A Guide to Using IP Cameras for Sports Video Analysis

By Duncan Ritchie

05-September-2022 on Tips

15 minute read

There are many options available for filming sports for analysis. We’ve already talked extensively about the use of camcorders and listed some of our recommendations in this ebook.

 

For getting a different view of the action, you also have the option of using drones. Again, we compiled some of our favourites in this article.

 

I mean, even the phones we all carry in our pockets have better cameras than many dedicated devices available on the consumer market. This can be handy, especially when using apps such as Nacsport Tag&view on iOS.

 

But, today, we’d like to focus on a filming solution that you may not have considered…IP cameras. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what IP cameras are and how they can be used for sports analysis. We’ll also show you how to set them up for use in conjunction with Nacsport and, of course, give you some recommendations for IP camera systems.

 

So, let’s get started…

What Are IP Cameras?

 

Basically speaking, an IP camera is a type of digital camera which connects to a wireless network through which it records and can be controlled. You might also see them referred to as network cameras. These two names are interchangeable. 

 

IP cameras can provide extremely high quality images compared to analogue HD cameras and are versatile in their use. The majority of new CCTV systems, for example, are set up with IP cameras, and their use for sports video analysis is becoming more and more common every year.

 

There are various types of IP camera available on the market, and not all of them are suitable for analysing sport, so let’s take a closer look at the differences between each type of camera.

 

 

Types of IP Camera

 

There are a wide variety of cameras on the market with differing specs and functions and forms, but your decision basically comes down to two choices - a fixed camera or a PTZ camera.

 

So, what does this mean? Read on…

 

 

Fixed View IP Cameras

 

fixed view ip cameras sports video analysis

 

A fixed view IP camera does what it says on the tin - once the camera is installed, the viewing angle is fixed and can’t be adjusted.

 

In terms of sport, we would probably consider these cameras to be less than ideal, as it is not possible to follow and zoom in on the action on the field.

 

Having said that, a fixed camera with a wide lens can give you a view of the whole field making it possible to see everything that is happening. Additionally, fixed cameras tend to be a lot cheaper than PTZ cameras, if you’re on a tight budget.

 

 

PTZ IP Camera

 

PTZ IP Camera sports video analysis

 

Ok, PTZ Cameras are what we would consider to be the ideal for sports analysis.

 

Why?

 

Well, PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt and Zoom. Basically, these cameras give you full control over what you are filming. Usually controlled via joystick through the wireless network, you can easily follow the action on the field with these IP cameras, zooming and panning to obtain great footage for your analysis.

 

Yes, these cameras do tend to be a bit more expensive than fixed cameras, but we believe they are definitely worth the extra outlay.

 

 

Other Considerations

 

When on the lookout for a suitable IP camera, there are a few other basic considerations you should take into account.

 

•    Resolution. Obviously, the higher the resolution, the better the image quality.
•    Field of view. How many degrees can the camera cover? For a sports field, you probably don’t need 360º coverage, but you need to make sure you can see everything you need to, especially for fixed IP cameras.
•    Weather conditions. If the camera is to be used outdoors, weather proofing must be taken into consideration.
•    Storage. How are you going to store the captured footage? Some cameras provide onboard storage, some need an external harddrive. There are a few different options for storage that you need to consider.
•    Portability. Although not directly related to the camera itself, do you want a solution that allows you to move the camera to different fields or grounds? For example, our friends at AnalysisPro have some brilliant solutions for portable PTZ IP Camera masts.

 

 

Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP): An Alternative to IP Cameras

 

If you want to analyse a game live and already have an infrastructure of HD cameras at your club that you don’t want to change, there is an alternative for real time streaming and analysis: converting the video capture to RTSP.

 

To do this, you need a device which acts as an intermediary between the camera and your computer, converting the signal from the camera so that it can be sent to the computer through a network.

 

There are many such devices on the market but, if you’re looking for a more professional set up, we can recommend this AP Multifeed device from our friends at AnalysisPro, which allows you to input up to four different camera feeds, convert them to RTSP and stream them directly to Nacsport for analysis.

AP multifeed nacsport analysis

Of course, there are more options on the market, so do your own research and choose the solution that works best for you.

