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Published: 06 Oct 2008 - 02:50 by rooty

Updated: 14 Oct 2008 - 02:34

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Hi, my name's Josh Mills and I live in England. I'm currently in Year 12 (which is Junior Year in U.S.) and one of the subjects I am studying is Design & Technology. For our first project, we have to research digital cameras and design a camera for a specific purpose.

I have chosen to do a camera for use when playing squash! I think this could be used for recreational play (like with friends when you just want some cool photos or videos of your game) or for more serious players who may find it helpful to see videos of themselves playing which may help them impove their game my highlighting the areas they aren't so strong in etc.

I have created a 10 question survey that I need people to fill out. I think the web's best squash forum would be a good place to start! I would be grateful if you could fill out these questions and either reply directly to this post or send me an e-mail at mega_mash@hotmail.co.uk with your answers.

Thanks in advance for your help, knowing what squash players want will really will help towards my project!

 

Name …………………………………………………


1. How old are you?

Less than 10
10 – 15
16 – 20
21 – 30
31 – 40
41 – 50
Over 50
 


2. Gender?

Male
Female

 

 


3. How often do you play squash?
 

Less than once a month
Once a month
Once a week
More than once a week

 

 

 

 

4. Who do you play squash with?


No one
Friends
Family
Professionals / Club members

 

 

 

 

 

5. How long do you play squash at a time?

Less than 1 hour
1 hour
2 hours
3 hours
More than 3 hours

One of the features I would like to include in my camera is the ability to record videos as well as take pictures. The camera would include wireless activation that does not require the user to touch the camera to take a picture or begin recording a video. To do this, I may include a wristband, or something similar, that will allow the user to press one button to begin recording a video or take a photo. The camera may also be set to take photos at set time intervals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Where on your body would you prefer a wireless controller was attached?


7. How often would you like the camera to take photos if it was set to take them automatically?


Every 20 seconds
Every 30 seconds
Every minute
Every 2 minutes
Other …………………

 

 

 

 

 


8. How long would you want video playback to be?

Less than 1 minute long
1-2 minutes long
3-4 minutes long
More than 4 minutes long

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously, this camera will have to be placed somewhere inside the outside the court. Where it is placed will decide what it used to attach it. For example, if it was attached to the glass doors, a rubber sucker pad or something similar would be needed to stick it there. If it was attached to the top of the glass doors, a study clamp would be needed to fix it the doors.

9. Where in the court do you think the camera should be placed?

 

 

10. Finally, how much would you be prepared to pay for a digital camera with these functions?

Less than £50 / $100
£50-£100 / $100-$200
£100-£200 / $200-$400
£200-£300 / $400-$600
£300-£400 / $600-$800
More than £400 / $800

 

 

Thank you so much for filling out this questionnaire. Your input will help me so much with my research and design. I would be grateful if you could quickly e-mail this to me at mega_mash@hotmail.co.uk, thanks again  :)

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Replies...

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From dazza_16390 - 14 Oct 2008 - 02:34

Darryl

16-20

Male

More than once a week

Professionals/ Club Members

1 hour

I'd prefer for it to be attached to the back wall up high so it gives that TV view of watching it....gives an overall view of the game

Every minute...dont want to be sifting through 100 photos if you take one every 20secs

3 Minutes or more

Back wall if possible

$200-$400

Best of luck with your efforts

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From rippa rit - 12 Oct 2008 - 09:48

rooty - I am not sure how practical this idea is, but I am relating my thoughts to the Open/Lock function of the electronic car key.  This activates for a distance about as long as the squash court.  The size and weight seems ideal, and it could easily be strapped around the waist, or put in a pocket, etc. As for the tech aspects of being able to incorporate this into a camera function, well....!

 

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From rooty - 08 Oct 2008 - 05:31

hey guys thanks so much for these replies, they really are helping me because I have to present a "user profile" in my project for the exam board which is basically made up of graphs of answers to questions as well as writing on what kind of features you guys want and what idea i like/ will incorperate in my design.

thanks again and keep posting if you have any more idea try to get more people to do it if you can, the more do it the more ideas I can gather!

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From Adz - 08 Oct 2008 - 00:26

Well, I'm happy to add my responces to the thread too....

 

Age 21-30 (just!)

Male

Play more than once a week

Professionals / Club Members (also friends!)

Usually play for 2 hours at a time (on average - 1 for matches, 2 for doubles, 3 for training)

I always wear a watch on my left wrist when playing, so having a press button wrist band (rubber watch strap preferably) would be the best thing for me. Also know loads of people who hate wearing anything on their wrists, so how about an ankle band or something attached to the button-holes on a polo-shirt? Maybe some sort of pinned badge depending on if you can make it unnoticable enough!

I have to say I'd want the camera to have adjustable settings for video and camera. Camera stills would ideally be programmable from 5 seconds to 150 seconds at 5 second intervals and turned off and on using the button remote (to save storage capacity when between games or for an injury, decision query etc).

As for video, I'd want to be able to turn the recording on and off using the remote with storage capacity up to 2 to 3 hours!! Basically I'd want to be able to record 1 match at a time. This can be up to 2 hours with doubles, or if I wanted to record a training session then I would want somewhere around 3 hours.

I think the mini-tripod at the front is a good idea, but the camera equipment would have to either be durable enough to withstand impacts from the squash-ball / racquet or come with some sort of perspex case to protect it from impact. Also having something that can attach above a door (some sort of very thin metal L-bracket?) would allow you to fit above the entrance way. Perhaps different "fixings" can be made available to fit a standard tripod fitting on the bottom of the camera? That way the person could use their own tripods or one of several specialist fittings that you can design as additions to your product. Starters for ten would be mini-adjustable tripod (loads in existence), a door-top hook or L bracket, a wrap-around flexible bar (to attach to railings?). Basically you'd need to cover the following areas....... Front court, top of door, balcony area, outside a glass-back court. If you had adjustable or interchangable options to suit this then it would a major plus point. As mentioned earlier, having a fish-eye lens or a very wide-angle lens would also be a must-have. On court you're dealing with a very small space to film in, and to get all the width you'd need to have some very wide filming angles.

