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What are the benefits of using IP Cameras for filming sport?

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When it comes to finding the best video cameras for filming sport, there are a huge amount of options out there. You may be looking at the best type of camcorders for sport, the best tripod for filming sports, the best phone or tablet for filming football or if a GoPro is right for your team. But if you want professional filming quality and additional benefits, you need to learn more about IP Cameras and how you can use them for filming sport, whether they are fast-paced or close-up technical sports.

So, what is an IP Camera?

IP stands for Internet Protocol, which is the way that these cameras receive control data and send image data when they are on an IP network. Think of a CCTV camera and you are thinking of an IP Camera. However, in this blog you will learn that a standard CCTV camera is not what you want for filming sport, especially when there are specific IP Cameras with high-quality lenses, smooth movement patterns and capture options that are much better suited for filming hockey, filming rugby, filming football and much more!

Are there different types of IP Cameras for filming sport?

AP Capture IP Camera Options

Yes! There are different IP Camera manufacturers like Axis with a wide range of cameras, but there will only be a few of their models which are capable of getting high quality HD video for reviewing sport. The lens that is used, the frame rate that is possible, along with zoom levels and movement controls are important factors to consider when choosing the best camera for filming sports.

But there are also other differences to consider, like whether you should choose a fixed IP Camera installation for your club or a portable Sports Mast solution with a telescopic and portable tripod so that you can take your IP Camera to away games and easily record training sessions. If you missed it, Bradley Grice provided an overview on the differences between fixed and portable IP Camera solutions in this blog.

Are they a good all weather camera for filming sport outside? And what about filming indoor sport?

Many IP Cameras are a perfect option for filming sport outside, as they are designed to be tested against the elements. Operating in sub-zero temperatures and in the pouring rain, it means that whether you have a GAA match that needs live streaming in the depths of winter or you’re filming Curling or filming Ice Hockey, then a suitable IP Camera will be able to put up with the different environments and elements being thrown at it.

Take a look at this video to see the IP Cameras that AnalysisPro installed for British Curling at the National Curling Academy in Stirling, a great example of an indoor IP Camera installation putting up with some different environmental elements too!

High quality IP Cameras can very quickly adapt to changing light, which makes them a great filming choice for both indoor sport and outdoor sport. With a 4K IP Camera, the lens means you can have a super sharp image, which is very often retained for high levels of zoom too, without a big quality loss for the digital zoom capabilities of cameras too.

Of course, the most important element to consider when choosing an IP Camera solution for filming sport is the movement patterns the camera provides. Can it move quickly and slowly (adaptive feathered control) in fast response to joystick input, and can it both pan, tilt and zoom at the same time? If the answer is no to any of the above, then the IP Camera you are looking at is not suitable for sport and is more likely a CCTV solution being retrofitted for use in sport. If you want an IP Camera for filming football or any other sport where the ball and players move fast, you need to choose one that has been developed with sport and video analysis in mind.

All of the IP Camera solutions provided at AnalysisPro ensure that they are fit for purpose. They have the responsive movement patterns that are essential for sport, along with providing high-quality footage that can easily be captured as an MP4 file and also live-streamed at the same time. Check out the AP Capture brochure for more info on these solutions.

What practical considerations should you take into account when choosing IP Cameras for sport?

Even though IP Cameras work great outside, at AnalysisPro we believe that additional protection against rain drops and sun glare on your camera lens is something that is essential when it comes to filming sport and creating high quality footage for video analysis review and live streaming to your sports team’s fans.

For our fixed IP Camera installation options, we have the AP Capture Rain/Shade cover to attach onto customised brackets and purpose made poles, which goes over the camera housing to help increase the quality of your filming (see above for an example of the outdoor IP Cameras installed at Hartpury University). For our portable telescopic tripod solution, the AP Capture Sports Mast, we also provide a similar rain/shade cover that can easily be put around the 4K PTZ IP camera before you pump it up to 6 metres in this fully integrated solution.

IP Cameras work best with a wired connection between the camera and POE (power over ethernet) switch in order for you to both control the camera/s and capture or view their video feed. For distances up to 80m, Cat6 ethernet cabling can often be used, as when in conjunction with the right POE switch and IP Camera, you can maintain the responsive movement patterns and capture quality you need. But without having to go straight to fibre cabling after that (which costs a lot more than ethernet), longspan booster options (as provided with AP Capture) can ensure that Cat6 cabling can be used for distances up to 600m!

With the correct infrastructure setup, namely a dedicated camera network without an overload of traffic, you can also use additional technology to enable your installation to essentially have a wireless IP sports camera, as you can use wireless connectivity to bring your cameras into the central network or capture their feeds with software like AP Capture.

Are IP Cameras good to work with video analysis software?

Absolutely! If you have a video analysis software like Nacsport, Dartfish or Sportscode that can live capture an IP Camera feed straight into the computer, you will really benefit from using IP Cameras. All video analysis software can use video files post-event, so by using a software like AP Capture to control your cameras and record an MP4 file directly to the laptop, you will create a high-quality video to analyse afterwards. IP Cameras can also apply compression within the camera to help with manageable file sizes. We think that capturing the video file locally, rather than using an IP Camera cloud solution, is a much more stable and secure way for you to create your videos and manage your own content.

An additional benefit of the AP Capture software is that you can synchronise sound to mix that with your captured video file, along with putting sound into the live streaming output. This helps to create more useful content for performance analysis reviews, especially when thinking about filming coaching sessions for example.

At AnalysisPro, we created a software called AP Joystick for both Windows PCs and Macbooks, which enables users of different video analysis software to capture the IP Camera feed directly into their performance analysis software whilst controlling the camera movement through a joystick on the same machine.

AP Joystick was actually developed in conjunction with the English FA, who wanted to use our portable Sports Mast solution but also capture the IP Camera directly into Sportscode on their Macs.

Can you live stream your matches with IP Cameras?

We believe that IP Cameras are the perfect camera for live streaming sport! The technology and compression settings in the cameras really lend themselves to live streaming your matches. The most important factor for running a high quality live stream is having a stable and fast upload speed, with at least 10mb/s recommended for streaming sport in HD.

You can achieve a good quality live stream with a wireless internet connection, but it’s always best to use a wired connection for better stability. If you check out this post, you can see an example of the AP Capture portable Sports Mast being used with a portable wireless internet solution to live stream to InPlayer.

The AP Capture software has a live streaming plugin built in, enabling both the IP Camera footage and sound from an IP sound device to be streamed direct to YouTube, Facebook and other streaming platforms. AP capture can actually capture and stream up to two different cameras from one computer at the same time! To supplement the live stream and better engage fans, the AP Scoreboard app can be used to overlay a score on the live stream

So what are the main benefits of using an IP Camera for filming sport?

If you choose the right IP Camera solution for filming sport, you are onto a winner and there are a huge amount of benefits for you, your team and your wider audience.

In summary, we have put together this infographic for you about the benefits of using IP Cameras for filming sport.

If you are considering a fixed IP Camera installation or a portable IP Camera option, get in touch with us and we can help to determine the best solution to meet your requirements, your environment and your budgets!

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