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Possibly Developing a V1 Competitor

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So I'm now seriously considering developing a competitor to V1's software. Frankly, their software sucks - it can't even rotate a video 90°. "They're working on that," they've told me. Uh huh... great.

Here's what I have in mind for a basic feature list. Add your thoughts on what you think would be required of some sort of application. I'd develop the application for Mac OS X and Windows, if possible. That's the ideal, anyway.

The software should be able to:

* Play video at regular speed, slow speed, and allow for frame-by-frame stepping through.
* Play two separate videos side-by-side within the same window.
* Allow the video to be repositioned, grown, etc. in the video window to fit the full frame and/or the half frame.
* Include a few very basic drawing tools.
* (Teacher) Include the ability to narrate (capture audio).
* (Teacher) Be able to export to a new video file with the narration, lines, etc.

As you can see, I envision two versions: Student at maybe $49 and Teacher at perhaps $299. Version 1.0 wouldn't necessarily even control a video camera (though perhaps, depending on how hard that was to do) because, worst case, you'd copy files off the camera to your computer. That's typically how people do things now.

I'd use the file system to contain the models of the swing. You can download raw movie files from YouTube, even, and Teachers could set up a "Students" folder with the swings of their students inside.

In general I find it important to start with basic things and do them well in 1.0. Don't guess what your customers need - let them tell you. Start simple and build what's necessary. Release early and often.

So, I'm really considering this, and if anyone else out there is a software developer, I might be interested in talking with you about it. If you are more likely an end user type, share your thoughts in this thread on what you'd like to see for your $49 (or whatever).

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I think the ability to draw lines would be key, and for $49 I would want it to be able to measure angles and play videos side by side. It looks like you've got those bases covered though. Alas, I only have Windows so I would of course like to see a version for Windows.

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how about a library of pro swings??? IDK how difficult this would be to put together but it would be great to be able to compare it to a pro w/ out having the hassle of importing it into the software.... defenintely would need lines and the ability to draw angles. Also when would this come out??? summer, next year??

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I like the idea. For a v1.0, I think that the most important stuff would be.
  • Play video at regular speed, slow speed, and allow for frame-by-frame stepping through. - This is critical, no option here.
  • Include a few very basic drawing tools. - An absolute must! Being able to draw nothing but straight lines would make me happy, preferably multi-colored.

For a v1.1, it would be nice to see...
  • Play two separate videos side-by-side within the same window. - Same window? Na, I'd like it even better if you open a number of videos in different windows and play each back as you saw fit. A way to link the video playback would be nice but swing tempos vary and the most value here would likely come from being able to freeze each video and compare, especially with the use of various drawing tools. I would strongly prefer being able to open multiple windows and perform actions on each dependability while being able to arrange as many as you'd like, however you'd like (like image files in Photoshop). It would be nice to be able to include a playback multiplier as well, ie: play this video at 1.2x or 0.7x to account for variations in swing tempo and such (or even just to slow down playback - slow speed feature above, speed up would be nice as well for those who take video at 210fps via the many Casio cameras and want to view playback in realtime).
  • Allow the video to be repositioned, grown, etc. in the video window to fit the full frame and/or the half frame. - I don't see this as a critical feature mainly due to video quality. I find that unless you're shooting high quality video, resizing it doesn't help a whole lot. Still, it's a good feature and one that makes sense, perhaps not for a v1.0 though. Of course, the aspect ratio should be fixed during resizing.
  • Video rotation. - This can be done via many other software programs but it would be nice to have internal to this app.

The more that I think about this though, the more that I wonder if much of this can be done via a QuickTime Component. QuickTime, especially the $29 Pro version, can already do much of what we're looking for. Could a simple Component be used to fill in the blanks? Admittedly, I don't know much about QT Components though. For all I know, they are just for extending codecs, maybe "Component" is the wrong word for it, there are way to extent QT.

Anyway, QuickTime handles pretty much everything in my list above with the exception of drawing lines and rotating video (QT Pro can rotate however, as well as a slew of other things). QT has already been extended to draw lines on too with QTSketch (disclaimer, I have never used QTSketch). Although QTSketch appears to be free from drawing rather than lines, I'm sure that it could be hacked, I wonder if source code is available?

Thoughts?

