Video 101: Watch and Learn

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So the previous blog post was about the basics of using a video camera. This post focuses on how to successfully prepare a your video camera setup to capture human motion

Before recording a video, what is it that you want to see? Here are a few questions to think about:

  • Do you want to see how fast an individual is moving?
  • Are you interested in the biomechanical aspects such as observing imbalance or tightness?
  • Are you interested in the basic performance of a certain skill or movement?
  • Do you want to see how the individual performs in a certain position (think offence vs. defence)?

If you want to see how fast you’re moving any camera angle can work as long as you have a way of telling when you’ve started, and when you finish.  Similarly with observing a position, any camera angle can work as long as the subject is in constant view.

If you’re interested in improving biomechanics you should set the camera up parallel or perpendicular to the line of action, preferably both, so you can consistently compare at a later date.

Here are some YouTube videos that I chose to emphasize to help illustrate why it’s important to think about how you want to capture the video prior to filming. I’m going to use running video examples because there seems to be abundance on the web.

Video 1: Moses Mosop Running Technique

So this movie observes Moses Mosop, an elite Kenyan runner. This video is good for basic review of running skills (obviously using an elite runner was a great choice!).  Unfortunately there are no really good side shots so measuring angles of the runner’s body are lost.  Hypothetically if the individual wanted to compare hip angles in training versus racing, the angles would not be accurate because the camera was not positioned perpendicular to the runner.   So the biomechanical evaluation would be qualitative instead of accurately measurable.

Video 2: Good Form Running

This movie is a great example of how the director carefully planned each shot. The filmed runners individual’s movements can clearly be seen.  There are some good slow motion shots and normal speed filming.  Notice how the perpendicular and parallel shots make it very easy to measure and then compare future videos?  This is great work!

Video 3: Running : Running Stride Length & Frequency

So the creator of this film seemed to be more interested in talking then thinking about what they wanted to share. The skill and movements are difficult to understand because of the camera angles and short clips of the body. Very little is gained from this video.

Summary: Filming an individual playing a sport is very useful for recognizing skill development and understanding biomechanical limitations.  The next time you film, think about where you want to place the camera so you can create a video that will help the athlete further enhance their performance.


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