Videotaping Your Masters Swimmers by Ben Christoffel, Indy Aquatic Masters (2012)


[introduction, by Scott Bay]
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Scott Bay; I am the Coaches Chair for United States Masters Swimming [USMS]. I would like to welcome you all to the Masters track; our topic today is going to be: video recording your swimmers. We are fortunate enough to have Ben Christoffel with us, who, in his spare time, aside from being a Masters swim coach, he also owns Liquid Media which does quite a bit of videotaping and digital production. If you have ever been in the USMS website, taken a look at his videos or the YouTube videos produced by USMS, that is all the work of Ben and his staff. He is also a swimmer, which is also helpful as well. He was a multi-time conference champion at Ball State; he is a 12-time USMS National Champion/All-American. I would like you guys to also help me in welcoming: Ben Christoffel.

[Christoffel begins]
Thanks, guys. Alright. Scott pretty much covered my background. I am out of Indianapolis, Indiana. I have been coaching for the last five years or so, and have been swimming all of my life. But more importantly, I have been around video for a long period of time now, ever since high school and into college. And in my professional career, that is what I do as my profession. So I see a lot of different sorts of equipment and I try to apply them to Swimming, because that is ultimately one of my passions and I want to make sure that I am spreading as much knowledge as possible. And also, for my team, I also put together underwater, video-analysis classes and courses. I think a lot of you also do that as well. It could be a money-maker for your club or can just be an added bonus to be a member of your club.

By no means is this presentation meant to be “the end all, be all” of video analysis for underwater videoing your swimmers. This is just meant to be an informational presentation, focused primarily on the resources and equipment that are available today. And the workflow which is often overlooked by coaches. They go-in and they do not think through, start-to-finish, what are you going to do with that video. So, I try to bring to the table those types of things.

Why do we video?
Okay, first things first: why do we use video? Why do we use video analysis? I thought long and hard about this because I am on-deck constantly and I am coaching and I am trying to teach people things, I am trying to tell people things. But, oftentimes, they do not get it right away or they want to see it. It is true: seeing is believing—seeing is believing. And really, a lot of people’s brains work that way: it is all about what they see. They are very visual. And they want to have that tangible thing that they can look at and be able to correct whatever it is that is wrong, and translate what you have been saying all along into a… dropped elbow. “Oh! That’s what a dropped elbow looks like. That’s what a high elbow looks like.” So, above the water and below the water, seeing is believing.

Also, now, it is about instant feedback. You have these video cameras that could go underwater. And you can pull them up right away and they have got a nice, little LCD screen that you can play back. So it is instant feedback on the deck; instantly showing your swimmer what it is that he or she is doing incorrectly and what they can do to improve.

Also, analyzing and educating. You are analyzing your swimmers’ stroke, and you are educating them. You are not only educating them, you are educating yourself at the same time. The more you do it—the more you practice doing underwater video analysis—the more you can identify who is doing something wrong. And if it works for one person, it could work for this person, or vice versa. And you can continually learn and build that library of education to pass on to your swimmers.

This is a short video of U.S. Masters Swimming Executive Director Rob Butcher. How many of you in the room are Masters coaches? Very good. This was something we did at Omaha [location of the 2012 USMS Summer Nationals]. I will talk to you a little bit about how nice of conditions we had in Omaha with that pool, and why it is important that you plan these things when you take underwater video.

What do you need?
Okay, so what do I need? This is part of the planning phase: what do I need? A lot of coaches do not go through that: they have their iPhone or they have their video camera or they are at a practice; a lot of times, it is impromptu. Well, I like to plan; I am a big planner. First of all, you need a swimmer, right? You need a coach. You obviously need a pool to do this in, a video camera and a plan.

The reason I say planning is important is because the more complicated you get with how you are going to present this to the swimmer, the more variables come into effect. The water is too hazy, there is not enough light in here, I do not have the pool time, I do not have the lane space: these are all the things that if you had a controlled environment, it would be great. You could show people their stroke mechanics and get something done. But a lot of times, like I said, it is impromptu. And I just stress, plan these things out. Do not just tell somebody, “Meet me on deck, and we’ll get your video real quick.” Put some thought into it, and see about planning actual sessions where you can get multiple people done, or just one person done and it is quality. So focus on quality and not just quantity.

