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SportsCAD Software for M/A

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I saw a demo of this software at a PSIA clinic a couple of weeks ago and was quite impressed. I thought others might be interested.

Sports CAD Software
post #2 of 18
It looks like a pretty powerful package.
I have been playing around with a 30-day trial download of the DartFish package that was used for the skiing special effects coverage of the winter Olympics in Salt Lake.

Very similar features, appears to be a more attractive price.
I am going to investigate it more before I buy anything.
post #3 of 18
I've always wanted to use video in teaching. It was meaningful for me to see the playback, to be able to relate the visual images to what I was being told and what I was feeling and to relate images of my skiing to demonstrations I had witnessed. I should think that side by side comparative imagery would be useful. I seem to recall reading about such software, in use by race coaches. Is this that or something else?
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
The clinic instructor loaded clips from the latest PSIA D-Team video and we analyzed the right and left turns of a skier by flipping and overlaying the turns on top of each other--this showed very dramatically the areas where even these elite skiers could make improvements.

I got the impression this was just one of many tricks this software could do. But note the caveat:

A second of video will take up approximately 3 mb of disk space.
post #5 of 18
Look at this one only $40 www.v1sports.com
post #6 of 18
I downloaded this software and started to play with it. It is very interesting and useful. A bit like playing a video game, and it really clears up a lot of confusion fast. But I have a warning, it can be brutal if you haven't seen yourself on video before, at least for me it was. I don't need images of Bode next to me to see I have a long way to go. For all you instructors looking a for a way to do detailed movement analysis with video, this should be a big help.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip, Novice. Santa is far more likely to allow me the $40 software than the Deluxe Gold Model from SportsCAD, but something tells me the $900 job has some bells and whistles that the $40 software does not.

I'm with Arcadie--I think video is the fastest form of communication in coaching.
post #8 of 18
Right you are Nolo, my version didn't do all the things that were demonstrated on the V1sports web site. I asked about it and found out that it was their V1 professional version that was used for the demo, it sells for $995. But, they said if I was a resort or coach with my own web site I could get it for only $395! What a great deal, needless to say I did not qualify.

One of the things I like about this company is they give you access to great instructors, I saw several dteam members listed. I also play some golf and noticed some very well known coaches on their golf site. I haven't tried getting an evaluation from any of them yet, but I will soon. They said the ski coaches using internet are just starting to do it so I plan to give them some time before I try it.

It should be fun using my camera to capture world cup races on tv, and then watching some of the top skiers side by side. My $40 version isn't the pro stuff, but it can do a fair amount for the price.
post #9 of 18

Do you use video in your teaching? Do you use sme kind of software with it?
post #10 of 18
Nolo - thanks for the link.

Computerized video analysis software is the most underused potential improvement to ski instruction. There are two big huge benefits:
1) An effective means to introduce change in the victim's skiing
2) An effective means to improve an instructor's eye

I've been using a software package called NEAT for 5 years. It's also now available for $99. But their web site (www.neatsys.com)was down the last time I checked. I've used the V1 package for golf and plan on ordering a copy as soon as my new PC (with a [cough] modern operating system) is up and running. I started with a Pentium 2 and 2GB of disk space. A $500 PC has more power and space these days. I use my software mostly for staff training.

Some might argue that using a computer is a waste of time versus using a VCR. Yes, it takes more time to digitize the video (i.e. get it on the computer) than to just play it back in the camera or on a VCR. But unless you have a high end VCR (i.e. the ones with a "jog shuttle dial"), your ability to do frame by frame analysis is pretty lame. With a computer it's much more time efficient in the analysis session to get to the section you want to look at and it's much more efficient to analyze. A top pro can see what he wants to see at full speed. Us mere mortals need to have things slowed down and often need to see the same clip several times to see what we need to see. For this the computer is far better than a VCR.

And a computer can do things that a VCR can not. The ability to draw reference lines helps one see banking, check hand height, etc. An angle tool let's you trace and exactly measure feet to hip to head angulation or ski angles in the snow. Digital flipping can turn left turns into right turns. And side by side comparisons (two clips moving at the same time, in synch) can help identify what moves to do when (this is especially cool when the reference "expert" is your own digitally flipped turn). One could argue that the drawing tools are mostly fluff, but they do help more than not having them. The side by side capability is extremely powerful.

Of course side by side analysis is much easier to do when you have a database of reference clips. I've been asking PSIA for support for this for years to no avail. I'm thinking that the recent price reductions in analysis software are going to strengthen my case. I've been building my own database of clips by purchasing tapes from events and digitizing the examiners. I'd love to share, but I can't without PSIA approval.

One of the non-obvious benefits of computer analysis is "eye training". Many less experienced instructors have trouble "spotting things" in real time. Using the computer to slow things down (and freezing frames) to show exactly where in a turn things occur and then replaying the clip over and over at slightly faster speeds helps the newbies learn to spot things in real time much faster than the old method (i.e. years of experience or time spent fumbling with the VCR remote)

Here are some tips for skiing movement analysis using computer video:
When you're taping skiers, you get better results having the skiers come straight at you keeping the camera man in the middle of the turns. Taping from behind does not show as much. Taping from the side can help to show alignment problems, but is not necessary most of the time. Taping while moving is difficult and usually results in too shaky a picture to digitize well. Straight on shots are the easiest to do side by side comparisons with.

