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Video camera help on the slopes.

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
not really about Skiing technique but more about instruction and evaluation.
My dad just bought a Sony PC5 Digital Video camera and we found a neat feature, in the lighting/backlighting settings there is a snow setting. He bought the camera because of the size and all the features. Now I'm looking for some help for both of us from those of you that have taken videos on the slopes.

1. What is the best distance to start from and how many turns should we be trying to get.
2. how far away should the skiers pass by the person with the camera and how many turns past are helpful in evaluating the skier.
3. any tips on how to keep the zoom/pan steady.
4. any special things to watch out for or settings that work better for capturing clips for evaluation maybe stills.

Thanks for any help you guys can give us. Both myself and my dad have used video cameras and still cameras extensively for shows and documentation but on the slopes specifically for movement evaluation purposes is a new realm.
post #2 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bob,
movement analysis is our main goal so those tips will help.
I finally saw myself ski for a brief few moments on the camera (dad was trying it) As soon as I get my DV card to transfer these files I can play with them on my computer. I think I know see more clearly what Lyle was trying to fix.

Also got come pictures of my friends skiing. It's a lot easier to do movement analysis when you have stop action Guess that's why we pay the big bucks to have a pro check us out...
post #3 of 39

another aspect is to have the skier ski straight at the camera operator. Obviously, keep a safe distance. You'll need to figure out how far away a person can be, and still take up no less than half of the frame when zoomed all the way in (optical, not digital, as Bob said), and how close they can get before, a) it becomes dangerous, and b) they are too big for the frame when zoomed all the way out.

You'll also want to get side shots. To do this, the shooter should be on the side of the trail with the sun to his back (obvious camera rules). And if you can set up in an area where you get a good amount of view up and down the hill, with a good zoom, you can get a lot of turns in.

Always make sure the shooter sets up in a safe place, and can be seen by other skiers, so that you don't get run into.

You will want to have the skier in a position to see the shooter, have the shooter wave when they have the camera zoomed in, and pointed at the skier, then wait 3-5 seconds before starting, so that the shooter can get the camera rolling, on the skier, and steady. Sometimes, when the shooter waves, if the skier is far away, and you're zoomed way in, then it takes a second to find the skier again because of the shaking when you wave. It also helps sometimes to have the skier wave, if there are a lot of people on the hill. It can be difficult to pick out who is who through a viewfinder from a long distance. Especially if you have sihloettes (sp?? whatever, I'm not looking it up)

It's easiest for the shooter to get the skier coming and going if the shooter is on the side of the trail, set up facing across the trail, so that you can look up, across and down without having to move your feet. Have the skier ski toward the shooter, then work across the trail a bit, so that they pass the shooter on the other side of the trail, then back to the other side of the trail so that the camera can get a shot moving straight away. Having the skier on the other side of the trail when they pass the shooter does a couple of things. It means the shooter won't have to swing the camera as fast, and you'll get more time looking at the skier from the side, and you don't have to zoom out as far, then back in as much.

And remember, you can edit out, but you can't add the stuff you missed.

If the camera has a screen, and you are very safe about it, I've found that the shooter can make a straight, gliding/breaking wedge down the hill while pointing the camera at the skier, and it's not too hard to keep the skier in frame. But this does take some practice. But again, this is dangerous, so be safe. I've found that I can make circles around a skier while keeping a camera pointed at them. It's pretty cool.

Have fun and play around before you try to take serious analysis shots. That way both of you know what to expect.
post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 
Cool JohnH,
More great tips. Thanks. I may just have to "abduct" the camera from my dad for Friday just to play around...

See you then.
post #5 of 39
dchan, I have the same camera as Bob B, a Sony TRV 900. Great advice from both Bob B and John H. One technique I employ is to use maximum optical zoom when the skier starts out and then work the zoom to keep the skier about the same size as they are coming toward me. One other tip is to use a 2 radios (like the Motorola) and talk to each other because if there is a group of skiers where your subject is it is hard to make out your skier and bright sun makes it even harder. I tell the skier when I am ready and wait for him to wave. Once I spot him I give the go ahead signal and start shooting.
Nothing like seeing yourself on tape and remembering instructions that you heard in the past, but either you didn't believe or didn't completely understand.
post #6 of 39
Hey Dchan, Hows the film coming? Keep us informed OK?
post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 
I played a bit on Friday but not much good came out. I found that you need to zoom way out first to find what you are looking for and then slowly zoom in to your subject. I also found that I need to work on keeping the camera out while I'm skiing or getting a set of gloves that I can cut the finger tips off of for better dexterity. I'll keep you guys updated as I experiment more.