Who to video?
Who are the good candidates for video analysis? In my experience, the best candidates are not necessarily those swimmers that have been lifetime/lifelong swimmers: the ones in college, the ones that came out of college and swam, the ones that swam in high school, even. A lot of them just want to be just left alone, get their yardage and leave. However, there are those demographics, the sector of your swim club, that really want the feedback, including triathletes. Triathletes love data; they love the feedback. I would say that they want to see the proof in what you are saying. So focus on the triathletes. Try to get them to… strike-up the conversation of: why do you need underwater video analysis, and why it is important to them to swim 1500 meters faster. Why do they drop their elbow? Why do they look like they run when they swim? So those are all things that you can do to help them get better.

Also, the novice and the beginner; the ones that started when they were 30 or 40 or even 50 years-old. You know, they are barely making the practice or they are barely making the yardage—you have got them in lane 1 or lane 8 or what not. They really want that attention; they want to learn, they want to get faster. And they have more ground-to-gain than the elite athletes, that are your elite swimmers on your team. They can go from 0-to-60 pretty quick. If you show them a video, you give them a little bit of a time, they can quickly become fast, or faster, than what they started off at. It is always nice to have that low bar and be able to raise it for them; and video analysis is one of those things that is very helpful in doing so.

Alright, again, back to planning. The workflow. When I produce videos or I go on shoots, I always think about workflow, and how media gets from a camera to a hard drive to my edit station. And how I edit it and how long it is going to take. A lot of times, like I said, coaches will start with good intentions: videotape their athletes. And then it will stop there. I want to take you farther than that. And if you think about videotaping your athletes as being 20% of the job and the other 80% being the back end of analysis and storage and sharing. That is what I want to share with you, because I know that all of you have different ways of analyzing your swimmers. And I do not want to tell you how to analyze your swimmers; that is not what I am here for. I am here to help you become more efficient when you analyze your swimmers with video.

The first thing is record: Everybody has got to record the video. And then playback—a lot of video cameras have the playback with the screen—you can play it back right on deck. Some video cameras do not; you have to utilize a laptop or what not—we will get into that. Analyze. You are obviously going to have to play-that-back and then show them what it is that you are doing. And there are a lot of tools out there to help show them what it is that you are trying to explain. And then sharing. That has recently become a lot easier to do in this Internet Age. Within the last 5-8 years, we have seen a large growth in the efficiency of moving video from one place to another.

How many of you own a camera right now? Alright, so quite of few, okay. So equipment. Everybody, I think, has seen something like this; I do not know how long you have been in the coaching profession but you have probably seen something like this. Somebody said: I heard that I can get a lipstick camera or a security camera from somewhere. And then I can attach it to a battery, and then I can attach it to a weight, and I then can put it on a pole, and then I can move it around this cart, and then I can get a TiVo, and this and that… and then, all of a sudden, it is $500 worth of stuff. Sometimes, it is just $100 for the camera.

But I am here to tell you that while this is great and you certainly have good intentions building something like this—and some of you have succeeded and it works great—in my experience, this has not been all that reliable, for me at least. First of all, there is a propensity to break things pretty easily, if you are not careful. And I am not one that is very careful. So, easy to break. You do not have much support… once something breaks, you do not have much support to go ahead and get that fixed. And it does have a lot of elements to it. When you think about a security camera, let’s say: a battery and a wire that goes to an analog signal to a display—those things.

If you are going to go out on your own and you have some advice from somebody that says: Ah, just go get that lipstick camera. I would suggest you skip that. Unless you think that you can get it done quickly and efficiently, and it is going to last, and you are going to be that maintenance guy and take care of all that; then go ahead and do it. But I would suggest not taking that step and consider some of the fallout.

Some of you have seen these things: the Flip cameras. When they first came out, Cisco had a Flip camera. It was HD [high definition]; it had an underwater housing as well. Since then, Cisco has cancelled that. But, I want to say about 5 or 6 years ago, it was a revolution that people could have an HD camera in their pocket. That is pretty incredible, because, at least in my world, we were in SD [standard definition] for a long period of time. And HD was there, but it was very, very expensive.

