A Guide to Filming for the Horse Biomechanics Assessment
How to get the right video for best results - it is simple, but there are a few things to watch out for
For best results, the horse and rider should be filmed from the side. They shouldn't be too close or too far away from the camera - we recommend filming on a 20m circle (as in the video below) to get the best results. The horse and rider should be clearly visible with a high level of detail.
✓ film horse and rider from the side
✓ film in landscape
✓ use your normal camera app (or apps such as Pivo etc)
✓ make sure horse and rider are visible with a good level of detail (see here for more info)
✓ try to have the horse and rider facing in one direction throughout the video -see below for more info
✓ keep the phone steady and level, but you can move to keep up with the horse!
✓ wear a standard riding helmet
✓ wear your normal clothes and helmet (though avoid bulky puffa jackets to get the most accurate results)
✓ wear your horse's normal kit (though some overly large boots/overreach boots may affect the accuracy)
✓ keep videos short - you'll only be able to analyse 1 minute of video (although you can upload a 4 minute video ✓ and specify which minute you want to analyse). The longer the video, the longer it'll take to upload.
✗ film from the back or front
✗ film in portrait
✗ use the camera zoom (lowers the image quality)
✗ use videos sent to you via WhatsApp or email because these are typically compressed and the quality is poor
✗ use exercise sheets
✗ wear stripes (evidently the system has strong opinions on fashion)
✗ film the rider in silhouette (see here for more info)
✗ film a horse without a rider - the tracking won't work!
✗ film a jump - the tracking won't work (we are working behind the scenes to offer jumping analysis, so stay tuned!)
✗ film from the outside of a circle (unless you process the video in two halves)
Film using your own phone camera
Use your phone's native camera app or apps that use your phone's camera. Don't use videos send by email or apps like WhatsApp because they use compression, which makes the video quality poor and the tracking won't work well.
Use Full HD mode on your phone to give a size of 1980x1020 pixels.
Film with the phone in landscape
Hold the phone in landscape when you film. Portrait won't work!
Film from the side
The biomechanics analysis system uses machine learning to track key points on the horse and rider. These points are only clearly visible from the side, so if you film from the front or back the biomechanics analysis WON'T WORK!
Film the horse and rider facing in one direction throughout the video
Try and film the horse and rider heading in one single direction throughout the video. If you film from the centre of a circle or a few strides of a horse down the long side, they'll be facing the same direction the whole time. In the examples below, the horse is on the right rein and the camera is in the middle of the circle, following the horse's movement, so he will always be facing towards the right in the video. Or on the long side, he'll also be facing to the right.
However, if the horse is filmed from the outside of the circle, he will change the direction he is facing as he moves around the circle, even though he is on the right rein the whole time. So across the top of the circle, he faces to the right, but across the bottom he will face to the left. This video can still be analysed, but you need to analyse it in two parts: the time where he is facing to the right and the time when he is facing to the left.
Make sure the horse and rider are in shot!
The horse and rider need to be in shot. If you have a video where they're only fully visible for part of the time, use the time selection tool on the upload page of the app. For example in the sequence of stills from the video below, you should select a start time of 4s and an end time of 7s.
Horse and rider need to be clearly visible in detail
A lot of filming will take place outside where the brightness of the sun can be a problem. Some cameras will automatically adjust their brightness, others need you to manually set the brightness.
If the brightness is set too low, the horse and rider will appear very dark and it will be difficult to detect any details. The tracking will not work if it can't see the detail. Similarly, detail will be lost if the brightness is set too high. If you do end up with a video where the horse and rider are silhouetted for part of it, just use the time selection tool on the upload page of the app to select the part o the video where they can be seen in detail.
Film ridden flatwork
In-hand and jumping videos WON'T WORK! Well, not yet anyway. We're working on bringing you those options, but for now just stick to the ridden flatwork!
You can film in any pace or movement, just keep the video short and film from the side. For accurate statistics on your horse's movement, we recommend that you film in a single pace (i.e. walk, trot, canter only) for 10-30 seconds. You can also analyse your position and your horse's quality of pace in lateral movements (i.e. shoulder in, travers, leg yield, half pass), although you'll only be able to film a few strides of each before the horse will no longer be side-on. You can also ride more advanced moves, such as flying changes, piaffe and passage. We're working on bringing you specific analysis for these movements, but for now the rider analysis will be accurate.
Get your distances right!
You don't want the horse too close to the camera or too far away. A distance of 10-15m seems to work the best, which is why we recommend filming on a 20m circle. The camera doesn't have to be held still, it can follow the horse, but just make sure it stays level and as stable as possible, else you'll get some funny results!
Don't use the camera zoom as it makes for a less high quality picture.
Use high quality video
Make sure to video in full HD (1980x1020). Most phones will let you change the resolution of your videos.
As we said previously, videos downloaded from email or apps like WhatsApp will not be of high enough quality for the tracking to work well. Similarly, videos that are zoomed in using the phone's inbuilt digital zoom will not be of good enough quality either.
If you have an optical zoom (i.e. a special lens to attach to your phone), that will probably work, just make sure you don't make the horse and rider appear too close!