important word about camcorders: With recent camcorder innovations such
as DVD and DVR units there has been a lot of confusion and misconceptions
with respect to using them for motion analysis. People mistakenly think that
because these are the latest units to hit the market that they must be the
best. That's simply not true when it comes to motion analysis. These new
units are fine for shooting video of junior's birthday party but they don't
work for high-speed motion analysis where you want to capture a full 60 to 1200 frames-per-second (fps) and do accurate slow motion/freeze frame analysis.
the camcorder facts you will need if you are going to do serious motion
analysis: The only type of camcorder that is suitable for this purpose
is a mini-DV unit. The advantage of these units for motion analysis is that
they are the only ones that produce low compression digital video (AVI format)
transmitted over a Firewire connection. This is essential for good motion
analysis. New style DVD and DVR camcorders do not have Firewire connections
and they compress the video (called MPEG format) to a point where you lose
frame rate and picture quality at the frame level. Mini-DV units produce a
full 60 fps and provide the best video thereby retaining full picture
quality right down to the individual frame level.
|Mini-DV camcorders produce
the best video quality. Below is a comparison of a mini-DV (AVI)
video on the left and a DVR (MPEG) video (on the right). Notice how
all the areas of the AVI video are clear including the bat and ball
while the MPEG video on the right is not as crisp. Notice that the
fast motion of the bat and ball are blurred in the MPEG video.
Faster shutter speeds produce
clearer videos. Below is a comparison of a higher shutter speed
(1/2000) with a lower shutter speed (1/500). Notice in the high speed
video that the bat and ball are "frozen" and sharp while, in the lower
speed video, the bat and ball are blurry. The higher the shutter speed
of the camera, the less blurring will occur for fast-moving objects.
High quality, high speed cameras are
better for low-light conditions. Below is another comparison of a
high quality GL2 camcorder and a standard ZR camcorder. The GL2 is
capable of working at very high shutter speeds (up to 1/15,000) in low
light conditions. Notice that, even though the GL2 is operating at a
much higher shutter speed, the video is much brighter than even a slow
shutter speed on a ZR camcorder. This can be very important for doing
motion analysis indoors.
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