Once, HD became accessible by the masses—and Flip camera just burst that door open—then you have all these copycats. You have the Kodak PlaySport; how many people own a Kodak PlaySport? 1, 2… so that is one [copycat]. You have got the Samsung, the GE-version and the DXG; all water proof, all shockproof, all HD. And a lot of them say Full HD. The difference being regular HD, or 720p HD, is a lower version of HD. And then 1080p is a higher version of HD.

How many of you are familiar with HD formats? Okay, so about a quarter of you. Coaches need… there is no real need for you guys to study this. But if you are going to do underwater video analysis, you kind of have to know a little bit about what the difference is [between HDs]. And also when you see these other products out here, you should ask the question: Is this HD? Is this a 16:9 frame? Does this do 60 frames-per-second? These are all the things that you should think about because fitting that swimmer in that box, that is 4:3 versus 16:9, is a lot harder. And 60 frames-a-second may not look as smooth as 30 frames-a-second. And 720… well 720 looks pretty much the same as 1080i or 1080p. Just know the difference that, really you’re looking for an HD product.

I like to shoot things at 60 frames-per-second. So when I slow it down, I can really go frame-for-frame, 60 frames-a-second. 30-frames is a little bit slower; you do not want to go any less than 30 frames-per-second. You see a lot of these security cameras, like the homemade solutions, that are really slow compared to some of these other solutions—like 60 frames-per-second or 30 frames-per-second. So try to keep it at 30 frames-per-second. Also, file size increases when you go from 30 to 60. You have got to keep that in mind, too. Also, when you go from 720p to 1080p, file sizes get bigger. That means longer upload times—we will discuss that—and longer transfer times. If you are trying to email this to somebody—which I do not recommend, and I will give you a solution other than email to send the people. But I would recommend: 720p, 30 frames-per-second—that is normal. You will be able to do a great analysis with that; you will be able to keep your swimmers in frame; and they will be appreciative of the quality that you are providing.

Now the drawback to these Flip cameras: while they are nice and convenient, you kind of have to get into the water. Or at least have a swimmer videotape you, or stick your arm in the water and kind of guess where it is going to be pointing. These cameras typically have wide enough lenses to be able to capture what you need to be captured. But that is the drawback.

Also, these will record to an external device or these record to an SD card. Unlike some of the solutions that are down-on-the-floor right now, it is not easy to run a wire… or, really, it is impossible for most of these to run a wire off of one of these cameras to a live DVR device, or what not, so you can take it out and be able to stop motion right away. You kind of have to take it out, show them the little screen; or take out the SD card and put it in the computer. There are some drawbacks to this.

But I do believe that every one of the coaches should invest in something under $100. I have a PlaySport right here; this cost me $70, I believe, at B&H Photo. B&H Photo is one of the stores that I go to a lot because they usually have free shipping on everything and they are usually very competitive. But this particular thing fits in your pocket, goes underwater; shock proof, waterproof.

And look for waterproof. Do not look for water-resistant; look for waterproof. Waterproof is very important. If you go water-resistant, you are probably going to get a leak at some point and then you have to spend another $100 to get a new one. But this is waterproof up to 3 meters. This is kinda of a saturated market: everybody has got one of these. This has kind of replaced the Flip camera, which went out, and all of these other cameras. There are at least a dozen of these types of cameras out there. But this is what I trust right here.

Another set of equipment is your iPhone. How many people have an iPhone? Oh, a lot of people have an iPhone. Smart phones, in general, are incredible devices. Star Trek had it right when they had their communicators: they knew the future. Everybody has got one stuck to their head, or they are looking down at one—I am sure a few of you in here right now are doing that. But it is part of our lifestyle now.