Use a wave, delay and go hand signaling system. When the camera man waves, the skier who is going to go next should wave, count to 3 and then go. Before the camera man waves, he should zoom out a little. The hand waving knocks the camera around a bit. The count to 3 delay gives the camera man time to steady the camera, acquire which person out the group is coming next, then zoom in to optimum size before the skier starts moving.

The skier should stay at least 25 feet away from the camera man. Any closer is hard to tape and increases the chance of heart failure in the camera man.

Select relatively flat terrain (versus moguls) so you don't lose the feet. Pick your starting and ending points between rolls in the trail.

Keep the victim about 1/2 the size of the viewfinder for best tradeoff of ability to keep framed and big enough on screen to see details.

Medium size turns are the best for analysis unless you are specifically working on something. For large turns, keep the skier a little smaller (zoom out more) and leave more space in front of the skier in the picture to make it easier to keep the skier in the picture.

You only need to tape 4-5 turns. 10-15 seconds is a long clip.

It does not matter if someone makes good turns or bad turns. It is hysterically funny to compare "good" turns to "bad" turns. The same fundamental movements are going on either way.

Buy a telephoto lens to increase the optical zoom. Digital zoom decreases the detail that can be seen.

And as much as I make jokes about the "victim", it's important for video analysts to point out the positive aspects of what they see. Everyone naturally jumps to the negative things. After a lot of practice, I make most of my sessions about 50/50 on what is working well versus where improvements can be made.

If you have not tried out computer video analysis software, make a New Year's resolution and just do it. You can download trial versions of analysis software for FREE. You've already got a computer. Camcorders are a dime a dozen. The only tricky part is getting the video on the computer. With digital camcorders it's stupid easy. With old style camcorders, you need to spend a minimum of $50 to get the hardware you need. If you need help, just PM me.
post #11 of 18
TheRusty, I been thinking of getting a regular digital still camera to take short 10-15 second videos of my students. Most of these cameras will output to a computer or Tv. Do you see a problem with this? It would seem to me that with the right size memory card and a good telephoto lens it work and still keep the size and weight down. Fugi has one I've been looking at with a 6x optical zoom. From your experience, what are the drawbacks to this setup if any?
post #12 of 18
Good points therusty! I don't think people can really appreciate how useful this software is until they try it. It would probably help to clear up some of the debates that go on this forum.

One thing I did not understand is why you said it took a long time to get the video into the computer. I use a firewire connection with V1 and it takes no time, as fast as can I record video it is on the PC. A person at V1 told me the will soon have several models that V1 users can download for free, It should fun, but I use my camera to record directly from the tv into V1, so there are a lot of models available.
post #13 of 18

I don't have any hands on experience with video taken on still cameras. I've gone the other way, using my video cam to take stills. My experience viewing video on hill is that for me they are helpful, but for mere mortals the small LCD screen size makes it difficult to see fine points. The lack of slow motion also makes it tough for mere mortals to see EXACTLY what you're trying to point out. That said, it would certainly be better than nothing.

Potential problems with still cameras over video cameras:
frame rate - video cameras typically get 30 fps - some of the still cams only do 10 fps
image stabilization - I don't see the still cameras advertising this feature


It's not that it takes a "long time". It takes more time than just hooking the camera up to a TV and hitting play. With either my analog or my digital camcorder, I must play the tapes in real time in order to get the video captured on to a PC. So if I'm video taping a group of 5 people doing 4 segments of 10 seconds each, it's going to take me at least 3 1/2 minutes to get the clips onto the computer. Cutting out the dead air, making separate clips for each person and making quick notes of what to point out usually means a minimum of 10 minutes of "prep" needed before I can review the clips with the victims. I usually tell my crew to take another run or hit the cafeteria while I get set up inside. Our other training staff members who use pure video tape, just come off the hill and go straight to the TV.

When I do a formal analysis session for a student, I usually spend at least 10-15 minutes digitizing their clips and preparing a "lesson plan" noting all the things I want to point out and the frame numbers where the supporting examples can be seen. I'll also review my clip database to find an examiner or two making similar turns that I can use for side by side reference. This way, when I'm doing the analysis with my student (which I video tape the audio discussion and the computer screen), I maximize the use of their time and the resulting video tape end product "flows" (i.e. no fumbling around). My opinion is that this creates a better product for the student than sitting around getting a quick comment and maybe a tiny bit of crude slow motion.

If anything, I think more use of computerized video analysis would increase the amount of debate on this board. There's so much more to talk about. And there's nothing more conducive to vigorous debate than having two people see two undeniable but opposite truths from the same tape! (see the advice on changing stance thread )
post #14 of 18
The world cup action at Park City made great video models to record for comparisons. I'm ooking at different top skiers because my skiing is not even close. This stuff is a lot of fun for a non-instructor like me, you guys would have a blast with it.
post #15 of 18
I just discovered one more thing that works great as video models in the V1 program, it is a video called winning runs from USSA, you can buy it at www.USSA.org. It is a lot of fun to watch two top racers side by side.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the good ideas, guys.
post #17 of 18
Just one warning to add to this thread, don't let your kids use your program. I let my son who is into big air and half pipe events use my V1, and I haven't been able to get near my desk top ever since. He said it is really great to spot any problems your are having in the air. I never have any problems in the air, because the only time I'm in the air is when I'm in an airplane. Looks like I have to buy another copy of V1 for my notebook, good thing it is cheap.
post #18 of 18

Thanks a million for sharing with everyone about V1. This is way better than trying to analyze frame by frame with the video camera & printouts of each frame.
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