Case Study - Baseball
With all the Major League Baseball™ teams using edgertronic high speed video cameras for sports performance optimization, the edgertronic camera is an obvious choice. Once you see the video quality for yourself, you will wonder how we can do it at as an affordable price.
Here are some articles on the impact of high speed cameras used in baseball:
- From Trackman to Edgertronic to Rapsodo, the Tech Boom Is Fundamentally Altering Baseball
- Baseball America - High-Speed Cameras Spread Quickly Around Baseball
- Article at the Sport Techie website
Major league, college, and high school baseball teams have asked for high speed video camera purchase guidance and deployment procedures, which is provided below.
For baseball pitching training, scouting and coaching, the SC1 Monochrome 16GB is the best choice. Let's look at the rationale behind this:
- The SC1 is our lowest cost camera and is fast enough. Human muscles just don't move that fast, so 500-1000 frames/sec is fast enough to see what's happening in a pitch.
- Monochrome cameras produce a slightly sharper image and require 1/4 as much light as a color camera. There are other tradeoffs you might want to consider when making the color versus monochrome choice.
- The 16GB upgrade option gives you enough record time to capture all the pitches in a half inning.
There are a lot of different use scenarios, each with it's own lens recommendation:
Indoor cages and labs, where the camera is close to the pitcher, will require a wide angle lens. Here's a 14mm lens that works well: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/859173-REG/Samyang_SY14MAE_N_14mm_f_2_8_Super_Wide.html
For bullpen settings, a medium zoom like the following is useful: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/124669-USA/Nikon_1986_AF_Zoom_Nikkor_80_200mm_f_2_8D.html. In some settings, the supplied 50mm lens will work.
For centerfield shots, over the pitcher's shoulder toward home plate, you'll need a lens in the 400-600mm range. The most cost effective way to do this is buy a Nikon 300mm f2.8 EDIF lens ($800-1200 used) and pair it with a Nikon TC201 2X tele-extender ($50-100 used).
Indoor training center lighting
Adapting to outdoor field lighting
SD Card Technology
Use an SD card that has a longer write/erase lifespan, such as SLC Single Level Cell technology. Panasonic FX Series is one family of SD cards that uses SLC NAND memory.
Controlling the camera can be as simple as connecting the remote trigger, triggering the camera, and then latter copying the video and metadata files off the SD card. This would be a good approach for pitcher training outside, where the edgertronic camera can be on a tripod near the pitcher and the coach is triggering the camera.
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Controlling the camera can mean controlling several cameras, mounted around the stadium, using CAMAPI to configure, simultaneously trigger, and automatically download videos into a game data application.
The following sections discuss how various camera features can be used to integrate an edgertronic high speed camera into your baseball training and game day work flow.
Focusing and exposure
Both focus and exposure are done manually, at the camera. This means the camera needs to be accessible, not ideal in a stadium mounted configuration.
A typical approach for stadium mounted cameras is to set the focus once, and tape the lens so the focus ring can not move. Similarly, the exposure ring is set for the darkest lighting situation. Once set, the software ISO setting is modified as the lighting conditions change.
The edgertronic camera can be enhanced to control accessories. We are looking into supporting remote focus and exposure
Camera IP address
Single camera triggering
Video file naming
Managing video files
There are two approaches - using network attached storage (or your server) to hold the video and metadata files or save the video files to the camera's SD card, then transfer and delete them.
CIFS network storage
The edgertronic camera supports CIFS network storage. It is an experimental feature (mainly because of the security issues associated with network storage). You can use traditional network attached storage (NAS), or configure a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer to support the CIFS server protocol.
The advantage when using CIFS network storage is you don't wear out the SD card in the camera, and perhaps to remove a file copy from your system solution. The disadvantage of using CIFS network storage is you may find the system less reliable, such as when a computer operating system does a periodic update and security features you disabled are enabled without your knowledge as part of the update, causing a future save of a captured video to fail.
Save to SD card then transfer
SD cards have a finite write life. If you are first saving to the camera's SD card, then you should consider replacing the SD cards on a regular basis if the camera is difficult to access. Also use a high reliability card (one that supports MLC or pMLC technology) such as the Micron Industrial SD cards.
You can use various protocols to download the video and metadata files. Supported file transfer protocols include HTTP, FTP, and WebDAV, with HTTP being the fastest and likely the easiest to use.
The general workflow would be:
- Configure the camera using CAMAPI run(requested_settings) where the requested_settings include setting save mode to background.
- Trigger the camera using CAMAPI trigger(filenname) where for this example the filename is assumed to be game_4_inning_7_top_pitch_4.
- Monitor when the video is saved by periodically fetching CAMAPI get_camstatus() checking the video_save_count to detect a change in value indicating another video was successfully saved.
- Fetch the video file using http://10.11.12.13/static/mnt/sdcard/DCIM/game_4_inning_7_top_pitch_4.mov and http://10.11.12.13/static/mnt/sdcard/DCIM/game_4_inning_7_top_pitch_4.txt. During development, you can browse to http://10.11.12.13/static/mnt/sdcard/DCIM to see a list of all video and metadata files available.
- Erase the video file and metadata file using CAMAPI erase_file("game_4_inning_7_top_pitch_4.*") where the .* means match both the mov and txt extensions.