Any video camera buffs out there?
I want to start using more video to enhance my casting analysis and provide better feedback to my students.
I want to be able to use the video on the web, view it at high resolution on my PC or Mac, and possibly even record it on VHS or DVD media so I can send it to friends.
I especially like the DVD approach because you can provide a navigable table of contents.
My questions are:
- what resolution should I be looking for to be acceptable for use in making video that does not look like crap on VHS or DVD?
- is a memory card video camera better than a tape video camera?
- do I need wide-angle?
- I would prefer polarization to capture some fishing video as well, how do I know the camera is compatible with such a filter?
I assume I can always reduce for the web from a higher res so no prob on the web video provided I buy some software to convert it.
Any other suggestions? thanks in advance
Of all your questions the only one I know the answer to (from a consumer reports type report) is that you do not want the digital video as it is very expensive and has much poorer quality compared to tape.
Getting the line to show up clearly is a challenge. Old pics of casting demos were often shot at night using a bright line.
Charles Jardine had a special line that he used at demos which was fluorescent orange with alternating 12 inch black bars at 12 inch intervals. The visual effect was dramatic. I wonder if something like that might help with video analysis?
With compressed digital video you cannot see a baseball bat in motion. Uncompressed digital cameras used for borodcast quality are very expensive..I believe the only analog systems still around are Hi-8.
Are you saying that hi-8 is uncompressed therefore you can see a bat in motion? How does this translate to DVD media?
Not fishing but I'll bet this could be adapted ....
I've been through golf schools using digitial kit and it looks pretty good on screen, especially the freeze-frames.
Hi-8 is analog and inexpensive and broadband..conversion to DV will entail compression ( or reduction in bandwidth) which is bad for retaining rapid motion.
On video in this instance
Forget Hi-8...outdated technology.
Adrian is on to something... www. analysisprogram .com would be perfect for your application. See if he'll send you a test copy...or I could get it and try it...
NOW, the meat of the matter:::::::::
Developing complex video systems for research and high-end sports/entertainment use is my business. A book could literally be written adressing the topics you've brought up. A source for the products you want is B&H in New York. www dot bhphotovideo dot com. They have everything I speak of.
There are three discrete things that you are looking at here
GIGO is the rule, of course.
Tape, and DV specifically, is the only record format to consider today as it is the highest quality, easiest to integrate into a post-production environment, and most tested as well as being the cheapest.
The visual resolution of this and all formats is currently about 720 x 486. While there are some high-end consumer HD cams, their sensors lack some characteristics that are needed in your situation. And their proprietary capture format is a hearache for post and playout.
If I can assume that your budget is not high, I'd suggest a high quality, 3-CCD, DV (tape) camera with a good lens-- a used Canon XL-1 would be best. However, at 1800+, that still may be more than you want to spend. In that case, just about any of the Panasonic consumer cameras with 3-CCDs will be appropriate. Below that, the sony TRV series is excellent.
ALL consumer camcorders record at about 30 frames per second (it is actually much more complicated that that, but for our purposes, let it be). most cams will have the ability to do high shutter speeds, but this will only increase the clarity (less motion blur) of those 1/30 sec time slices. The actual temporal resolution of the recorded material is maxed out at 1/30sec time slices.
If you want 120 frames per second (probably about right for this application, you can hire me and a high-speed film camera, but you'll pay a lot more than the cost of a very nice camcorder.
Wide angle--- most consumer cams' lenses are not wide enough. A wide angle (WA) adaptor is recommended. Spend the extra one on one with a glass lens. Any current cam will have the ability to accept a WA. The lens screw of a camera may have a diameter of 38mm. You'll match that diameter to the range of WA's (and adaptors if your cam uses an odd size) available. Very simple and easy.
#2 Post production.
Once you've got the footage, how to edit and manipulate it (titles, etc)? You cam will have a Firewire (IEEE-1394) I/O port on it. You can buy a hardware/software package for your WINTEL PC for about $300 or less that will have everything you need to do the post AS WELL AS the compression to WEB-compliant and STREAMING video. Finally, it will include software for authoring a DVD (you'll still need a DVD burner, of course)
A DVD is great, probably the best short of giving a DV tape to your customer (as this would not entail an additional codec's distortion-- but DVD's distortion (compression artifacts) are of the same general sort (discrete cosine transform) as the DV codec, so you'll usually not have a great deal of interference distortion created.
