tablet to aim and configure the recording parameters so while it would be great thing to have at a race arena where many have little shacks with power and network access, it would be a tough sell for a mobile recording scenario. (It's doable but a lot of work)

 

www.mobotix.com if you want to see the technology.

post #25 of 26

Have the kids wear a number and go in order.

 

Option 1. Keep it as is with one continuous clip but just cut clip into longer segments. 50 kids in 5 segments and then title them 'Racers 1 - 10, 11-20...

 

Option 2.  Give every third kid a number and just shoot those kids.  Camera operator starts the clip zoomed in on the racer's number for easier identification.  Then you have individual files that won't need editing.

 

Option 3.  Each kid gets a number and you only allow 1 on the course at a time.  This requires some coordination between the top and bottom as you have to make sure the camera is ready to roll on the next clip before letting them go. Here again you will have individual clips that should not require editing.

 

With that many kids on the course at one time are you just running a wide shot of the entire course the whole time?  I would think a tighter shot keeping an individual in frame would give a much better view of what is going on with their skiing.

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

An option:

 

A good camcorder that can record in MP4 mode (Panasonic HC-V770 looks good), pull the SD card and put in laptop/PC with editing software, upload to Sprongo.

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