Forum: Race Officers

Use of video in race management

Michael Butterfield
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • International Race Officer
I have no experience of video taken by a race committee, just seen coach video at redress hearings.

I have been told we should be using video on the finish to compliment the audio and manual finish records.

We obviously could use a phone, tablet, gopro or otherwise.

Does anyone have experience or comments on this.

Ideas on starts fine, but today my focus is finishing.
Created: 18-Jan-01 18:20

Comments

Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Michael, I'll shoot you a private email so we can talk more, but my thoughts are this..

The issue with lens distortion is mainly when trying to measure relative distances. Again when I was RCC on the Magothy I implemented a video recording system for finishes, but in that case we using that as a back-up when questions came up (which was almost every week!). Our situation was made worse in that the RC each week was one of the competing boats .. we all took turns running the race .. so I had to put together systems such that people who only ran 1-2 races / year would not screw it up too bad :-)

Anyway, when we used the video, it was mainly to record the AUDIO .. and have the video image as a reference. We would cue off the audio of the timer calling out times as boats finished and then use that to verify times.

So, back to your question which is using a video camera to actually record the times ...

If you mount the camera such that you are looking through the staff holding the flag on the RC and line-up the pin .. then it doesn't matter what lens you use as you will see when the bow crosses and you can have a TOD stamp on the video. The problem is going to be having someone man that angle, as the RC swings so does the camera need to.

Again how we used/use it, the video was only used to identify the boats crossing .. not the time .. so the position of the camera was less an issue, but more importantly it was making sure the audio was clear and close to the person calling out the times as boats approached ... as another person was on the flag listening to that call and marking the time with a call.
Created: 18-Jan-01 19:09
Greg Dargavel
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • National Judge
2
I’ve lots of experience finishing large Laser fleets with many close finishers. Keeping up with words and paper is often almost impossible. My comment would be to throw everything you can find into a situation like that, including all the video resources you can. Ensure one finish sheet is THE finish sheet and the other resources are used to cross check with THE sheet before you publish...... and then prepare for scoring inquiries 🤔
Created: 18-Jan-01 19:10
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Umpire
  • International Race Officer
2

I have used an iPad with great success to record the finish of large one design fleets with many close finishers; Optimists and Lasers. I use the paper finish sheets as the primary source and the audio and iPad video as backup. The iPad works particular well when a competitor questions their finish position and you can show them the video of the finish. It is also useful when multiple overlapped boats finish and you can use it to confirm that you have a finish for all the overlapped boats. I have had less success with using video at the start. The start line length becomes a challenge, timing is much more critical, video camera angles more problematic. My experience has been it gets you into as much trouble as it gets you out of.

Created: 18-Jan-01 20:28
Chris Wright
Nationality: United States of America
0
Have used still shots and video for back up. Was basically documenting the races but what I heard from judges was you need to make sure it is mentioned in Sailing Instructions. Not so much that it will be used but that video is being recorded and may be used in protest situation or to confirm finish spots. Start line would be different, not insurmountable but different for sure. Proper angles and a way to print shots, straightedge would be the final word.
Personally think it is a great thing to have, especially in longer regatta where brain overload can take place. Like Angelo's points of solid setup straight down the line with time stamp, slower speed the best for still advance.
Created: 18-Jan-01 20:55
Michael Butterfield
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • International Umpire
  • International Race Officer
0
I see no need to mention the use of video in the sailing instructions, was there a reason for this comment?
Created: 18-Jan-01 21:49
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
I was PRO at a Nationals for an amateur adult child class of dinghy called a Heron, popular in England and Australia. (regularly 20 boats at a nationals, 50 at a NSW states)
The host club was http://georgesriversailingclub.com.au/ which sails mainly on Botany Bay, Sydney, Australia and if bay conditions are too adverse, in the Georges River.
The course/start/finish crew from the club recorded audio of the lead up to starts and finishes.
The crew had been on one of the Sydney 2000 Olympics harbour courses (can't remember which one)
They spoke a commentary of everything they saw during the lead into starts and finishes which was captured on the recorded audio. It was available to be introduced to protest committees if needed.
I have no doubt that they would be using video these days because of the availability of cheap, good resolution cameras and cheap video (data) storage.
I understood that they were following the same procedures they had used at the 2000 Olympics and were using it them the weekly 16ft skiff races (he 16s are slightly smaller versions of the famous 18ft skiffs)
Created: 18-Jan-01 23:47
Chris Wright
Nationality: United States of America
0
Michael, it was partly that it takes some of the RD decision out of the process, kind of like replay in American baseball hurting the "purity" of the sport. Up there with, "don't argue with the RD, their word is final". And the protest process could be affected as well. I am searching for the correspondence I had with the rules guy and will clarify once I find it. Was a couple of years ago and technology is changing many things though.
Personally I like the concept, get the call right any way you can.
Created: 18-Jan-02 00:29
John Culter
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
Michael,

i ran ran two major championships last summer, and for the second one, the Six Metre Worlds, there was lots of video around, both RC and press boats. As well, we used the excellent SAP tracking system. The SIs stated that no video or electronic evidence was permitted in a International Jury hearing.

i did this because I did not want to have the RC video from the starting line available for subpoena by an OCS or UFD boat. In retrospect, it would have been better to have the restriction apply only to starts. In the event, the SAP system saved our bacon in a couple of on course redress requests.

For the finishes, we used both iPads and a standard video camera to back up the master recorder and line judge. Worked fine, although there wasn’t a great deal of issue around the finishes. Same setup for the Laser North Americans a couple of months earlier. Again, not much in the way of issues, but good to know there was a place to look if required.

I'm sure you have been using voice recorders in any case.

You'll need to add an extra person to the finishing team. It’s a full time job.