They have come up with solutions to help us coaches, apparently, waterproof our things. So waterproof is a big positive for these iPhones. A few of my favorites appear up here. I do not own the pink Krusell, but that is a waterproof case. I do have the LifeProof case right here. And if you want to take a look at it before you leave, you can see what it looks like and how heavy it is. A lot of times, when you see a case, it looks deceptive online. And then you get it, and it does not fit in your pocket or it is cumbersome or what not. But by all means, take a look, try it out. Basically, a lot of these things are glorified ziploc bags. But, again, they have guarantees on them and they tell you to make sure you do x, y and z before you put your iPhone in. And your iPhone is a pretty big investment; it is a pretty hefty investment. They also have things for your iPad as well. So those are the things to consider.

The beauty of a mobile device is the fact that you can take the video and you can upload directly, or email directly, that video to that person. I know Mel Goldstein, from Indy Aquatic Masters, does that quite a bit: he takes a video at somebody, emails them right away, on-deck. It is a very simple solution, but it is something that, I think, every coach should have. It is one of those low-cost things that every coach should have, along with your standard, waterproof video camera. Now, again, you run into the same issues that you run into with the hand-held Flip-camera type things: you are sticking your hand in the water, you are getting in the water, to share this video you have got to upload it somewhere, and what not. But at least with the iPhone, you have that connectivity. You are on the grid, per se; you can upload it.

Any questions before….

[inaudible question from the audience]

This one, I have been down at least 6 feet and it has not caved in. So there are some rules to… but definitely read the warnings, and heed the warnings, because you have a $400 phone. They are rock-solid. I do not think they would put this out; they would probably be sued pretty quickly if they put something out and it was not tested properly. But these are pretty good. I would stick to just surface level: put them in the water, video somebody, take them out. I would not spend long periods of time with your scuba gear down at the bottom of the pool, if that is what you are asking.

[inaudible question from the audience]

The iPhone, I believe, I would have to look. I believe it is 30 frames-per-second at 720p. The new iPhone is probably going to be 1080p or 1080i. Ironically, nobody is shooting, at least in the networks, nobody is shooting 1080p; it is either 1080i or 720p. But 1080p seems very… the difference between 1080p and 1080i: 1080i is interlaced video, 1080p is progressive. 1080p, progressive video, is essentially better for motion; progressive scanning is better for sports and motion and what not. Although 1080i tends to yield a little bit more fine detail. So if you are a shooter and you are out shooting nature, for instance, or whatever, and it is just a still king of thing, you are more apt to choose 1080i. There is a whole other level of HD that is out there that I won’t… that I will touch briefly on. But again, just stick with that 720p-30 frames as a bar and stick with that. Do not worry about trying to go any more than that, because you get huge files and you start not being able to find things, gets more expensive. Do not always think that just because you are shooting on the best setting that that is the right setting. Does that make sense? Think about your workflow again: smaller files, but still good quality.

OK, equipment. This is pro-sumer equipment—this is me, geeking out on my AV side. I have seen a lot of stuff out there. This tends to be more expensive. Obviously $300+; you are starting to get into that realm of: “Should I really do this? When am I going to make my money back? How much am I going to charge people?”. Unless this is just fun for you and you like to just buy a bunch of stuff—which I tend to do sometimes—it can be cost-prohibitive to go this route.

I happen to own a GoPro dive casing now. I think I see Mike Collins in the back; I think he owns one as well. (Is that right? Not yet, ok.) The GoPros have revolutionized the way that action sports are done, almost all sports, are captured; because you can put them anywhere. They are pretty much indestructible. And they are relatively cheap; I mean, $300 is not really that cheap, but I have seen production houses, that I have worked with, buy them by the dozens. They wreak three or four of them, and that is fine. It is just a matter of where your tolerance is, and what the budget is for your Masters’ team.

I also have this pole, which is called a GoPole—and you can find that online. I also have another pole down here, which is a little bit smaller. But they all do the same thing: they steady you. If you have a long pole, you can walk along the side of the pool with it. The video that I showed you at the beginning with Rob, swimming back and forth, that was all done with this guy and one of the long poles. Definitely, consider the GoPro. Again, this is my solution; it does not have to be your solution. But it is high quality, HD video, with a wide angle lens. That means Rob was literally two feet away from me. A lot of times, you are navigating two lanes or more, to try to get people in a frame. Again, this is my solution, but feel free to email me if you have any questions on that.

