Monday, July 07, 2014

Revisiting Film Technique

Holy crap there is a lot of video of ultimate available now!  It is like the first time I walked into a Toys 'R Us and I realized that a whole store could just have toys.  I didn't know where to look because everything was awesome.

With all of the video out there it now become so much easier to get content to support whatever it is you want to do.  Team scouting, instructional videos, highlight reels, etc.  But the technique of how to breakdown your film from a technical standpoint is still a barrier.  Outside of the coaching skill (and it is a skill that you can get better at) required to see what you need to see in the film, the process of clipping, telestrating and reforming film is tough.  I wrote about this for Worlds last year and it garnered a whole 2 comments!  So either no one reads this blog anymore (which is likely) or there aren't a lot of people really spending time on film study techniques.  I know that with the vast amounts of film out there most if not all elite teams are using film to scout and probably to improve their own game.  But the extent of that use might be pretty basic (throw the tape in the VCR and press play).

But since I have been doing a lot of work editing film I've learned a few more things and I thought I would post them here so future film-breakdown-wannabes will be able to stand on my shoulders and still not break 5'.


  • MPEG Streamclip has become my favorite editing tool again.  Mostly because of its superfast clipping mechanism.  Basically you watch film, press "I" and "O" to place clipping markers.  Then CMD+T (on a mac) trims the clip for you.  Save it in any format you want then the special thing is CMD+Z undoes the trimming and you have the full movie back.  This basically allows you to live-clip video the first time watching it, especially given MPEG's solid scrubbing tools.  There are some glitches, but it sure does beat my original technique (writing down time markers while I watched).
  • AVCHD is an awesome format for image quality, but it sucks for editing.  I've struggled with different AVCHD converters for the MAC.  They all feel like 1990s shareware and don't reliably get me the quality I want.  But it turns out that iMovie '11 can read AVCHD as a Camera Archive.  Then when you import the movie to iMovie it converts all of the clips in the AVCHD file to separate .MOV files.  The .MOV files get saved under your Movie Events folder so you don't have to actually "make" a movie in iMovie to get those files out.  Once you have the .MOV files you can go to town in whatever fancy editor you like
  • Explain Everything is an educational iPad app that has a really good recording feature.  I'm still green with getting it to work well, and its drawing tools aren't as great as other programs, but the ability to draw directly on the picture might push it into the front sport as the telestrator of choice.

There is plenty of space for growth in this field.  Ultimate is growing in so many other ways (membership, exposure, coaching), this is one way that isn't going to get attention for a while.  But eventually how well and quickly you can breakdown film might actually be a thing that kind of matters.

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