Camcorders forum

Question

Video Camera For Baseball Players

by WPPT / November 13, 2012 3:13 AM PST

What is a good camera to use to video high school baseball players swinging and pitching? Want to show the clips back in slow mo with great clarity for instructional purposes. Video will be taken inside during winter months. Any suggestions on fps or even on software to accompany a camera if that works? We are new to this and want to step up from our simple camera and youtube method. Thanks

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All Answers

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Answer
Step 1: Set a budget.
by boya84 / November 13, 2012 10:23 PM PST

You have two ways to go.

1) Use any camcorder or camera (that happens to capture video as a convenience feature) that fits your budget and use video editing software on a computer to slow the video down. We don't know your budget, so making a recommendation is challenging. Keep in mind that high compression video (consumer grade AVCHD) and fast action do not get along.

2) Find a camera that captures video at a high frame rate. When that video is transferred to the computer, the video playback will be 30 fps and slow motion playback happens. At the low end, the Casio Exilim line has a couple that are at the higher end of that family.

Real high speed cameras typically do not capture video locally - they are connected to a computer where the video is stored.

Set the expectation: camcorders and cameras with small lenses and imaging chip cannot behave well under poor lighting conditions. Add in fast frame rate capture = need more light. Your indoor environment will likely require more light. This could be as simple as getting a couple of halogen worklights on tripods from the local hardware store.

If you watched the World Series a couple of weeks ago, please do not expect the same quality slow motion that was displayed. The Phantom cam (Vision Research) and lens set up used was in excess of $100,000.

Before a suggestion on software is made, we need to know what is available for you to use... and which way you choose to go relative to the camera/camcorder purchased. The real high speed cameras may come with their own software and have their own computer requirements specified.

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Thanks
by WPPT / November 13, 2012 10:53 PM PST
In reply to: Step 1: Set a budget.

We are on a tight budget. Want to be under $1,000 for expenses (camera, software etc). We can get the computer itself easily and have the specs needed. Our lighting is very good where we would be inside and as you said we can add to that easily I believe. I appreciate your help and look forward to hearing back again.

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In the budget you state
by boya84 / November 14, 2012 3:19 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks

I *think* we are in the mid or low-end consumer grade camcorder area.

Canon HF M series. (NTSC standard 30 fps)
Tripod (SunPak)
Case (I like Pelican - but a soft case might be OK)
Memory card (several 16 gig cards might be appropriate)
(optional) high capacity rechargeable battery from Canon or plan to use the AC adapter and power cord (remember, safety, first).
Two worklights on stands from the hardware store (and power cables)
Software: Windows: Sony Vegas - Macintosh: if less than 3 years old, bundled iMovie (Final Cut is preferred, but not required). In either case, the computer needs a minimum of 4 gig RAM, and LOTS of available hard disc drive space. An external drive just for the video project files is preferred.

Yes, the HF M is an AVCHD camcorder, but your budget does not allow for low compression HDV (Canon HV40, miniDV tape). You may be able to get improved performance for slow motion playback by adding light and manually opening the aperture/iris which will increase the shutter speed. Just increasing the shutter speed without adding light or changing the aperture will result in a "strobe" effect that can be challenging to watch. When the video editor slows things down, right around 15 frames per second is about the point where you start to notice a slight pause between frames.

Again - these are my opinions. I have captured indoor basketball games and used the video editor for slow-motion playback. The coaches, parents and athletes found the video acceptable (but I was using HDV, not AVCHD).

Use the white balance. At the very least, use the available camcorder presets.

Consider downloading and reading through the camcorder's manual available from the manufacturer's web site BEFORE you buy. Make sure what you want and what the camcorder can do line up. If you have a question, post here again.

Setting the expectation: Remember, you are working with a consumer grade camcorder. Slow motion "with great clarity" at the stated budget can be a challenge and we cannot afford a real high speed camera.

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Canon HV40
by WPPT / November 14, 2012 3:51 AM PST

Would you suggest the Canon HV40 if we could swing it?

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I would - assuming
by boya84 / November 14, 2012 5:47 AM PST
In reply to: Canon HV40

your computer has a firewire port. There is no way the DV or HDV video stored on the digital tape will get into the computer unless the connection is via firewire. USB will not work. USB-to-fire cable/adapter/converter things will not work. If you are running Windows (any flavor) there are lots of folks who have issues adding expansion cards. I do my video editing on Apple Macintosh computers and firewire is included/built-in on most models (not MacBookAir or certain versions of MacBook).

If you go this route, miniDV tape is affordable. Check tapestockonline.com and buy in quantities. I get 8-packs at Fry's Electronics for $28. Each (Sony Premium) 60 minute tape holds up to 63 minutes of HDV format video. I never reuse tapes so the tape is the archive. Lock the tape after capture.

Importing: Power the camcorder down. Connect the camcorder to the computer with the firewire cable. Turn on the camcorder and put into Play or PC mode. Launch the HDV capable video editor. Import or Capture the video. It is a real-time capture. 60 minutes of recorded video will take 60 minutes to import.

60 minutes of imported Standard def video will consume about 14 gig of computer hard disc space.
60 minutes of imported High def video will consume about 44 gig of computer hard disc space.
This is the same whether the video is imported from miniDV tape of AVCHD compressed flash memory or hard disc drive. While I agree that flash memory may be a little faster on the import, the archive expense and additional handling ends up eating up the time and $ you thought you were going to save because of the "newer technology".

The story is a little different when pro-grade, non-AVCHD, low compression methods are used - but these are not available to consumer grade camcorders.

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