For me, the best way to conquer finish line issues rests with the course design. Watch out for downwind finishes. Works for big boats, doesn’t work for dinghies. For boats without spinnakers, especially Lasers, I prefer reaching finishes coming out of the gate and across the bow of the finish boat. I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since we had a finish problem using this configuration.

Naturally the the class has its own idea, which sets up a stub weather leg below the course. Works okay, just means more boats and marks.

So sure, add some video, but I know you’ll remember that it’s the RCs job to create an accurate finish listing. Other matters loom larger, in my experience, than a video recording.
Created: 18-Jan-02 01:29
John Culter
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
I Michael, with respect to the sailing instruction thought, I can certainly see a well-meaning judge coming up with the idea that the SIs should mention video, but I’m sure you’re correct. There’s no purpose to it.
Created: 18-Jan-02 01:33
Beau Vrolyk
Nationality: United States of America
0
I've used video in all sorts of ways an in all sorts of events including National and Continental events for relatively large fleets (150 boats). Here are a few of the ways that I've found useful:

1) Video of the bridge of the RC boat. Flags going up and down, sounds, radio traffic, everything is recorded. Proved invaluable in one request for redress when a competitor thought that the flag displayed had been incorrect. The video proved we'd done it right. The video is also extremely useful for training RC volunteers. Believe it or not, people have questioned the time-stamp on a video, so I now start the recording of each race with a picture of the GPS displaying the time so that folks can see that it matches what the video camera is displaying.

2) Video of starters in the middle of the starting line, shot from a RC boat that patrols the center of the line from about 100' to windward. One could hear me call: "Gene, there are three boats that are almost a boat length forward of the rest, I can see the sail numbers on the first two, what's the third one?" Then, Gene's response: "They are" X, Y, Z as he read off the sail numbers. Boat Z complained that it wasn't him, we ran the video and there he was.
3) Video record all mark rounding from the RC Mark Set Boat with time/date displayed on the screen. This really helps with redress hearings when the Jury wants to know how far ahead or behind specific competitors were at a given mark. This has proven to be invaluable when a there are redress hearings resulting from a decision to shorten course. It provides the Jury with independent evidence of the positions and gaps at the previous mark.
3) Strap a normal video camera with a moderate wide-angle lens (not a wide-angle lens GoPro) to the poles holding up the flags which mark both ends of the starting line. One person will need to be assigned to pointing the camera at the other end of the line. (The flag pole should be able to rotate.) Because the camera is attached to the pole, there is no complaint about it not being "on the line". I tell the competitors we're doing this at the competitor's meeting.

4) I'm a big fan of what we call the Hollywood Finish: A beam reach from the left leeward gate mark to a finish line set in-line with the axis of the wind. The Finish boat anchored to windward and a Mark Set Boat anchored to leeward. We run a video from the leeward Mark Set Boat to back up the spotters on both boats. (This worked amazingly well at the 505 North Americans (50 boats).)

My opinion, stated elsewhere, is that one can't read more into a video than it actually displays. But, these hours of video can capture some key incidents which can be missed as a recorder, signal flag operator, timer, etc.. might miss. BTW, the video can also capture some SERIOUSLY EMBARRASSING comments from the RC. One must be aware that they are being recorded 100% of the time.
Created: 18-Jan-02 02:11
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
John Cutler, could you explain why you " did not want to have the RC video from the starting line available for subpoena by an OCS or UFD boat ".
Does this mean that the people from the race committee could use the video to make a determination, or to refresh their memory as a witness in a protest or request for redress, but the protestor, protestee or boat requesting redress could not see it?
Or does it mean something else?
Does it deny a competitor natural justice when their score has been based on video but they cannot see it?
Created: 18-Jan-02 02:18
John Culter
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • National Race Officer
0
Paul, Sure. Happy to comment.

For starts, video is no particular help to the line judges, in that the call has to be made more or less immediately. Our SIs said we would broadcast OCS and UFD numbers on VHF radio. While there are times when the call from the pin is "I have three boats—can you see the one on your side?", I don’t think it’s practical to down tools and start looking thru video footage, even on an iPad.


if someone had a redress request around a start, I would do what we have usually done pre-video: offer to let them listen to the voice tape, which is running during the last minute. That’s what the jury or PC would hear. I find starting redress requests to be pretty rare nowadays, after the various WS pronouncements on the subject. I’ve played recordings maybe once or twice a season, and am always happy to do so. As noted above, competitors are usually pretty practical, and often are trying to improve their game.

There are plenty of things a line judge has at the start that a competitor doesn’t, including a stable platform, ideally at both ends of the line; a chance to chat as we watch boats line up; a view of boats from both sides while they are at the line; and probably most important, the fact that line judges have only one thing to do during a start, and can give their single-minded attention to the matter. Obviously skippers have a few other things to manage.

Not sure about the natural justice angle.
Created: 18-Jan-02 07:06
Paul Hanly
Nationality: Australia
0
Thanks John, I get it now. You use audio recording rather than video (with or without audio) and it is available to competitors if needs be as a record of what the race officers saw, recorded contemporaneously. Cheers.
Created: 18-Jan-02 13:09
Rob Rowlands
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
  • Regional Race Officer
0
IMHO, video recordings are very useful at the finish line for one design fleets when several boats cross the line overlapped The camera(s) should have the same view as the line-sighter. As previoulsy mentioned camera needs to pan and tilt to allow for movement of the finish boat. The lens should be of a focal length which fills the frameto include the bow and Identification of the closest boat AND provides enough detail for a boat at far end of the line. The best application I have seen includes two cameras, one slightly wide angle, one slightly tele-photo, mounted one above the other, shooting from directly behind and above the line sighter. It used a tripod with custom bracket operated from the flybridge above the line-sighter on the side deck.
Created: 18-Jan-02 21:09
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