Thanks for all the tips guys.
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Ok guys. Thanks for all the tips.
Next step, I got a tape of me, a dv player connected to my computer and a capture program. Any suggestions on resolution and Frame rates or format? I'm trying to put a video clip of 2 turns and I keep getting file sizes of 4-12 MB. I did a quicktime video and got about 2.3MB but I suspect this is a little big too. Just playing around.

Oh yeah if you want to see what I got so far, its at www.sfo.com/~dchan/dchan/skier.mov


Tech info, Setup is Sony DV player with firewire interface/capture. and PIII 500Mhz win98SE and lots of ram (384MB) and 20GB of free drive space to play as well as a 120GB storage drive on my network.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited March 28, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 39
Dchan, 320x240 at 20fps should give you a very small file (about 500-750k) while being clear enough. MPEG is best for compatibility. Also, if you could make the file available for download, instead of streaming, that would help, because then people could use whatever media player they have on their computer.
post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 
If you want to download it for now since I'm not at home to change it, you can go to www.sfo.com/~dchan/dchan
This will give you the index and you can copy the file to your own machine.
post #11 of 39
Great skiing.
post #12 of 39
Did I mention that you are a very good skier?
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I'm working on it.
post #14 of 39
One more thing, usually you can correct the exposure in the software. So the person operating the camera doesn't have to worry about it. Could you make it a little brighter to bring out the details of yourself?
post #15 of 39
I tried loading it, but it was loading at 2.2k/sec. Is the server that it's on, on a slow modem? I can usually download really quick since I'm on a direct connect.

Although I've seen you ski, and you do ski very well. Since I already gave you my input, I won't say any more. However, remind me... what skis are you on? As I recall, they don't have much sidecut(?). If that's the case, it will affect my comments to you on the hill slightly. but just slightly. I'd still hold to what I said.
post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
I would download it instead of using the streaming way. It seems to hang and I have a t3 here at work and it takes forever to download. (see my second post to miles) It's also a big file so I will see what I can do about making it smaller tonight.
On 2001 X-scream series 187CM

Like I said earlier, I'll play more tonight after all our guests leave and yes I will try to lighten it a bit. We host dinner on Wed for my friends.
post #17 of 39
Hey dchan-

I could not help looking at some of the other movies in your directory. I really like the SPORTSZE.MPG. I know some of the European bike fans take the sport VERY seriously but I can't help asking if the sequence was a set up?

Gotta get out on my bike...
post #18 of 39
Dchan - just played skier.mov video - sweet moves!

Do I detect a "phantom move" (or whatever it was called before HH) going on (as seen on the last left turn) - tipping tip of unweighted inside ski on a little toe edge in a narrow stance at initiation of the turn? Or it is just an illusion on my part? Just curious...

Thanks for a video!
post #19 of 39
Alex, he's not just tipping the inside ski, but STEERING it at the end of the turn. This makes his skiing much more versatile. And, he does not appear to lift the ski at all. He could have applied steering as soon as he changed edges, if he wanted to. He probably does do that that frequently. This is better than mere phantom foot action.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by milesb (edited March 28, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 39
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure that was not set up. I think it was actually a television clip. Some one sent that to me. I thought it was very funny. As was the Micky d's commercial.

Miles is correct, I hope I am not lifting or unweighting the inside ski. I think I am moving the inside leg/thigh down the hill which should move my whole CM down the hill. There should be some steering.

Miles and whoever else is checking it out,
Remember when I asked about "hip angulation How hip are you?" Check me on this but there is a little extra countering of the hips as I complete my turns. I think this is what Lyle and Scott were talking about in my skiing that I need to fix. I had to stop action the clip in order to see it.
I'll see if I can put a better clip up there soon. I'm still trying out different video editors and playing with the size. Be warned I just popped up a few AVI's but they are huge. I just needed to move them to work to try a software package I have there.
post #21 of 39

It loaded really fast this morning. I wish I could just grab a frame and post it, but I don't have that much computer ability.

