The stand alone finish line camera

One of the strengths of SprintTimer is that is an ”all in one” solution with a camera, display and result generation in one small, neat smartphone package. But it is sometimes also a weakness, it can prevent you from placing the camera in an optimal place since you must access it after each race. Or you might not have time get the results after each race if they come too frequently. The recent updates of SprintTimer, however, has made it possible to place one iPhone/iPad as a remotely controlled finish line camera and handle everything from one or two other devices.

I will describe two scenarios that I have tested during a recent race. In the first case, I controlled everything from one iPad at the start, in the other, I used a third iPad to generate the results. In both cases, I placed the finish line iPhone on a stand to get a better angle towards the track and prevent runners from obscuring each other. I used a conventional camera tripod that I extended with a length of aluminum pipe, which got me up to about 3 m. I, of course, needed a ladder to align the camera correctly, but there was no need to climb up after each race.

To make SprintTimer run independently I set ”Auto finish” to ”Upload” in the Finish set up to automatically save and upload the Base video after each race. I also set the ”Start after” and ”Finish length” to appropriate times, in my case for a series of junior 100 m races. I then synced the iPhone with the iPad at the start running Start Sender. Both devices were connected to a temporary WiFi network and had internet access through the mobile (cellular) network. With a WiFi with an Internet connection, the latter would not have been necessary. Both devices were logged into the same iCloud account.

 

The race was started with a conventional starting gun and the sound triggered Start Sender to send a signal to the iPad at the finish. After each race, I pressed ”Results” in Start Sender, opened the Base videos and choose iCloud. I could then download and view the recent race. I marked the photo finish and saved the image and the results. I then returned to Start Sender without having lost the connection. The set up worked fine, but sometimes it took a little while before the video showed up in iCloud so I had to switch to ”local” and the back to ”iCloud” to renew the list.

The second set up involved another iPad for generating the result. This ”results” iPad was running Photo finish and had an Internet connection, but was not synced with the other two over WiFi. The race was started in the same way as before, but instead of going to Results on the start iPad I remained in Start Sender. After the race, the results iPad opened the iCloud list and download the base video and generated the results. This setup, of course, required an extra person and an extra iPad, but made the starting task less stressful and improved the turn around time.

 

An alternative to setting the Start recording time and Finish length, would in both cases have been to start and stop the recording from Start Sender. This would have given me more flexibility since I didn’t have to change the settings on the iPhone at the finish when the length of the race changed. But on the other hand, it would have required some additional steps at each start.