The problem of a small, fast moving object. An associate of mine developed the Fox "hockey puck" that you may remember from some years past. I think his solution is the inspiration for my solution: rotoscope (think Ralph Bakshi's 'The hobbit'). With a wacom tablet and a suitable editing or compositing program (Premiere or after effects), you could very quickly "paint" over the image of the line in each frame of a few seconds video.
Solution two-- Be extremely careful to have as great a contrast in Hue, Saturation, and Brightness (HSB) between the fiducial (the line) and the background. A bright green line against a dark brown background is MUCH better than that same green line against a blue sky. This will entail selection of the line as well as careful shot framing.
The very best way to do this would be to use multiple cameras (I actually developed a multi-camera system that was used in some major sporting events around the world, that would be perfect for this application, but it's way too expensive, again, to be applicable--- I'm actually going to be doing some consulting work for this company again soon, so i may try to capture myself fly casting with 16 or 32 cameras (think The Matrix meets Derek Brown!). I'll pass along the video when I get it finished.
Cortland (Climax) still makes a black/white line...the Strike Indicator, I think.
Please consider me a resource...
I do have one question though...
do ANY consumer cameras have the ability to track a fast moving flyline?
I tried the 30 fps digital video and it was pretty bad. The line would appear and disappear through the cast.
B&H in New York
Joan and I have purchased several camera's, 35 mm, ' 2 movie,' 4 dig. still(s), etc., from these folks over many years. Couldn't recommend a company more highly.
Everything is as advertised; problem (one minor one) they were RIGHT THERE to solve the issue.
Any of the models I mentioned will work OK.
You need to set the shutter speed higher- depending on the speed of the line (you'll have to test) you'll probably need something faster than 1/2000sec--- most cameras go up to the 1/10000sec range. Remember that you'll still only get 1/30 sec time slices, but they'll be perfectly in focus.
As you compress this down for the web, you're going to have a trade-off between ability to see the fly line and file size/datarate. The two are not presently reconcilable.
At your service--
Thanks Joe -
I found a s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g deal on a Panasonic 3 CCD PV-GS70 about what I charge for two days on the flats so am thinking about pulling the trigger on it.
I played with a loaner Pentax Optio MX that had a supermacro with 0" focus capabilities and 10x optical that took absolutely sick 3.2 mp images of flies but the video could not capture even my slowest overhand casts against a dark background despite slow moving mpeg4 clips being absolutely great for web or presentations. The problem as you detailed is in the movement and with something like a fly line it was toast.
Such a shame as I would love to have had that still image capability with even a reasonable video capture (30fps, VGA 640px, 1/2000 max shutter but not adjustable for video as far as I could tell).
The PV-GS70 goes up to 1/8000 but only 1mp images, miniDV tapes and the DV looks real good on moving objects with the "sport mode" recording option based on some little test clips I took.
One question - what software would you recommend for getting the DV into web and DVD format? I guess this is one way that a higher priced digital like a used Canon saves money - no need for the extra software.
BTW - great to have a resident video expert on board!
BTW - It seems MS Movemaker with SP2 update offers video capture from camcorders into various web friendly formats for free. I am downloading it as we schpeek.
MiniDV does in fact capture line fairly well but at the distances necessary to capture the cast progressing over the water it takes either cameraman with a tripod or a far off shot like Dana's recent one. I can really appreciate how well everything came togehter for Dana on that beautiful casting video he just put up with lighting, background and of course a graceful cast.
Sure isn't the easiest thing to capture good casting video!
Jack of all trades master of none is not what you want. that Pana is the one for the dough. The forget the digital still feature on video cameras--- it still doesn't have the cost-benefit ratio that simply buying a video cam and a separate digi still cam do. Maybe in 2 years, but not now.
I think that the video compression toolkit from Microsoft is excellent and free- can't remember what they call it now.
Most DVD authoring software has the encoding engine for converting your DV to the correct flavor of MPEG2 for DVDs--- and it is very easy. Go for DVD It or one of the other DVD authoring applications in the $100-200 range. Above that and you'll be getting lots of stuff that is off-topic to your needs. Below that and the software sucks.
For doing the BEST possible encoding for web, go with Media Cleaner from Discreet. Or Canopus Procoder. Of for very little dough, Canopus Procoder Express.
The video compression codecs that are the best are from Sorenson.
One More Thing!
BEWARE this screaming deal if it comes from a "chop-shop" camera place in NYC or LA.
ALWAYS check B+H's price as their's is the lowest that the item can be sold for and make enough of a profit for a company NOT to need to resort to pressure selling and bait/switch tactics.
I want to save you the heartache of having to call the BBB on something like a "48th Street Camera" that turns out to be two Hasidic guys in a closet in Queens.
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