Finally the cost would purely be down to the target audience. In terms of raw material cost, you could make a functioning camera and sell to a good profit for no more than $200-$400 (£100-£200). For this I'd expect to have all the features mentioned above, as well as having a compact enough camera to carry weith me if I went on a family day out. This would take the product out of the specialist market and keep the price attractive to the general user. If you wish to go for the very selective market (e.g. specialists and professionals) then you could go up to the regios of $20,000 or £10,000 for the right piece of equipment. I once worked with a university on a visual-cue study using a camera that had cost £10,000! And it was black and white!!!! The extra cost was because the camera could shoot at a huge frame rate especially to slow down the action and very each fraction of a second. When being used for analysis this was very important, but the average club user it just wouldn't be worth the outlay on the camera.

 

I hope this helps somewhat?

 

Also if need be I can find out the model of camera I talked about as well as getting a bit more info on "camera tracking technology" that a friend of a friend specialises in. This is the stuff they use in professional football matches to track players from above. Perhaps if you take your camera ideas to a very specialist area of application this is something you might be interested in?

 

Cheers!

 

Adz

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From rippa rit - 07 Oct 2008 - 14:06   -   Updated: 07 Oct 2008 - 14:09

jimbob/rooty - the idea at the front is great, and really when centres are designed need to think about video for recording or coaching and have overhead controlled for the camera  to get the whole court in.  When we did the overhead from the front of the court positioned on the side wall Ray had this huge ladder on the adjoining court, had built a stand to screw the camera on, had to make a hole in the netting to place the stuff through, or lift the netting at the side to place the camera inside the court, and then he perched up there to video - don't think that would have passed the workplace safety standards!  At the front at the tin it was a laugh, as Ray sat down on the floor and tracked the play, and was safe with our top players, but with beginners he would need to be in a cage!  The funny thing was, when Ray got down on the floor with the camera his feet stuck up so he had to avoid videoing his feet.....yes, one wall play is fine but as soon as it takes in the other corners it does not work well, though we did get routines videod not too badly from above at the back of the court, once again it is necessary to track the play to get it all in. 

We made sure we had fun and enjoyed doing it with the players just the same, especially when the ball was flying past Ray's head.....

I am speaking for Ray as he is still working like crazy to get our site in order for the new look, etc. and there is so much to do yet....but it is all good but cannot happen at the flick of a switch unfortunately.

 

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From jimbob1965 - 07 Oct 2008 - 08:52

I have also responded to Josh, but direct by email.  As you know Rippa, I have done a bit of video capture recently and it is not easy, so anything to make it more convenient would be welcome, so well done to Josh for thinking about possible solutions to the problems of videoing squash!  The remote control feature could be useful as it is a pain interrupting play to start and stop capture or move camera position. 

I echoed what you and Mike say about needing a variety of court positions, including on the floor near the tin and in the corners.  Some kind of mini integral tripod attachment would be useful from that perspective.  From my experience as well, another good feature to have would be extra wide angle capability as it is impossible to capture the whole court without positioning the camera quite far back, which is impractical for most courts, even glass backed courts as there is often just a narrow corridor of space behind the court.  For wall mounting, rubber suckers may prove problematic as they may not stick long enough, particularly if walls are porous or uneven.

Josh, I look forward to hearing more about the results of your survey and eventual product designs.  Good luck!

Jimbob

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From rippa rit - 07 Oct 2008 - 07:30   -   Updated: 07 Oct 2008 - 07:36

rooty - good luck with your project.

Mike has given you a good overview for club comp players I feel. About the camera, squashgame paid about AU$1500 for a JVC camera to get the quality seen on our Gold video clips.  The important thing is the positioning of the camera (and we do take short clips from various angles, eg from above with a clamp, from behind and from the front but you cannot move around like this during a match), and probably the best view for stroke analysis is taken from the "tin" crouching down) in an appropriate spot, then it is mostly only possible to get a good view of half the court.   To get a really good view of a match, since you need to be able to view all the court and the corners in particular (PSAlive stuff) you need much more sophisticated equipment and good lighting. Also a sturdy tripod and a pan handle will be very helpful.

The problem is if you get crap footage the editing then becomes a nightmare, eg need a superb editing progam.

If you scroll down at this Library link you should be able to access a couple of sample Gold videos.

 

 

 

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From mike - 06 Oct 2008 - 10:22

Name: Mike

21-30 yrs

Male

Play more than once a week

Play with Club Members

Usually play for less than 1 hour (matches), or 2-3 hours during practice matches

I would much prefer a controller that doesn't attach to my body, instead I'd put it on the floor in front of the tin. Anything on the body can be distracting. If it were very light and could be embedded in a wrist band that could be okay, but the band would need to be washable!
Otherwise the camera could be activated by clapping your hands :)

1 minute interval for still shots.

More than 4 minutes for video

At single-level facilities where the glass back wall stops at the appropriate height a clamp to attach there would be best. A lot of courts are two story though, with the ref and spectators upstairs looking down on the court. For these courts you'd need an attachment that could work with various railing types.

I think $100-$300 is probably a reasonable target price range. Casual users probably wouldn't want to pay morre than the cost of a mid-range digital camera, and those willing to pay for high end equipment would want high end equipment in return.

Recording at a higher framerate at certain times could be helpful for analysing fast actions and allow for better quality slow motion on replay.

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