Tips on video taping practice and matches at home

GodinSession

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am trying to record myself
Practicing and matches against friends at home using my iPhone 7. Problem is in the video the center of the table just looks like a bright blob when I have my pool table light on. It makes it impossible to see what ball is what on the video. Any idea how to fix this?
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I am trying to record myself
Practicing and matches against friends at home using my iPhone 7. Problem is in the video the center of the table just looks like a bright blob when I have my pool table light on. It makes it impossible to see what ball is what on the video. Any idea how to fix this?
It sounds like you don't have uniform lighting on the table. You can get a light meter for about $30 -- there's a thread on it. Look for "lux".

You could try a couple of cheap shop lights spread out temporarily to see if that fixes it.

Is there no way to set the exposure on the iPhone?
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Try placing the camera above the lights and turn of autoexposure, you can then set the level to what looks best. Although the phone may not have those options. When I used a webcam to stream matches I had to use the software to adjust the levels quite a bit in order to get the white hotspot effect out of the video, this is the software that worked with my camera but the example is not English, still should give you an idea about what to check for https://microsoft-lifecam.en.softonic.com/
 

Cbrown1

Registered
Instead of going to video and pressing record, go to video and tap on the center of the pool table in the screen and a slide bar for contrast will appear. Slide it up or down until you have the best focus and contrast. Should improve it greatly.
 

td873

C is for Cookie
Gold Member
Silver Member
Recording from iPhone suffers from autofocus/autoexposure. It tries to help you, but it sometimes isn't helpful. There's a simple work around for pool videos: et to video mode and then touch the screen at the brightest point of the table. That *should* get the phone to use that as the reference point and it will adjust the exposure/focus for you. Video should be fine. But, you may suffer from re-focusing when you walk in front of the phone and that usually messes up the video. To get around this, you can *hold* your finger the screen until a little yellow box shows up and says "AE/AF lock" - that's Exposure and Focus Lock. Assuming your camera is stationary, this will keep your selected reference point for the video session. As Cbrown1 noted, if it's still too bright -> after you get the LOCK on -> you can slide your finger up and down on the screen to adjust how bright the video is.

Shortcut:
1) set up camera [tripod or whatever]
2) tap screen at brightest point and that will be your focus/exposure reference point. You can then record.
3) *option* touch and HOLD on the brightest spot of your table until the yellow LOCK box shows up.. slide up and down to get exposure right. Then record.

You have to repeat this every time you do a new video.

-td
 

GodinSession

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Recording from iPhone suffers from autofocus/autoexposure. It tries to help you, but it sometimes isn't helpful. There's a simple work around for pool videos: et to video mode and then touch the screen at the brightest point of the table. That *should* get the phone to use that as the reference point and it will adjust the exposure/focus for you. Video should be fine. But, you may suffer from re-focusing when you walk in front of the phone and that usually messes up the video. To get around this, you can *hold* your finger the screen until a little yellow box shows up and says "AE/AF lock" - that's Exposure and Focus Lock. Assuming your camera is stationary, this will keep your selected reference point for the video session. As Cbrown1 noted, if it's still too bright -> after you get the LOCK on -> you can slide your finger up and down on the screen to adjust how bright the video is.

Shortcut:
1) set up camera [tripod or whatever]
2) tap screen at brightest point and that will be your focus/exposure reference point. You can then record.
3) *option* touch and HOLD on the brightest spot of your table until the yellow LOCK box shows up.. slide up and down to get exposure right. Then record.

You have to repeat this every time you do a new video.

-td
Great! This sure sounds like it will work. I will try it today. Thanks for the time you put into this thorough response!
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Hey great timing on this thread.... I was just about to start a new one on the member's choice in recording equipment and placement.

So..? what's everyone using these days..? Webcams...?
 

DynoDan

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I‘ve had good results using an iPad Pro suspended from my unfinished basement ceiling joist. Perfectly duplicates the view seen from the foot of the table on those Va. Beach 14.l tournaments last year. It has the max. memory, so at 720p, any long run I’m capable of won’t be cut.
 

Protractor

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Hey great timing on this thread.... I was just about to start a new one on the member's choice in recording equipment and placement.

So..? what's everyone using these days..? Webcams...?
I use two cameras for working on specific things in my practice seesions: a GoPro mounted to the light for the overhead view and a cheap Panasonic digital vidcam on a tripod feeding a older Panasonic DVR for lengthwise vid. I use a tablet to review the GoPro video and the DVR is connected to a TV near the table that is only used for my pool school. I have not had the overexposure issue with this equipment.

So far it is easier to do slow mo review with the DVR but I haven't explored other options on the tablet yet. I am just now starting to use a Surface Pro sitting on an ironing board at the foot of the table to get a better look at my PSR and stroke. The advantage of the SP is that it has a kickstand that allows you vary the angle (height) of the camera.
 

