Video software used to enhance Olympics footage tested and used at ISU

February 17 2006

An Indiana State University professor served as a practical evaluator for and currently trains his students in the video analysis software that TV stations are using during the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

The software, made by Dartfish, out of Fribourg, Switzerland, superimposes one athletic movement over another for precise comparisons and amazing footage for those watching the games on television. It also is used by coaches and trainers at the Olympics for biomechanical sport analysis, to analyze and improve athletes' movements.

The Dartfish software - being used by NBC, the BBC and other stations to cover the Winter Games - was utilized by Alfred Finch, ISU professor of exercise science, while he served as the research biomechanist at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials in 2004 and 2005. Finch and the other members of the Men's Elite Hurdle Video Development project provided feedback on the functionality of the software.

These digital image enhancements are used by elite and Olympic sports teams and at the Olympic Training Centers, Finch said. At the Winter Olympics, the trainers will have video taken of their skiers, for example, and use the software to break down the run. They will go over the video with the athlete, frame by frame, looking at their movements - how they came out of the gate, how they shift their weight, the body lean, knee position - so they can give the athlete feedback on how to improve their performance.

While working with the Elite Hurdler program, Finch was one of the first biomechanists to use the Dartfish software to evaluate athletic performance. I was able to give the company feedback on functions that needed to be added and improvements that could be made, Finch said. After working with the Dartfish demo software at the Olympic trials, Finch knew he wanted to have it in his classroom for his students, so they will be prepared to do this type of analysis for their athletes when they go out into the field.

With the help of grants from Dartfish Corp., Lily Foundation and the university, Finch established the Biomechanical Sport Performance Center at ISU to train students on the world-class software. Over the past year, Finch has incorporated the Dartfish software into his classes, and through him, more than 100 ISU students and area coaches have received exposure to and training in this technology for movement-analysis purposes.

It was important that we have this type of technology available to our undergraduate and graduate students in exercise science and coaching who are seeking to be accepted for prestigious internships at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers and other high-caliber sports teams, Finch said.

The Dartfish software in ISU's Biomechanical Sport Performance Center also is used by the ISU Athletics Department to provide biomechanical analysis for the improvement of its athletes. Finch has filmed and analyzed athletes for local community athletic teams and coaches as well, who don't have the resources to purchase and train on the software themselves.

Contact: Alfred Finch, professor of exercise science, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3927 or pmfinch@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer/media contact: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

 

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An Indiana State University professor served as a practical evaluator for and currently trains his students in the video analysis software that TV stations are using during the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

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