Friday, June 22, 2012

The Importance of Video

I know I've talked about it in the past, but I wanted to once again stress how valuable it is to video tape and analyze your runs.  Even if your fortunate enough to train with others, you need to hone your observational skills to improve as a handler.  To obtain the maximum benefit from videoing, it is imperative that both you and your dog are in frame so that you can see the effects of your handling on your dog's path.

Nowadays, I shoot from a tripod whenever possible.  It eliminates the shakiness and/or erratic motion that sometimes occurs when the camera is handheld, especially when the videographer doesn't really know where the course is going.  Another advantage of shooting from a tripod is that I can overlay clips and directly compare two sequences.

I can also compare course times (without having to use a stopwatch) and determine if one way of handling is clearly more effective than another.  In order to compare times, it is best to either use a tripod or make sure your videographer shoots the sequences to be compared from the same spot.

I always try to preserve the audio when I edit my videos.  Obviously, I want to know if my verbals are timely, but I also want to know if I am running mostly silent or issuing excess verbals when I analyze sequences that we've run.  Wind noise used to be a big problem in my field until I picked up a handy tip several months ago to help with that.  I covered the mike on my camera with a piece of cotton batting held in place with painters tape.  I was afraid that the mike would no longer pick up my voice out in the field, but it does just fine.  It doesn't cut out all wind noise, but it's a heck of lot better than it was.

Today Belle and I worked on a jumpers course (set with hoops) from the 20-pt bonus line.  If it weren't for the video, I would have thought our main problem was Belle's less than perfect grasp of "left."  However, when I analyzed the video, I found out that I was quite wrong.  Here's the video:


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