Create successful race videos

Technical requirements

Before you get started, make sure that your event meets the two technical requirements:

  • You'll have accurate timing data for each of your athletes, and
  • You'll have a GoPro video camera that will run continuously while your race is under way, positioned near the timing mat

Accurate timing data for each of your athletes

You'll need accurately recorded timing data for your athletes. If you're using a timing company, they will be able to give you a .csv ("comma separated values") file with what you need. (Click here for a sample file.)

Because our system depends on accurate timing data, if you're not using a timing company or otherwise accurately recording your athletes' times, we can't automatically create personal videos for your athletes. Contact us if you're looking for a timing company for your event.

Camera that runs continuously

Once you have identified one athlete in your video, as long as your camera shot continuously while your event was taking place our system can look up the timing for any athlete from your event and create his or her personal video.

Start your video camera recording before the first athlete comes and keep it shooting continuously looking in the same direction until after the last athlete passes.

Position your GoPro for a good shot

Location is everything in capturing a good shot. Here are some things to consider when setting up your camera:

  • Head-on is better than side-to-side: a shot in which athletes are coming straight at the camera will almost always show your athletes for more time, as opposed to a shot in which athletes zip from one side of the screen to another. Position your camera so that it captures athletes coming toward the camera.
  • Position your camera up high: ideally, your camera will be higher than most people's heads, so that if someone is in front of your camera the shot is not blocked. Use a tripod or some other mechanism to set up your camera seven feet high.
  • Have your finish line volunteers protect the shot: your athletes will be tired and excited. Be sure that your finish line volunteers know about the camera and keep people athletes and / or spectators) from blocking the shot.
  • Get as close to the finish line as you can: Ideally, the frame of your shot will include the finish line with just a little border. If you're using an arch or similar structure, get close enough so that the video frame is filled by the arch (that helps to promote your race, after all.)
  • Know where the sun is going to be when you're shooting! If you'll be shooting into the sun, position the camera so that it's shaded by something (e.g. the finish line arch.) If you notice that the camera is looking straight at the sun while you're shooting, reposition it into some shade but do so without dramatically changing the shot. (For example, moving the camera far forward could make it so that you get much less footage of athletes after they cross the timing point.)

Show the website on your cellphone when you start your camera

The key to race videos for everyone is to let the system know the difference between your camera's internal clock and what time it actually is. The easiest way to do this is to have your camera operator load the website on their cellphone, then hold the phone up to the camera right after starting to record so that the camera can see what time is being displayed on the cellphone (see image.)

Using this method, when you calibrate the camera in our system you simply enter the hour, minutes and seconds shown on your operator's cellphone in the video and our system knows exactly what the time difference is between your camera and the actual time of day.

Screenshot from cellphone of website