The other solution is the POV HD. I discovered this when I was looking through… POV cameras, in general, have just propped-up everywhere. And they are mostly for motorsports guys; they are for extreme sports, whether it is wakeboarding or skiing or whatever. Those guys want to videotape themselves and the way they gallivant around the country. But it is just as good as the GoPro. The only thing that is different: do you see that recorder there, that DVR there? That is incredibly useful. That DVR is what makes that POV HD worth it. It is pretty much the same camera on the end there. It has got a wire that goes down… you can mount it to a pole. Again, you have to have a little bit of engineering savvy to get that pole the way you want it. But then you can record it directly, HD video directly, to that DVR. That is about $600 though; so that is double what you are going to probably pay for a GoPro and a pole.

What has been helpful for me is the diving community. I am not talking about diving off a platform, I am talking about scuba diving. [The] Scuba diving community has underwater video and photography figured out. And if you have somebody on the team that has that equipment, talk to them. Ask them to bring it to practice one time; tell them to shoot some swimmers. This is just if you are interested in going/taking that step further. And again, the Flip camera, the iPhone case: all that stuff is just fine. But if you want to go that step further and capture real nice video…. The DSLR underwater; I think Glenn Mills probably uses that for his GoSwim products, his GoSwim videos. The Amphibico POV, that is about $8,000 worth of equipment—I do not think you want that. But again, there are solutions out there, mostly for diving, but you can apply them to Swimming.

Again, I have this DSLR: beautiful pictures, I have got a wide-angle lens. But again, you are talking about a couple of thousand dollars worth of equipment, just to shoot a swimmer. You got to think about economics first, right? These are all the options out there. I would shoot a swimmer with this before I shoot them with the GoPro, if I had the option. But again, it is all about budget and it is all about economics.

And of course, I did not want to leave out those that are providing the swimming community with all-in-one solutions. At Indy Aquatic Masters, we own the Underwater Coach Cam. We use it constantly to get people in and out of the water, in sequence with a TiVo DVR and a monitor. And we could run seven or eight people at a time; in an hour’s worth of time; we can get seven people in and out of there. But you have SwimPro, which just came on (I think there’s a booth down there for SwimPro). You have got the old standby, Total Performance, and you have got StrokeView, out there.

I think the only drawback to those solutions are… it is great that they have online customer support. You can call them anytime. You need to ship some back, you can ship it back right away; they will give you a refund or they will fix it—do not quote me on that. But they will do that; they will help you. This is certainly better than the homemade version, and it is certainly a well-thought out workflow. The Coach Cam tells you exactly what it does and what you do with it. What camera to get; what recording device to get. The Total Performance cam does the same thing. SwimPro looks very sleek and very promising: several, different camera angles, all to one screen, uploaded via DVR to your iPad and iPhone. Awesome workflow, if you own it. Portable, probably not; but if you own the pool and you are always there: great solutions.

But again, you are getting up into the thousands of dollars. So where are you going to make that money back? And as a Masters team, typically, we are right in the lower level or a little bit higher, and you are thinking about how many more swimmers do I need to get here and how attractive could it be. So let us start low and go from there. I recommend the Coach Cam, certainly, if you want to do that.

But the drawback to these things is not having HD. And as far as I know, the SwimPro… I think the StrokeView has an HD option but it think it is up there in price. All these talk about TV lines: 420 TV lines, 600 TV lines. That is not HD, people; that is just nice, high-quality SD. And that is a 4:3 frame. Again, difficult to get your swimmer in there. But these are still great options because: they have thought about your workflow, they have thought about where the media is going to go and they give you help and support, and they will fix it if it is broke. These are thing to consider, or maybe use them in tandem with your HD options. Any questions on this stuff before I move on?

Once you have the video
So you got your video, now what? Ryan Lochte does not know what to do with it, if you asked him. But I do. It is all about analyzing your video… as Dr. G [Genadijus Sokolovas] walks into the room, it is all about analyzing your video. And taking that video and making it into something that the swimmer can digest and take home with them.

