• Ollie Seymour

What are the differences between online and offline video analysis tools?

Are you new to video analysis and don't know what tools to use?


The world of video analysis tools can be confusing, so we hope this guide will be helpful for you and save some time that would otherwise be spent searching forums, reading reviews and other material. It can be a little overwhelming when you’re looking at online and offline performance analysis tools, so we are specifically focusing on the differences between these and the benefits and limitations they all present.


We break down the video analysis process into three clear steps: Shoot, Analyse and Share. We will discuss each of these key areas and consider the offline and online solutions for your workflows.


SHOOT


What are the differences between offline and online filming solutions for sports performance analysis? The technology used when filming sports has changed dramatically over the last few years. Traditionally, a typical (offline) set-up would consist of someone using a standard video camera either on a tripod or handheld, filming a match or training session and then replaying it back on a screen. This simple process is still common practice in the industry but there are more sophisticated setups which we will discuss below.


Standard Camera (Offline)

A standard video camera is offline and not connected to the internet. It can only transmit it's image via a physical cable to another device. The main advantage of a standard video camera is that it Is low cost, which is appealing when getting started in video analysis. It does require human input to set up and operate the camera, which can sometimes be challenging if you need to find someone else to do this for you. However, after some filming practice and experience, you can get some excellent footage and develop your own style for your analysis, ensuring you don’t miss anything important. Another benefit of using a standard video camera is that you have access to the footage immediately, so you can review it on the camera or put the file onto your computerised analysis software or online platform. Take a look at some advice on cameras with this hardware guide.





Always be Ready with IP Cameras (Online and Offline)

IP stands for Internet Protocol. IP cameras are network cameras that send video over your local network or the internet, making it usable both with and without an internet connection. You can have a fixed IP Camera or a portable setup with a telescopic sports mast. IP Cameras are now one of the most popular ways of recording high-quality video for sports, whether they are fast-paced or close-up technical sports. They are the gold standard solution if you want professional filming quality and extra benefits like easy live streaming. We have our own IP Camera system called AP Capture, supplying teams, universities and independent performance analysts with high-quality filming solutions around the world.





IP Cameras require someone to control them for filming, but this does have benefits as you will never miss any action and you can tailor your filming style to suit your sport. The ultra-smooth movement patterns in AP Capture make it easy for anyone to film even fast-paced sports. You can also utilise pre-set buttons to automatically move to different parts of the court or field. Very helpful!





IP Camera software like AP Capture, which enables you to capture and control the camera feeds, means that you will receive a "ready to use" video file straight after the event, which you can use to begin some post-event analysis. You can also use the RTSP address from IP Cameras to live capture into various computerised video analysis software, such as Nacsport, Hudl Sportscode, Dartfish and Angles, without the need for capture/converter devices (which you would need when using a standard video camera with a HDMI/SDI feed).


Sound is an important part of a video capture process. Not all IP Cameras will give you the ability to synchronise sound so that it can be mixed with your captured video file, but with AP Capture this can be done easily and also means that sound can go onto a live stream from the software, providing a resource for both performance review and promotion of your team’s events. Having sound on your video capture also makes it easier to produce more pertinent content for performance analysis assessments, especially when considering, for example, the possibility of taping coaching sessions.


One consideration with IP Cameras is the infrastructure required to get started. If you are interested in a fixed IP Camera, you will need to take into account the location of the camera and cabling/network connections. IP Cameras can be fixed with a custom bracket to an existing structure, or installed via a dedicated mast in a fixed location. This does require some pre-planning and additional costs, but you should look out for solutions that will guide you through all the considerations for an installation (like we do with AP Capture).


Automated cameras (Online)

Automated cameras, such as VEO, are specialised video cameras that automatically track the action on the pitch using AI technology. One of the most appealing features of an automated camera is that it requires little human input. It will require someone to set up the camera and start recording, but it doesn’t need anyone to manually film the sport you want to capture. It uses multiple cameras to cover the whole pitch/area and AI technology to track the play. This can make automated cameras a useful solution as you can save on human resources. When you finish recording on an automated camera, the footage needs to be uploaded online and processed using AI technology to track the play. When it’s finished processing, sharing the final footage with the rest of the coaching team and players is easy as it is already online.


Any "automated" process can be criticised using the same logic though. A task can be completed with fewer human resources, which is a major plus, but what do you lose by doing so?


One of the drawbacks of automated cameras for filming sports is if you are looking at utilising live capture and review. You cannot take a live video feed from the camera, meaning you can’t capture it into a laptop to create and share key clips in real time.

Although automated cameras are designed to make your life easier, they can sometimes let you down by missing key moments if they aren’t zoomed in enough or focused on the wrong area. It can also take a long time for the footage to be processed online after you have finished filming. You may have to wait a few days for the footage to become accessible for your analysis. It is also worth bearing in mind that there are only limited sports that are compatible with automated technology at the moment, which could be particularly problematic if you are planning to film a variety of sports.


