It was the mid 70s’ when Armağan Asena (R.I.P.) introduced video recordings of basketball games to the Turkish basketball community. I was lucky enough to have known this pioneer that actually brought about an important side of basketball analytics to the table even before advanced statistics or analytical based commentary was even around.
This post is aimed at those that have interest in obtaining services for their teams or players for the up and coming seasons with regards to video editing and advanced statistics/analytics.
Why get a editing tool when you can get a full service?
Lots of basketball coaches, classically thinking that getting a tool and learning to break down game footage will improve their understanding of the game. While in general terms watching and editing game footage are two entirely different beasts; its crucial to understand and recognize that watching one game from start to finish takes two hours and editing a game even if you are extremely familiar to certain tools can take up to twice as much time.
So, with the above in mind I would like to recommend even if you are working with individual talent or with entire teams or even with a league structure that can make sure o game footage solutions, considering doing this on your own is crazy. There is a better way to utilize your time and rather than killing yourself over video editing just focus on coaching.
I know that many coaches doubt and have issues trusting services that break down game footage but given the resources and expertise with present services that are available overall many do a good job in analysis of games.
For coaches and athletes that want to still ponder in editing their own footage here are a couple of services that you could look over to use:
- Dartfish: at a point in the past Dartfish had a great marketspace in reaching out to different levels of athletes & coaches. Its still a top notch solution for prime athletes and in terms of the game of basketball while they miss the element of advanced statistics or analytics its still a decent option. (Pricing ranges from 250$ – 300$ annually)
- Final Cut Pro: Most athletes & coaches prefer to use a MAC system when working with footage and the always trustworthy Final Cut Pro is the most commonly used software when manually editing any basketball related footage. (Pricing rage is roughly 300$ one off payment)
- E-Spor / E-Analyze: The only local tool to come out of Turkey that is seemingly bundled as a service to its users. Its application and process relies on a prior version of video editing and while it has had some success the fact that it is outdated makes it cheap but it’s a decent solution overall. (Pricing ranges between 9$ to 25$)
There will be some if not many others that think that there are other services that others can use in terms of self-editing however, I have to be honest, that the above two are the most commonly used and in comparison to others much easier to access.
Crème of the Crop
So, getting down to understanding the basketball video game footage services. While having explained in the introduction as well as a bit in the prior section, it’s a tricky landscape to navigate through and almost all services try to bring something unique to the game footage breakdown table.
When selecting a service for yourself, keep in mind that almost all services have a pre-requiste checklist.
- The game footage should not be sent in pre-cut (they need end to end footage so there are no missing instances or stats that they can not end up tagging).
- Videos need to be in the best resolution possible.
- Internet connectivity is crucial. You need to have a stable and fast paced internet connection (Fiber connection is the best available in Turkey, make sure you have it before getting a game footage service package).
- Submitting rosters of both teams (most services need the roster data of your own team and the opponent that you play against. If you submit practice footage make sure to clearly mark what player is playing for which side.)
In general make sure to consider the above three points when purchasing a service.
So without further delay:
- Krossover: Most probably the top level game footage breakdown service presently available and has a wide reach both in the US (AAU and NCAA as well as NBA clients) as well as in Europe. They do a good job in terms of turning footage around within roughly 24 – 48 hours depending on what service level package you purchase. Their biggest area of improvement is tagging team specific plays. Coaches manually need to enter plays to be tagged. It is extra $$ of you want your plays or opponent plays to be tagged. The footage is tagged by an outsourced team of video experts and while they have vast basketball IQ they rather not tag plays such as pick and rolls, high screens, 4 down plays or set plays that are extremely critical to coaches that want to analyze oppontents. Their advanced stats are beyond good and they have extremely good customer support. (Pricing starts from 400$ for 10 games to about 2000$ for one season roughly about 30+ games).
- Vidswap: A great service indeed, they are the first timeline based footage breakdown service and their advanced statistics are easy to use and high level for any coach to recognize big differences. They have a very good customization option for coaches that are in to opponent analysis and it allows any coach to be able to not just add in plays or sets once the tagging or game footage is delivered. (Per game pricing starts at 40$ but roughly a season package is 1400$)
- Hudl: Presently the Euroleague game breakdown service provider. Originally Hudl used to be just a tool that coaches could use to breakdown their own game footage but over the last year with the addition of Hudl Assist they are breaking into the service market of breaking down game film with success. A clean user interface and very simple stats as well as much more advanced stats available 24 hours after a game is played. Again like other services their unique buy in is the fact that they not just bring experience but as a long standing player in the market they have a unique timeline element in their service that allows footage to be seen simple. (Pricing ranges from 400$ to 1500$ for packages of 10+ games to 50+ games).
- Sportstec a.k.a Gamebreaker Plus: A front runner in the NCAA and Duke Basketball Coach K having given a testimonial to them gives them lost of juice. I have not used them before but from collagues and peers that have been working in basketball analytics vouche that they exellent customized service and getting all you need they provide a high end service. (Pricing not known to me but I would assume anywhere on the high end of 2500$)
- NACSports: The Spanish based sevice is a full range footage breakdown service and allows manual editing to be done at the same time. It lacks in statistics and analytics overall but in terms of speedy usage it delivers a good punch. ( Pricing ranges between 150 Euros to 1700 Euros for its highest package.)
- XOS Digital: A hidden partner of the Euroleague, XOS digital has been a player in the US market within NCAA ranks, they are one of the top service providers in terms of delivering a bundled package of video exchange, advanced analytics, 24 hour turnaround, the list is endless. Very naturally for so much delivered the pricing starts at 2000$ and goes upwards.
- Synergy Sports Tech: The biggest and best player in the global basketball community when it comes to footage breakdown. They are known to work with the NBA, NCAA and most if not all top level European leagues. Their biggest fail is that their pricing is crazy high. A Single league season subscrption is anywhere between 5000$ to 10000$. Ofcourse you get emmense amaount of analytics and too much information but at a point as an expert in analytics when is too much really too much?
Footage breakdown, is not the end all of everything that basketball analytics really is. OK, it’s a part of the solution and the processing that basketball analytics can deliver but overall I would leave it to you to pick the best option. Make sure to have a clear idea of what you need. How many games will you effectively use this solution for? Bare in mind that you will end up spending atleast a couple of hours mastering and understanding how the service or tool you select really will work. There is also the added preassure of trying to share information with others. While mostly all services do a good job the tools are not good enough in my opinion to handle sharing footage. There is a certain level of hassle you need to consider uploading game footage and then getting it back in time for meetings.
Basketball analytics and footage editing have been two ends of the spectrum that have always gone well hand in hand but to me the usefulness of how much the game edits and how to relay this to players, staff or executives gets lost after a certain point. Winning is what trumps all the time you spend in front of the screen unfortunately but if a 5 minute meeting wherein crucial evidence presents itself to everyone in an organization pointing out the for example small ball can get you the W why not invest in it?