Hello group. I coach a little league baseball team and I'd like to video my kids taking baseball swings and then play it back to them to discuss improvements we can make. I've seen videos on the web where the author is able to play it back in slow motion and freeze it at a precise moment in time. He then uses some tool to draw on the presentation. For example he will freeze the frame as the player makes contact and then circles things or draws an arrow to illustrate proper technique. One application even calculates the angle of the bat or the angle of the players arm. I can't seem to find anything out there that features this kind of capability. Windows Media Player has nothing like that and it's very difficult to stop a full motion video at a point in time or even slow it down enough to look frame by frame of a player as he/she swings through a pitch. Basically I want to be able to replicate what this coach has done. https://youtu.be/1d6PYsgMbho
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I would suggest that you save all the fancy stuff for a later time, and instead simply use a camera that can film at 120 fps (or faster) and then simply play back that video while you freeze the video and point to the screen to illustrate the proper technique. You can simply move your finger back and forth on the screen to illustrate angles, etc.
If you play 120 fps at 30 fps, you will get really nice, very smooth, very professional slow motion.
The reason I recommend this is that you probably have a dozen kids, and you also probably need to spend time with them, rather than fiddling with software.
If, after you've use the simple setup I just recommended, you feel you really need something more, at that point you can explore other options. However, I think you will find that all other options take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.
Thanks John. I took a quick search of video cameras that can shoot 120 fps and the lowest price point I saw was 700.00. I'm guessing the 120 fps requirement eliminates most hand cameras like the Sony Handycam. Should I just expect to spend in the neighborhood of $1k?
GoPros cost like $299! I say that because they can do 120fps, as well as other framerates.
Btw, the software that sports pros use to analyze clips often cost an arm & a leg (because they can charge that much and people will still pay!).
But this one appears to be opensource: https://www.kinovea.org/download.html
Scott is right: you need to look around a little more. 120 fps is now quite common, and you shouldn't need to spend $700 to get it.
The key to finding something which is affordable is to NOT try to get 120 fps at 4K. That will be expensive. All you need for instructional video is plain HD (1920x1080). Some cameras provide the higher fps at the slightly lower-res 1280x720, but that will be plenty good enough for your purposes. This is what my little Sony Action Cam (AV100V) does when it shoots 120 fps. I'm not suggesting that you get a GoPro or a Sony Action Cam, although both would let you put the camera in places that a normal camera might not fit.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 7th Aug 2020 at 09:56.
I really appreciate you guys. I have a Go Pro. It's an older version circa 2012. I'll check out their newer models.
There are two big problems in using a sports camera for your application:
1. They do not provide a viewfinder, so it is tough to frame the shot. You have to be able to get exactly the right framing in order to demonstrate the swing.
2. It may be difficult to attach them directly to a monitor for real time playback. If you want to show one or more people what you just took, you'll need a big monitor. Many video cameras have an HDMI output, and controls directly on the camcorder that lets you control playback.
Problems? What problems?
1. Units like gopros have very wide field of view, so usually if you point them in the right direction, the subject will be in the shot. So no viewfinder is necessary. Downside is subject image might be smaller, so you might have to get a little closer.
2. Gopros often have hdmi output options, as well as possible streaming options via wifi/bluetooth.
The fisheye is a pretty big issue for batting practice because the distortion will detract from the instruction.
Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of these cameras and wouldn't have bought one if I didn't think they had a use. I've used mine for weddings where it can be totally hidden in a bouquet, or placed behind the bride where no one will notice.
As one example of how I use it, here is a three-camera shoot of a fashion show a few years ago. I set the camera up between two plants on stage, pointing towards the audience. My Sony Action camera has a setting which stabilizes the image and while it was totally unneeded for this tripod-mounted shot, I used it because it narrows the field of view and reduces the fisheye. However, even with that, and even with some "defishing" software, the shot is still a little jarring and I only used it sparingly. You'll see the first use of the action cam at about the 15-second mark. (The model is my wife, BTW.)
Last edited by johnmeyer; 7th Aug 2020 at 22:14. Reason: clarification
I disagree. It's all in how you set it up.
I've got similar rigs, and have done similar gigs.
They (gopros) may not be optimal, but for the price, they are very capable and more than adaquate. Yes, one may have to de-fisheye depending on the proximity of the main subject, but that is not the hurdle you make it out to be. Let's let the OP be the judge.