With the London Olympics almost an Usain Bolt sprint away now, everybody seems to be getting into a sporty mood - even if they would rather deny it. They might not want to sit through the 24 channels of live footage the BBC is promising, or be forced to feed on a diet of McDonalds paid for by Visa card in the Olympic village, while quaffing their $7.20 pint of Heineken, but they're doing their bit in their own way.
And what better way than to take part in some form of sporting activity? Jogging, running, throwing or jumping using apps created by Nike or Samsung? Surely, that's the best way to feel part of it? Surely there is no way better than that?
Well, there is. You could always stand filming someone doing all of those things instead. And you can do it with one hand, so you don't even need to put down your Big Mac...
- iPhone (version tested), iPad, iPod touch
Coach's Eye is one of the mind-bogglingly brilliant ideas that's so simple you can't help cursing that you didn't think of it first. It basically adds a layer over the iPhone's (or iPad's) video recording functionality that allows you to scribble over footage or slow it down. And while these both seem simple features, when coupled with sports training, they can be invaluable.
The whole point of the app, you see, is to allow trainers and sporting types to record their wards/themselves doing what they do best. Then they can study the footage carefully, adding annotations and voiceovers as they go, all in order to improve their performance and/or technique.
For example, we tried it out at a golf range where a family member filmed our golf swing (not on our own phone, hence the absence of screengrabs of our awful positioning. Er...). Then, we could watch it afterwards, adding notes along the way.
As well as a slow motion mode, the video can also be scrolled through frame by frame using a flywheel, so you can be really accurate and precise. And after you're done, you can have your iPhone render the final result with annotations and vocal additions in place.
That's not even the end of it. Coach's Eye also has a wealth of sharing options with which you can post and share your end video in several ways. If you are assessing the clip remotely for an athlete far away, you can send them the final result instantly by email or text message. You can post them directly to YouTube, on Facebook or through third-party apps such as Dropbox and Evernote. And, of course, you can save the rendered version to the camera roll.
While not everybody will get full use out of Coach's Eye, it's a no-brainer for sports enthusiasts and professionals alike. As long as one of them owns an iOS device, of course.
On that note, developer TechSmith has recently announced that it is working on a similar application for Android called Cyclops. You can even try out the Beta version of the software for yourself.