Patrick53212

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am buying a GoPro Hero9 and will have to let you all know what I think. I intend to use it for a number of recordings with regards to my practicing pool as well as my fishing trips. I will be editing down the videos from fishing and may start posting those on GabTV which is being done by Gab.com.
 

td873

C is for Cookie
Gold Member
Silver Member
@The_JV The equipment you chose is dictated by the result you're looking for (recording/streaming).

For recording long sessions, I use GoPro 8 black and it's great for that. Virtually unlimited recording time. Depending on distance to the table, you can use normal-to-wide angles. The GoPro app allows for remote control and provides some minimal recording download capabilities as well [wifi download from GoPro to phone]. There are a few downsides to the gopro, including the recording quality is only decent [at best] (even at 4K); there is no ability to change lenses, and you can't really shoot closeup (macro). Also, for most recording solutions (including gopro) you have to port over to some device to process the video. You can download short clips to your phone, but the transmission rate is not great, so that feature isn't really usable for more long clips. Also, you can't program exposure or focus, so you have to adjust every session. Audio is not great, but usable. External mic requires buying a separate adapter kit. [I also use GoPro 4 and a Akaso 4K camera for POV/head mounting]. And, GoPro has proprietary mounting hardware (although ebay kits are pretty good).

For high quality recording, I use Canon M50. With multiple lenses and programming features, you can get great, high resolution video. You also have the ability to control all aspects of your recording. With a wide selection in lenses, you can get your recording just right. External microphone is very nice to have. I prefer this camera for most video sessions under 30 minutes. [Note: 30 minutes is the limit for recording on a digital camera (like a DSLR). That's kind of a bummer]. This camera is all-around better than the gopro, but the 30 minute time limit is huge impediment. There are some firmware upgrades that auto re-start the video, but I don't use that much. Also, 4K "shrinks" the usable image sensor, so you have to use a wide angle lens or move the camera further away.

For one off shots or very short clips, I use iPhone or iPad. You can process video right on the device and then publish. Easy peazy. It's actually the method I would probably use most if it didn't fill up my phone as it's simply and doesn't require a computer to publish.

In terms of views: my Gopro and Canon are both hard mounted to sliders in the pool room. GoPro is a side view of the table and Canon is an end view. I don't actually like cameras positioned directly overhead, so I don't run a camera there. I've also used a tripod for certain sessions, but they tend to get in the way. I think wall/ceiling mount solutions are better. That said, you don't need a fancy wall/ceiling mount, but having something will help keep the video perspective the same across videos. The bad part is that you have to pull data cards to process video. So, don't mount them too high.

The biggest impediment to recording this way [GoPro or Canon] is the processing. You need a computer of some sort and some editing software. Creating anything that's production ready takes a bit of effort, and there's a learning curve to the software. I've run video with 2 and 3 camera views at the same time and it can be a pain to sync everything up.

So - all of that applies to recording sessions and then reviewing/publishing them. If you just want to stream, that's a lot easier because there is no post production. Canon/GoPro/Iphone, and many other solutions (like Wevo) will work for streaming. You don't really need a computer or software to make them work, but using a computer with OBS is a nice for overlays and mic work. I don't stream much, so I don't have a ton of input for that.

Sorry for the long winded description!

-td
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
So - all of that applies to recording sessions and then reviewing/publishing them. If you just want to stream, that's a lot easier because there is no post production. Canon/GoPro/Iphone, and many other solutions (like Wevo) will work for streaming. You don't really need a computer or software to make them work, but using a computer with OBS is a nice for overlays and mic work. I don't stream much, so I don't have a ton of input for that.

Sorry for the long winded description!

-td
I appreciate the long winded reply... :)

Currently all I have at my disposal is a laptop camera and OBS. This is what I used to record my handful of ghost challenge vids. It works but the lappy camera sucks as expected.

Toyed with possibly using one of my old cell phones as a webcam. The refresh rate is awful though.

Not sure if I see enough value in the recordings to pry open my wallet for GoPro money. Maybe I can find something on the used market

Thanks
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
@The_JV The equipment you chose is dictated by the result you're looking for (recording/streaming).

For recording long sessions, I use GoPro 8 black and it's great for that. Virtually unlimited recording time. Depending on distance to the table, you can use normal-to-wide angles. The GoPro app allows for remote control and provides some minimal recording download capabilities as well [wifi download from GoPro to phone]. There are a few downsides to the gopro, including the recording quality is only decent [at best] (even at 4K); there is no ability to change lenses, and you can't really shoot closeup (macro). Also, for most recording solutions (including gopro) you have to port over to some device to process the video. You can download short clips to your phone, but the transmission rate is not great, so that feature isn't really usable for more long clips. Also, you can't program exposure or focus, so you have to adjust every session. Audio is not great, but usable. External mic requires buying a separate adapter kit. [I also use GoPro 4 and a Akaso 4K camera for POV/head mounting]. And, GoPro has proprietary mounting hardware (although ebay kits are pretty good).

