Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Off-Season Bag of Mojo: Video Coaching

Behind The Curtain

This will detail pretty much the process for doing what I do (regularly) on this blog. This is a great precursor for explaining how to do video teaching, cut-ups, scouting, etc when you have a program that doesn't invest in legitimate A/V equipment.

If you don't know by now, I am not a faculty teacher/educator. I work in the private sector so obtaining coaching gigs can be challenging (but not impossible). Consequently, my gigs typically come with a 'merc' status and my 'assets' are not tied to a school system / program. This being the case, I often come into schools who's programs do not have the budget to support legitimate and necessary coaching tools such as DSV or HUDL. To compensate for this, I will develop ad hoc services that these applications provide. Much like the earlier posts about using Excel and other MS Office products for program efficiencies (scouting, recruiting, tendencies, strength & conditioning, etc), this will be an, "Idiots Guide To Video Coaching.....CHEAPLY".

So, with that in mind, the following process will be how I have supplied a 'ghetto-fix' to what those AV services provide, only cheaply (with more effort). This method can serve a variety of needs you may have at presenting data / video / concepts more efficiently whether it is for your players, your coaches, or just sharing information.

Working With Video

The first part is acquiring the video. If you have a robust PC, importing bulk video files in via a camera-firewire connection, or a burned DVD, then cutting up later - great. If not, and if you want to cut down on the processing of the PC, you can simply cut up video by recording the clips you want through a DVD burner. This is actually my preferred method of getting the cuts I want, and it takes up less space on your HD.

The easiest, cheapest, and most user-friendly method I know of is Nero.

Nero is a video editor / DVD creator that I use heavily to create scout DVDs. I import a DVD file/chapter to bring it in to an mpeg/avi format that is recognized on most PCs.

With the video file imported, you can upload it or distribute it as you see fit, otherwise, you can continue manipulating (add audio / cut-up) through Nero before exporting an edited video. Once you have a video file on your PC in mpeg/avi format, you can distribute it, host it to an online server, or convert it to a mobile device (if you want to have available for PSP’s, iPhones, blackberrys, etc).

Working With Images

Another related process that I regularly use is taking image snapshots of videos. This can be simpler to illustrate a point or provide a focus that moving images would detract from. To do this, playing the video through a media player. You won’t find this on many video players. A couple of free players you can use (hey, did I mention it was free?). I would recommend VLC media player or Windows Media Classic v2.4.5
VLC Media Player
Media Player Classic
PowerDVD also does this snapshot function, but it isn’t free. The video snapshots do exactly that, create a jpeg image of what the screen displays. This is particularly helpful in doing your best ‘John Madden’ on a telestrator. All that is required is to play the file, take a snapshot (built-in feature of the program), then retrieve the image file from the save-to directory.

Also, another application I use pretty regularly (much like the video capture) is Gadwin Screen Print. It allows you to capture any display on your desktop at your discretion.
Gadwin Screen Print

If you are running Windows Vista, you are afforded the luxury of the SnipIt tool that does the same thing (small consolation when none of your other programs work in Vista....and Vista / WMP 11 is also the reason you'll need VLC to play your DVDs).
Again, no matter what you plan to do, you can easily create a 'presentation' in Powerpoint, by taking the video screen captures and just using the images, marking the images up, or even better; create marked up animations. In the example below, I am merely taking a hard copy position manual and turning it into an illustrated video by animating segments / objects within the slides.

Here, I take a screen capture of a pre-snap look (of a clip I plan to include in the full video), mark it up, and animate the objects for when I want them to appear (or be highlighted). I will control the slide duration when I capture the presentation in Camtasia (recording).

Again, this slide could serve as a hard-copy handout, or become a 'telestrator' to insert prior to showing the video clip. In this clip, I just illustrate how a defensive back should be thinking prior to the snap (front ID, receiver recognition, key progression, etc).

As you can see here, all I am doing is dragging and dropping the image file into PowerPoint. From here, you can stretch and skew the image. In this example, I stretch the image to have the formation/front the focal point within the page frame. You can use the format options in PowerPoint to mark-up the image to your preference. The earlier Herb Hand and Drew Brees posts are good examples of this (its JUST PowerPoint!).


One other plug I'll throw out there for scouting, is a FREE application that you can use to compile offensive tendencies based on D/D, formation, Personnel, etc. I used this years ago and loved it. Although apparently when I was using it, none of the teams we faced never used shotgun (program doesn't have gun).
Holly Software Scouting Engine

Then I simply upload the exported video to an online video hosting server. In this example, I'm using Yahoo Video (free!). You could use YouTube or whatever else you'd like to host the video at.

With the video transcoded and available, I simply grab the html embedded code and slap it here - voila!


Dave in Oz said...

Awesome post, thanks! It's rare to see info about this important aspect of coaching. Cheers mate.

Kevin said...

Thanks for answering a request..Great stuff very helpful as a coach.

Kevin said...

Follow up question is:
How do you get cut ups from let's say, a college game that you see on the internet (YouTube). I mean if there's a whole game or large portion and I want to break down a few plays of QB tech., can I get that into Nero somehow from YouTube?

brophy said...

and thats the kicker.
Once you upload an mpeg/avi file to online video play in their flash players, it transcodes the video to flv format. This significantly reduces the file size (as well as quality).

While you can download youtube/googlevideo/yahoo videoes. The problem is - (real) flv converters aren't free. You have to have an flv converter to get the video back into a recognizable format to continue editing. The problem will be that the video has been degraded to such a point, that it won't be viable for anything other than future online hosting.

Hudl said...

Great post.

There are some challenges in dealing with the myriad of video formats, file-types and codecs--especially related to DVD.

Where are some areas coaches might get hung up on in this process? One I can think if is not knowing what type of computer or camera they should buy.

Looking forward to the next post in the series.

brophy said...

And there you go. It illustrates just how effective, efficient, and user-friendly a HUDL or DSV platform is. When you have dedicated servers to handle your cuts, you can provide access to whomever you like and recall them specifically at will. Its worth every penny (and I haven't coached with any program that has them, but have worked with programs that do).

These posts will be nothing but a "Poor Man's Fix" to typical issues for industry efficiencies.

Indian1 said...


Have you ever used Fraps to capture video? That is what I have used to do basically what you have described. I didn't know about Nero and was wondering if you had experience with both and could give a comparison.

brophy said...

Nope never used Fraps, though it looks pretty interesting. The Camtasia link was the comparable to Fraps (in which I used to create the pivot tables how-to video).

Nero is completely different, as its main purpose is to author CDs and DVDs. We will be authoring our highlight videos from Nero (we did all our scout and handout DVDs through Nero). Nero is just used (here) to import already captured video, adjust the quality/format, and edit the video.

dacoachmo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dacoachmo said...

In response to Hudl: the next questions is how do coaches get from DVD to a file that can be edtied... is another great video sharing can password protect you videos so only players or coaches can see it. is a very cheap option (@ 100 bucks) for the year!

ThisIsDumbAsHell said...


I might recommend for those who are looking to cut a few more dollars to try Open Office. Open Office is a free answer to Microsoft Office that is extremely compatible with M$'s version and is easy to use.