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I had the same thoughts not so long ago after trying to find a decent application for Mac OS. One feature I would love (not sure if it's already available in V1 or other similar applications) is automatic drawing of the various plane lines, hip/head reference lines etc. OpenCV can achieve this fairly reliably - I wrote a mock-up tool a while ago to do just that as a prototype for my University software project.

-Ross

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Eric, IMO your price point is a little high. The V1 full home version is $40 right and does most the things listed. I'll tell you what I don't like about V1 so that may help.

- I can't print in color or to a clear image. This may be a product of my computer but no matter what I do, it looks terrible and the lines are unclear
- Switching between videos is cumbersome. I'd like it closer to the pro version where you have videos list across the top.
- Seems like the mouse wheel is inconsistent.
- I don't like the angle drawing. I don't like how you have to move two lines to get a perfect 90*.
- I'd really like to be able write notes along points of certain frames. Similar to what Swing Academy does.
- Not sure if this is possible but the ability to brighten your images would be nice.

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I had the same thoughts not so long ago after trying to find a decent application for Mac OS. One feature I would love (not sure if it's already available in V1 or other similar applications) is automatic drawing of the various plane lines, hip/head reference lines etc. OpenCV can achieve this fairly reliably - I wrote a mock-up tool a while ago to do just that as a prototype for my University software project.

I think people would want to avoid having lines drawn automatically.

Play two separate videos side-by-side within the same window. - Same window? Na, I'd like it even better if you open a number of videos in different windows and play each back as you saw fit.

I don't think you're in the majority on that one. People like to compare their swing directly side-by-side to another golf swing. Maybe even their own golf swing. And playback isn't at the same rate - each side of the video is controlled independently.

A way to link the video playback would be nice but swing tempos vary and the most value here would likely come from being able to freeze each video and compare, especially with the use of various drawing tools.

That's what it would do:

And the playback speed adjustment thing is likely going to be included, but probably not 7x speed. Nobody views their swing in real time in those things. If you want that, shoot at 60 or 30 FPS.
I don't see this as a critical feature mainly due to video quality.

I think it is. You tend to want to make your two side-by-side golfers the same size, or to maximize their position in the viewing window.

Video rotation. - This can be done via many other software programs but it would be nice to have internal to this app.

V1 doesn't do it.

You can import video and have no way to rotate it.
The more that I think about this though, the more that I wonder if much of this can be done via a QuickTime Component. QuickTime, especially the $29 Pro version, can already do much of what we're looking for.

There's no more $29 QuickTime Pro.

And yes, obviously this app would be built using a lot of QuickTime's capabilities. Since it's also available for Windows it might allow for a fair amount of cross-platform code, though the UIs will be independently written.
QTSketch appears to be free from drawing rather than lines, I'm sure that it could be hacked, I wonder if source code is available?

It may be. But it's also buggy and old, and QuickTime X is the current standard. The APIs have changed and been updated.

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Maybe the option to cut and trim the videos so you can record a series of swings and cut out one or two. I use Quicktime for this today.

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Maybe the option to cut and trim the videos so you can record a series of swings and cut out one or two. I use Quicktime for this today.

And you'd be free to continue to do that.

The point of the software would be analysis, not basic video editing. That said, if it was relatively easy to do and people actually needed it, I can't see why not.

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It would be cool to be able to take a video of your swing, change it to a transparent silouette, and lay it over the swing of another golfer (pga pro, a previous swing video you made, etc.).

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It would be cool to be able to take a video of your swing, change it to a transparent silouette, and lay it over the swing of another golfer (pga pro, a previous swing video you made, etc.).

That'd be cool, but that'd also be very difficult (actually, impossible) to implement. Unless you're standing away from the camera at the same distance, exact same angle, and that both videos are at the same resolution, that'll be impossible to superimpose videos to do meaningful comparisons.

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That'd be cool, but that'd also be very difficult (actually, impossible) to implement. Unless you're standing away from the camera at the same distance, exact same angle, and that both videos are at the same resolution, that'll be impossible to superimpose videos to do meaningful comparisons.

Yeah, you could get close with some stretching of the video (resizing), but it'd be pointless. I've seen some things attempt to do this and it never really works out well. Better to just have them side by side.

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Side by side is good enough. With some lines, you can easily see the differences. Side by side is actually a very useful tool, since you can put two videos of your own swing, before and after a period og practice, and compare them.

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I would definately purchase this. This may be greedy and something that you would only find in a more expensive application, but it would be nice to be able to capture from two sources simultaneously.

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