The two options, I think, when you are on deck and you organize an underwater swim video clinic, or you have something on deck. This is what I have seen on deck, and some of you may have seen different. But you have got your DVR, or Series 2 TiVo that is out there—that has got an analog signal going in. We use a Coach Cam with an analog signal going into the DVR, out to a monitor and it has got an 8-second delay, or so, and it has got a 30-minute with the recording that you can fly back and forth on. So you can literally get people in, get them out, show them what they are doing, get them in again, take them out, show them what they are doing. It is a nice, easy way to do things. As I have said, the Coach Cam is about $500, you have got a TiVo which is about $200, you got a monitor that is another $150; you are getting up-there in price. And then you have got worry about: Where’s the outlet? Where did all my wires go? How am I going to get up from one location to another? Those are all the things to consider. And, like I said, these are all a part of the workflow. This is what I have seen when you analyze someone on deck. You have your DVR, you get to playback and you get to watch it.

The other method is to take the Flip camera and take the card out, flip open your laptop, put it in there—put the SD card in there—and watch the videos back as files. And I recommend that always to preserve, whenever you shoot somebody; the TiVo is not going to record those files for you to share. You could probably hack it to make it do that. Does anybody know how to get files off of TiVo? No? That is one of those things: always try to record it on some sort of medium, which is a SD card or the internal cards that you can plug-in to a USB and into your computer. The video files are very important; preserve those so you can share them later.

Analyzing videos
Going to take you to the next step now; and that is this advent of apps [applications]. And, again, the iPhone economy has created all of these great apps; everybody is making apps. Here are just a few of the apps that you can use to analyze your swimmer along with some online subscription apps. I know for a fact that I use Coach’s Eye quite a bit; and it is to not only draw on the video, [but also] to slow it down, and to voice into my iPhone or iPad to record and analyze the video of a person swimming. Again, I use that in tandem with the TiVo and the Coach Cam. So I Coach Cam them, show them on deck, do a couple of things. Then, I take the GoPro, get them going back and forth, and then, I do the analysis and email it to them. Or I upload it to my Dropbox—and I will show you that shortly, the cloud storage.

[inaudible question from the audience]

Yeah. Yes. Or if you have more people on deck, one can be doing that while the other one is doing the TiVo. Yes, two systems, two recording devices.

A couple of apps here: Ubersense, CoachMyVideo, Coach’s Eye. Stuff you could download pretty quickly on your iPhone or iPad and they are very helpful, very useful. It takes a little while to get used to, but there is a lot of stuff. To be honest, just to do your Flip camera and send them an email with that, I think it is better than on-deck coaching; because they can take that home, look at it and then try to practice it themselves for the long term. And you are not taking time away, if you are conducting a practice or what not; you are just taking their video and then you are going home and doing it. And you can charge whenever you want.

[inaudible question from the audience]

I have tried Ubersense and Coach’s Eye. I have not tried CoachMyVideo yet.

[inaudible question from the audience]

Yes. The iPad, on here, you can write on; that is actually Coach’s Eye. I included these online apps which are: FINIS Stroke Lab, UpMyGame and Dartfish. Dartfish is a little bit more pricey. FINIS is a monthly subscription. And it is all online analysis: you upload the video to their online servers, then you do their thing, and you can share it. I think UpMyGame is pretty much the same as well. Again, this is not meant to be an “end all, be all”; there is more out there that is available. But these are just some of the leaders that I have seen in the field of video analysis. I know Dr. G—he was here—he uses Dartfish when he does his accelerometer—you have probably all have seen that. He overlays his video… he uses a CoachCam and he overlays that acceleration device, overlays it on the video.

So we have talked about analyzing; anybody have any questions on analyzing the video? Then you all do it your own different ways. I am not here to tell you what to do with it, but these are some of the things you can use as tools.

Sharing your video
This is where it is a little more difficult, I think, for individuals. How do I share the video? How do I get it from Point A to Point B? How do I get it to my swimmers?