 

 

The Benefits of Using IP Cameras for Sports Analysis

 

There are many benefits to using network cameras for analysing games or training sessions. AnalysisPro wrote an extensive blog about the benefits of using IP Cameras for sport here

 

Here are a few to consider:

 

•    High image quality. Compared to analogue cameras, the quality of images captured with network cameras is much higher, giving you a crystal clear view of the action.
•    Smaller file sizes. The nature of digital compression means that the file sizes compared to analogue cameras are much smaller, meaning you save a lot of storage space.
•    Live streaming. IP cameras can be live streamed over the internet meaning that you can share your footage directly with your teammates, coaches, fans, or whoever you want.
•    Live analysis with Nacsport. Your IP camera is directly compatible with Nacsport, meaning that you can stream directly through the software, allowing you to analyse live and direct. Alternatively, saved footage can be used for post-game analysis. The best of both worlds!

 

In the next section, we’ll look at the latter and show you exactly how to use IP cameras in conjunction with Nacsport.

 

 

How to Use IP Cameras for Sports Video Analysis Streaming with Nacsport

 

The first step in this process is to ensure that your Nacsport laptop and IP Camera are on the same network and can see each other. This can either be done over the internet or through a Local Area Network (LAN), which is the preferred option. We won’t go into a great deal of detail on how this is done in this article, but be aware that it may involve additional equipment such as routers, switches and fixed IP address configurations on your laptop.

 

As every camera differs on how they connect to the network, please refer to the guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your camera, or get in touch with your retailer.

 

Once the camera is connected to the network, pairing it up with Nacsport couldn’t be simpler. Your camera will be assigned an IP address. Typically, the IP address will be a numerical code which typically looks something like this: 192.168.XXX.XXX.

 

Take note of this number.

 

Open Nacsport and select the Register in Real Time option from the main menu.

 

IP Cameras Nacsport

 

Choose where you want to save your analysis and then choose which button template you want to use for your analysis.

 

In the control window, click on IP Video Stream. Enter the URL, which, in this case, is the numerical number you noted down earlier. Enter any username and password that you’ve set your network up with and, that’s it, you can now connect to your IP camera stream and begin your analysis in real time.

 

IP Camera Nacsport Set Up

 

Note that some IP Cameras require you to type in the full RTSP address and not just the IP Camera address, so if your camera feed doesn’t show first time in Nacsport, you’ll probably need to get the full RTSP address to link with your IP Camera’s IP address too.

 

 

IP Camera Recommendations

 

There are a huge number of IP cameras on the market with a huge range of specifications. In fact, it would be impossible for us to single out a specific camera which is absolutely perfect for your needs. Instead, we’ll give you a list of manufacturers who we consider to be at the top of the game in this field, and allow you to browse their catalogues and choose the best product for you. Please note, Nacsport is in no way affiliated with these companies and we advise you to do your own research before settling on an IP camera system that is best for you.

 

Before we begin, there are various companies which will assist you in setting up your IP camera infrastructure and ensure that you get the right equipment for your needs. We’ve already mentioned them several times during this article, but again, we’d like to recommend the services of our friends at AnalysisPro who can advise you about portable and fixed IP camera solutions which are designed specifically for sports video analysis.

 

AnalysisPro IP Camera Sports Analysis

 

You can contact them through their website here.

 

Anyway, let’s give you some recommendations…

 

 

Axis Communications

 

Axis IP Camera Sports Analysis

 

Formed in 1988, Axis has a long history of producing quality IP cameras which can be used in almost any situation.

 

From fixed dome, boxed and bullet cameras, to a wide selection of PTZ cameras, there’s something in their catalogue of products for everyone.

 

 

Hikvision

 

Hikvision IP Camera Sports Analysis

 

A relative newcomer to the field having been founded in 2007, Hikvision is another company with a wide range of IP cameras which can be adapted to the field of sports video analysis.

 

 

Panasonic

 

Panasonic IP Camera Sports Analysis

 

A name that will be familiar to many, but did you know that Panasonic is one of the world’s biggest producers of IP cameras?

 

Like our previous two entries, Panasonic specialises in cameras designed for security installations but which can be easily adapted for analysing sport.

 

 

Other Manufacturers

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many other IP manufacturers with products on the market. There is a dizzying array of specifications and price points available.

 

Again, we encourage you to do the research, keeping in mind the advice we’ve given you throughout this blog, in order to find the solution that’s right for you.

 

 

Conclusion

 

IP cameras are a great choice for filming sports events, whether that be games and matches or training sessions. They provide high quality images which can be streamed directly to your computer, making them ideal for live analysis in particular.

 

There is a huge range of cameras on the market, so, if you have any questions regarding their use or compatibility with Nacsport, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to provide the answers you seek.

 

We’d like to thank the good people at AnalysisPro for their help in creating this article. Their team of experts are also on hand to answer your questions about the use of network cameras for sports video analysis. You can get in contact with them here.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

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