ANALYSE


What are the differences between online and offline sports video analysis tools? There are many video analysis platforms you can use to analyse sports. Some you will need to install onto a computer (Nacsport, Hudl Sportscode and Dartfish) and can use without access to the internet and then there are platforms (Coach Logic, iSportsAnalysis and In-Play) which are online, and require an internet connection to have full functionality.





Online Video Analysis Platforms

Video analysis platforms that are accessed online and don’t require installation have their place in the performance analysis world. The main benefit of online software is that it can be accessed from any device in any location without having software installed. However, you will need a reliable internet connection. In theory, this sounds like a good solution, but in practice, it can be unreliable when you are travelling and dependent on a good internet connection. As the software is online it can also have limited functionality when compared to offline alternatives, in terms of data collection and reviews for example. One of the key features missing is the ability to capture live footage into the software, which is important for a lot of analysts wanting to impact performances and get feedback to their teams faster.


Offline Video Analysis Software

Most professional video analysis software such as Nacsport is usable offline and installed onto a computer. Some software can only run on a specific operating system (e.g. Hudl Sportscode and Angles on macOS), but some like Nacsport can run on both Windows and macOS. Having an offline software means you don’t need to rely on an internet connection to complete your analysis and can work anywhere and at any time. All online platforms and most video analysis software these days require the same annual payment amount, but a unique benefit of Nacsport is also the ability to purchase a lifetime licence, which can help with your budget requirements.


With offline analysis software, you can take advantage of advanced workflows like live capture, live review, wireless sharing and in-depth data collection and reviews. Although some online tools have drawing features on them, there are offline telestration tools like KlipDraw and Coach Paint which enable you to make very professional outputs, with the KlipDraw software also being fully integrated inside the Nacsport software for an easier tie-in of a typical analyst workflow.





With offline analysis software like Nacsport you can only have your licence activated on one laptop at a time, but you should be able to easily deactivate it and move it to another computer. With the latest update to Nacsport, you can also easily move licences between Windows and Mac computers too.


SHARE


The final part of the video analysis process is sharing your findings. The success of a team depends on effective communication. You have a better chance of improving knowledge and eventually performance if you can make it easier to share your points. So what is the difference between online and offline sharing?





Offline

When you are sharing your analysis offline, this means in person through a computer using a saved video file or through your analysis software. In Nacsport you have a comprehensive presentation area where you can create lists of key clips to easily present your analysis back to your team in a video room or to individuals. Presenting directly from a video file on your computer also ensures there is no buffering or delay so no time is wasted waiting around for files to load. Nacsport also has handy keyboard shortcuts to help you ensure everyone understands what you are showing them, including frame by frame, slow motion and more.

Being in the same room as your team is undoubtedly one of the most engaging and effective methods to share your video analysis findings. You can interact with the whole team simultaneously and start conversations that will only increase understanding and ensure everyone is on the same page.



Online

You can't be with your team all the time, but with an online sharing platform, you can provide them access to your video analysis whenever they need it. Having access to content all the time means that your team can keep learning and communicating away from the field, to help improve and check their understanding as much as is needed. An offline presentation is more interactive, but it’s not always possible to do regularly (especially in amateur sport) and you may have players who prefer to review and learn away from a full team session too.


You should be on the lookout for an online tool like Sharimg, that allows the entire team—coaches and players—to watch your video analysis, communicate and take responsibility for their own learning and growth.


In addition to allowing you to submit videos, analysis, presentations, and documents, Sharimg gives your team the ability to comment, make their own clips, and communicate with coaches and other athletes in a secure and convenient platform for everything. See how the British Wheelchair Basketball team collaborate when using the online Sharimg platform here





SUMMARY


There are pros and cons to consider when getting started with video analysis tools, especially when considering online and offline tools. As with most things, you will need to plan what you want to achieve and how you would like to achieve it.


When thinking about filming sport for your video analysis will you want an IP camera connected to the internet that can live stream to engage a wider audience? Will you have someone control what is being filmed and easily capture a live feed for analysis feedback mid-game? Or would an Automated camera that requires very little human input help you get more consistent footage? Sometimes a simple set-up with a standard camcorder is all you need to capture what you need to get started.


If you are looking at different video analysis software platforms, will you want to have the flexibility of accessing the software from multiple devices that are connected to the internet or will you require software that isn’t internet-dependent and make use of advanced workflows like live capture, live review, wireless sharing and in-depth data collection and reviews?


Most teams we work with take advantage of both offline and online sharing methods. They share their analysis presentations with the whole team in a video session when they are all together, but when it’s not possible to get everyone in place, they utilise an online sharing platform like Sharimg. They can easily move the conversation online and keep increasing their understanding.


At AnalysisPro we are here to help you find your ideal solution. We can support you in each of the Shoot, Analyse, and Share stages of the video analysis process with both online and offline options.


If you would like to learn more or discuss any of the topics raised in the blog, please get in touch here.

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