And a lot of people say, I want it on DVD. How many people say they want it on DVD? How many people have done the DVD thing? Several. So DVDs are… I want to say, in the next 5 years, they are going to the way of the VHS, is what I see happening. Maybe 10 years, I’m not sure. But it is very cumbersome; it is labor intense. And there are some devices out there like the Sony VDR-MC6. I have one these; that you can burn right in there, I can burn it straight from the TiVo signal. I have a TiVo signal out to this, and I burn it right there, and they take it home—it is great. That is what they want; they all have DVD players at home so go ahead and give them those. But I think it is just cumbersome to travel with DVDs. You get scratches. It takes time to do all that stuff. So, I would try to stay away from them, try to stay efficient as possible.

USB flash drives are another thing. And maybe an idea you could have: you take those files that you got off your Flip cam, you have got a USB with your club name branded on it or somebody’s name is on it from your team, and they hold-on to that the whole year. And you just, Okay, here’s your file, here’s your file. All you are doing is giving them files. You know, you have your laptop or whatever, and then you plug it in. And I believe that you can do it with your iPad: you can plug in a USB on an adaptor. I would go for the flash drive, try to convince people, “Hey, we’ll give it to you on a flash drive”, versus a DVD—that is for sure.

The top row is what I like the best: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook. Video hosting sites have popped up for the last five years, and they have made it so easy for someone to upload a video. If you have a high speed connection, upload HD video and store it. And these are free services. You can upload HD video to Vimeo, you can send them a link, and they can download it or they can watch it. Just have a little bit of technical expertise to show them how to do it and show them how to download it. But for the most part, it is pretty easy to figure it out; you are just sending people a link. And that is great.

[inaudible question from the audience]

There are controls. YouTube, for instance, you can send somebody a link, and the only person… it will not be public. It cannot be searched. And the only way you can get to it is if you actually put in that long link, the URL. YouTube does not have log-in capability, but Vimeo does. I think YouTube might have it on a professional… I am not sure what else: I have not looked into it lately. But Vimeo has the ability to send people a link, and it says, “Here’s a password”, and you can password-protect those videos. So yes, there is… I love having Vimeo to send to people. I would utilize that first before YouTube. Facebook is another one, but, again, they lack, I think, the ability to protect certain things.

And then another solution: everybody is hearing about cloud computing—the way people are just uploading things to a remote server somewhere, and it is a “cloud”. Dropbox is one of my favorites. Just being able to upload… for instance, I upload video from my iPhone to a Dropbox and they are able to play that back as a link when they get home, or even from their iPhone or iPad. So cloud storage is a huge… I would look into cloud storage for your team. And you can share files. You can throw files back and forth, and give permissions out to people to upload their own files, if you wanted. You know, you can make a business out of having people upload files, and you critique them and send it back to them. You can sit at home and do that, if you wanted to.

These are the kinds of storage… go ahead.

[inaudible question from the audience]

It can. It comes, I believe, 3 gigabytes or 2 gigabytes worth of space. There is also called…go ahead. [audience comment] So 2 gigabytes. There is another cloud storage called Box; there is another cloud storage called Google Drive. There are plenty of great solutions out there for cloud storage; Dropbox just happens to be my favorite because I am used to it. And there are a lot of different links/capabilities to share and collaborate, that maybe Google Drive or some other solutions might not have.

To charge?
Coming towards the end here: how much do I charge? And that is something that… maybe this is not the crowd for that. But I always think about: well, you are doing this work, it is a lot of work, is it just a member benefit or do you need to charge something for it? I tend to think that you should, because it is relatively labor-intense. You have got to think about service and labor. You have got to think about your own confidence in the analysis: how confident are you in the fact that you are giving them correct information. And also: is there competition in the local area that is charging way-low, that is comparable to what you can provide them?

To give you an example, we do the TiVo video analysis plus the GoPro camera to the Coach’s Eye and send it to them; we charge $65, for that. I have seen people charge up-to $100 for that. So you have got to think about: How long is it going to take you? How much equipment have you purchased? What price-point are they not going to balk at? Those are some of the things that you have got to think about when you are putting together a clinic or scheduling time at the pool. Those are the things that you have to think about going into it.

Any questions? We have got about 15 minutes.

[inaudible question from the audience]

Yes, you can always go the length of your cord. [audience comment] As far as a longer cord, you mean? Yes, you can go anywhere, yes. [audience comment] But if you are tethered with the Coach Cam, your question is how do I… [audience comment] Yeah, yes, it is tough.