For high quality recording, I use Canon M50. With multiple lenses and programming features, you can get great, high resolution video. You also have the ability to control all aspects of your recording. With a wide selection in lenses, you can get your recording just right. External microphone is very nice to have. I prefer this camera for most video sessions under 30 minutes. [Note: 30 minutes is the limit for recording on a digital camera (like a DSLR). That's kind of a bummer]. This camera is all-around better than the gopro, but the 30 minute time limit is huge impediment. There are some firmware upgrades that auto re-start the video, but I don't use that much. Also, 4K "shrinks" the usable image sensor, so you have to use a wide angle lens or move the camera further away.

For one off shots or very short clips, I use iPhone or iPad. You can process video right on the device and then publish. Easy peazy. It's actually the method I would probably use most if it didn't fill up my phone as it's simply and doesn't require a computer to publish.

In terms of views: my Gopro and Canon are both hard mounted to sliders in the pool room. GoPro is a side view of the table and Canon is an end view. I don't actually like cameras positioned directly overhead, so I don't run a camera there. I've also used a tripod for certain sessions, but they tend to get in the way. I think wall/ceiling mount solutions are better. That said, you don't need a fancy wall/ceiling mount, but having something will help keep the video perspective the same across videos. The bad part is that you have to pull data cards to process video. So, don't mount them too high.

The biggest impediment to recording this way [GoPro or Canon] is the processing. You need a computer of some sort and some editing software. Creating anything that's production ready takes a bit of effort, and there's a learning curve to the software. I've run video with 2 and 3 camera views at the same time and it can be a pain to sync everything up.

So - all of that applies to recording sessions and then reviewing/publishing them. If you just want to stream, that's a lot easier because there is no post production. Canon/GoPro/Iphone, and many other solutions (like Wevo) will work for streaming. You don't really need a computer or software to make them work, but using a computer with OBS is a nice for overlays and mic work. I don't stream much, so I don't have a ton of input for that.

Sorry for the long winded description!

-td

Bummer Dude! Did your bug die in the software crossover?
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think so, Hu. I've been trying to figure it out :( Over a decade of that little bug!

That exact same little bug showed up at my house. It was halfway across the screen before I snapped that it wasn't your avatar. :)

Hu
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The learning curve on cameras/recording/streaming/etc, is quite big. I'm on my 4th camera and computer setup in the past 10 years. Short clips of a single shot are great on an iPhone. But long sessions and you're better off with a dedicated real camera, imo. My latest setup I have an old DSLR with a wide angle lens on my ceiling directly over the table. I climb up on the table to take the video card in and out and turn the camera on and off. I have the firmware hack that restarts the camera when it auto shuts off every x minutes on mine (that is a tax law. If a camera records over 30 min, the tax is higher as its classified as a motion picture camera instead of a still camera).

My prior setup was a real motion picture camcorder on my wall on a bracket. That fed directly into my computer's SSD, via an HDMI cable and a thunderbolt HDMI to thunderbolt adapter. It bypassed the camera's memory card entirely. This setup was great, because I could start and stop the camera from my computer. I couldn't do this with my DSLR because I bought an old used one that did not have the HDMI out needed. I do have the HDMI wire ran in my ceiling, and if I upgrade my DSLR to a modern one that supports the HDMI out, I will switch back to this method of recording most likely.

If you do go the HDMI out route, you need it to be a "clean HDMI" out. The real camcorders, even the ones 10 years old, all have this. But the DSLR route, it is not common, even the new ones. You have to read the amazon comments to be sure its "clean HDMI out". I think Sony does the best job from the comments I've read on having clean HDMI out and long recording limits on their DSLR cameras. Also if you go the HDMI out route, you will need software to record on your computer. There are some free ones, and some paid ones. But that is another learning curve onto itself.

Edit: if you go the used DSLR route, you can get a canon for 150 and a lens for 200 that will work with 9' ceilings and look pretty good directly overhead. Of course you need to move the light. If you go regular camcorder, any one from the past 10 years will work great, and you can probably get a used one for 50. They won't work directly overhead though. The lens is not wide enough. They will need to be at an angle from the end of the table direction (like we see on almost all the streams).

And the other consideration is 1080 vs 4k. I'm still on 1080. To go to 4k, you need everything new, used doesn't have it. So you have to buy new stuff. Also your computer has to be much more powerful, to either edit 4K, or record 4K (if using the HDMI out method). Basically the whole system has to be modern equipment if 4K.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think so, Hu. I've been trying to figure it out :( Over a decade of that little bug!
I suspect that the avatar resizing software actually does an edit on the bits rather than some kind of windowing and the animation doesn't survive the edit.
 

Protractor

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
@The_JV The equipment you chose is dictated by the result you're looking for (recording/streaming).

...

For high quality recording, I use Canon M50. With multiple lenses and programming features, you can get great, high resolution video. You also have the ability to control all aspects of your recording. With a wide selection in lenses, you can get your recording just right. External microphone is very nice to have. I prefer this camera for most video sessions under 30 minutes. [Note: 30 minutes is the limit for recording on a digital camera (like a DSLR). That's kind of a bummer].

-td

Can't you stream the Canon into a DVR to get past the 30 minute limit?
 
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