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Jan. 17, 2007

I am constantly receiving and asking for DVD’s of prospective student athletes swinging the golf club. Due to the fact that we cannot attend all the junior tournaments in the country and the logistical issues of watching kids play at events, a high quality DVD helps tremendously when evaluating talent. However, the problem with many of the videos we receive is that they are shot from poor camera angles and without the proper shutter speed.

I have had the great fortune and experience to teach a lot of great players and many of them I have filmed on the golf course. I follow a few simple rules whenever I am making a video analysis because I want the information I retrieve to be accurate. If you follow these few simple suggestions, I guarantee you will have a DVD you can be proud to send to any coach.

A quick trip to the local hardware store is all it takes: Buy two pieces of ¾ inch PVC pipe (each piece should be approximately 20 inches long). Also buy one 90 degree elbow to connect the PVC pieces. Total cost is less than a combo meal.

Number 1: The Face on Camera Angle

• Once you have connected the pipes, place the elbow on the ground at the back of the ball so that one end is pointing toward your target and the other is pointing toward your feet • Align the center of the camera lens with the back of the ball so that you see a straight line of the PVC is pointing toward your feet • You now have a properly positioned face on camera angle. Camera height does not matter, but level does. If you do not have a level on your tripod, place a pocket level on the camera and adjust the tripod legs as needed. • Mark your position on the ground with a tee or some paint to ensure the ball is in the correct place for each shot

Number 2: The Down the Line Camera Angle

• Assuming your camera is on a tripod; adjust the tripod height to match the center of your hands. Stand next to the camera with your hands gripping a driver. The center of the lens should be in line with the top hand thumb when gripping the club.
• Step off 15 feet or 5 paces from the back of the ball • Position your PVC alignment tool under your hands while addressing the ball so that the elbow is directly under your hands and the one end of the pipe is pointing toward your target.
• Align the center of the camera lens with the PVC pipe so that it is shooting down the pipe toward your target line.
• The camera is now “planed”. The camera is now at the height of your hands, fifteen feet from the ball, and it should be shooting through the hands into the target.

Number 3: Shutter Speed

Many of the cameras made today have a “Sports” setting. This setting is typically 2000 to 4000 and it adjusts automatically to changing light conditions. The minimum setting if you can manually adjust your shutter is 2000. Do not shoot directly into the sun and try to avoid shaded areas and dusk or early light conditions. The “Sports” setting works great for me and I have a Sony Digital camcorder that is about 3 years old.

Notes: Not only is this PVC apparatus a great tool for video alignment but is a great training aid for body alignment and ball position as well. I like using it instead of laying down golf clubs. It is easier to move around and it easily breaks apart for storage in your bag or trunk. You can also attach a rotisserie and cook a tender and moist, succulent chicken.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding these tips.


Bill McDonald