If you look one frame at a time, in the middle of your left turn, when you are facing straight down the fall line (it's the frame immediately after the couple that are slightly out of focus), you'll see what I was referring to, as per the counter rotation thing. This seems to happen more in your left turns than in your right. And in the frames that are slightly out of focus, just before you hit the fall line, you'll notice that your torso is facing outside of the turn. In the right turn, at the beginning of the clip, you are not doing this, and your torso is facing the proper direction. The feeling you should be going for, is one of early rotation in your left turns (only a feeling). Doing this will add some stability, make the skis less prone to skidding, and give you more power throughout the belly of the turn. It'll also add more consistancy to your left turns when you hit unfriendly conditions. Doing this will also make reaching turns easier to link.
post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks JohnH
I'll check it out again tomorrow. Going for one last Hurrah...

unless we get more snow...
post #23 of 39
I've printed out these great tips and will try them out this winter. We bought the Panasonic DV camera, and I have just ordered a new PC for home that is capable of running video editing software, with a CD Writer.

My tip for great videoing on the slopes - wear glove liners so your hands don't totally freeze while filming (us chicks get cold hands easily!), and buy the expensive model that is small and has a large LCD screen. I find on the slopes it is easier using the LCD than view finder although sun glare is a problem.

We bought the camera for our last Canada excursion in 2000, I thought we took heaps but only took 1 hour over 3 weeks. When we come next year I am going to take 3 times that and do more editing at home. As someone noted above, you can copy over it if it's no good, and it is impossible to get that footage again. I think our friedns get a bit bored watching it but we love it. We watch it every now and then to encourgae us to save harder for the next trip to Canada, which is Feb/Mar 2002 if all goes well.

We are including Fernie, so if the Bears decide on Fernie for the next gathering we might be able to time it right.
post #24 of 39
Curious in the discussion here about the use of video by ski schools. Having spent a fair amount of time taking golf lessons last year in which my golf pro used video tape of my golf swing as a teaching tool, I wonder why more ski instructors, especially in private lessons don't make use of video equipment. I could see an instructor watching you ski, making some suggestions and demonstrating some techniques, then videotapping you as you work on those techniques and reviewing the film with you on the ride back up the chair. Video is such an incredible teaching tool in sports, I'm a little surprized that it hasn't been made a part of the teaching process. Then again, maybe it has and I'm just not aware of it.
post #25 of 39
I haven't read all the preceeding posts in the thread but just in case it hasn't been said:

First tip to anyone who uses one of these - don't use the little side screen for viewing as you shoot. And set the eye viewer so it is in line with the main optics. What I mean is don't angle it down a few degrees. In my experience most people do this, I suppose becasue they think it is more professional. In fact, the viewer is able to be adjusted to an angle principally so that left eye dominant people can use their left eye. It's that simple!

If shake is a problem (viewing at an angle descirbed above can contirbute to this problem too), then a simple way is to hang a short length of tube (around 8 inches) fromthe tripod thread on the bottom, with some small additional weighting added to the bottom of the tube, will help but at some inconveninece. Cheapo camera tripods have a piece that is ideal for the purpose.

Personally I find that even though small they don't shake and I have even shussed down behind my wife on a without is being a problem but I can't vouch for other cameras.

Keeping the camera steady
post #26 of 39
a probably unwanted critique of Dchan's video:

IMO, your legs are slightly too close together

you pinch your side somewhat, it seems, to crank your skis around... it's probably counterrotation, but from the video i cant really tell. If it is counter, it seems to be too much, but again that's very hard to tell from the video.

finally, you should apply pressure more evenly throughout the turn instead of at one point of the turn.

ah getting a phone call g2g

It's not bragging if it's true - Mohammed Ali

There are two reasons for everything, the good reason and the real reason
-J. Pierpont Morgan

If life was easy everyone would be successful.
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks. That was one of the things I've been working on. When I'm thinking about it I ski with the feet a little farther apart. working on even wider stance. That's a habit that I've been trying to break for a few seasons. it's getting better.
post #28 of 39
Bob B, Do you have an additional telephoto lens for your Sony?
post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 
Have you looked at the video I popped up on my site? Are the jitters that look like almost out of focus caused by camera shake and the the stablizer trying to compensate?
or have you ever seen that before?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited April 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #30 of 39
Dchan, since you asked, it looks like what happened is that as you are coming into the fall line, your weight is on the inside ski, for whatever reason (hit a small bump, maybe?). You can see that the inside ski is bent and snow is spraying from it. The outside ski, that was bent in the previous frame, straightens out. Then when you put your weight back on it, it is not going in the direction you want, so you make a
somewhat abrupt steering/ edging move, which disrupts the carve. So it looks to me like the "excess countering" is probably a result of recovering from a bobble, nothing more. It's very hard to get both the video and the skiing perfect at the same time, isn't it!
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by milesb (edited April 07, 2001).]</FONT>
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