[inaudible question from the audience]

Tracks are… that is one of the things that I did not talk about. Typically Master swimmers, I do not think, typically own the pool that they are at, and they are not going to have set-ups that are easily accessible. And having a track is one of those things that might be out of the question, unless it is a very well-planned out clinic.

There are solutions out there that, I think, on the floor, you see they have tracks, you can go back and forth and things like that. As far as what we do when we follow a swimmer, we just like to go back and forth and just turn your wrist, staying put.

[inaudible question from the audience]

Yes. Well, with Masters swimmers we are talking about how you can become more efficient in the water versus are you slowing down with 5 yards to go. Or is your stroke falling apart after 15 yards, or what exactly is going on. I have seen at the Olympic Training Center where they have the track and they go back and forth: it looks great, it looks awesome. If you can do it, great! do it. But it is not as realistic as you might think for most coaches. I would stick with going back and forth. That is just my….

[inaudible question from the audience]

An external monitor only increases the size of the area. You are still going to… basically, the Flip camera has got a size like this, and you are just blowing that up to a bigger… you are not gaining anything by having it on a bigger monitor except for you are able to see more yourself to keep yourself inline. Does that make sense? Yeah.

[inaudible question from the audience]

No, I agree. Unless you want to hold a big monitor next to you, there is no real good solution that I know.

Go ahead, Mike. I’m sorry.

[inaudible comment from the audience]

So Mike’s recommendation is to go with the GoPro over a Flip camera because of the wide angle versus the….

Like I said, I do recommend the GoPro and an iPad. I take the SD card out of the GoPro, stick it in the iPad and it takes me maybe ten minutes to do a quick analysis on somebody. Go ahead.

[inaudible comments from the audience]

So [what] I am hearing from the both of them is that walking might not necessarily be the best solution with the swimmer. Just getting them in the frame for three or four strokes is better. And maybe more efficient in your workflow to only have a short video versus a 20-second-or-more long video that you have to run through. And you said, what is the product name? Sanyo Xacti. That is another low cost solution for a… and, again, you could spend as much as you want or as little as you want on these things. Sir?

[inaudible comments from the audience]

There you go, yeah. No, these point-and-shoot cameras, they are great because now they can do video, right? They used to not be able to have that capability, and now they do. And they are easy; and you can use them to shoot your kids, and then turn around and shoot swimmers. [audience comment] Obviously, you have your own workflow. I would be interested to know how long it takes you from start-to-finish per swimmer. Shrinking the amount of time it takes to do something, and charging just enough to make it worth it—that is what I want you guys to kind of take away from this. Do not just go into videotaping your swimmers; think about what it can do for you and your club and help you build your club, not only value for your club but also the return you get from the investment that you make.

Anything else?

[inaudible question from the audience]

Splitters are… I like his (I am sorry, I didn’t get your name). But I like his method on the side, for one, and then straight on for the other. Because doing four boxes at once, I want to concentrate on what it looks like on the side then do another video of him straight on—that is my personal preference. I mean, four boxes at once… Mike, you have a comment on that?

[inaudible comments from the audience]

To put a period on your question of: should it be four boxes or should it just be one full-frame? I go with the full-frame. Typically, the solutions that I have seen with the four boxes, it is four 4:3 boxes in SD. And slowing that down, and doing it all at once. It is a nice-to-have, for sure, because you get to see what he is doing from the start of his stroke… every camera is pointed at the same stroke—that is great. But realistically, I would like to just have a nice, big 16:9 frame to analyze people’s video.

We have got a couple more minutes. Good.

[inaudible comments from the audience]

Your solution, he uses Dartfish and he can do multiple angles, different shots and you put them together. I write a little bit for Masters swimming: I put-together their email newsletter on a monthly basis, and I also have a small article that I am looking to update about underwater video analysis. Once you to sign your name and your email; and if you have any suggestions, just send them to me, because I would love to add them and I would love for us to have some sort of database that people can go to. And this is what I use, and this is what I use and this is why I use it… because no solution is a catch-all. Just think about it and you can look at the equipment that I have up here.

Thank you.

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