Using video camera footage to determine what happened

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Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby JR » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:46 am

Dutch Open 2011 round 3, i think, hole 17 Juho Rantalaiho threw over water landing in the water from where the disc skipped and people couldn't tell for sure at that distance whether the disc hit the fence in front of the ground or the ground. People also couldn't tell if the disc had been over ground or bounced off of the edge of the ground back to water. I filmed this with zoom so i had a better look at the situation than the players because the video image was "closer" to the action than human eyes. The viewscreen of the video couldn't still help us determine what exactly happened so Juho threw an optional from where the disc crossed the water line initially. Once the players got to where the disc was in the water (we could see it and it was fished out eventually) it was determined that in all likelihood the disc hadn't been over land. So Juho used the optional and got the OB stroke.

The players didn't remember having read of if video could be used for determining how to proceed if the video did indeed show what happened. Has the PDGA made rules for using video in determining how to play? If not should it be done? What should the policy be for speed of play and accuracy of judgments sake?

I've joined the PDGA but haven't heard anything back so i was only a roving spotter without PDGA official credentials. Roving spotter menaing from round 2 on following the leader group of MPO. Would the situation be different to a Joe spotter and a PDGA official using video to make calls? This is relevant information because i've been a roving spotter in many competitions while filming already and will do it more this year. It would be good to clarify prior to that. I'm talking Euro Tour and major events so it does have some relevance due to the visibility of the events.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:26 am

I brought up the issue with the PDGA Competition Committee last year and policies along these lines are being considered. The policy will have to be synchronized with the rulebook. For example, I don't think foot faults or illegal jump putts could later be called based on video evidence because those are supposed to be called within 3 seconds in real time. If a video caught someone cheating, say breaking foliage or moving their lie in the woods, then video evidence could probably be used as long as it was submitted to TD for review before the final scores are posted and awards given out. In the case of bad behavior where the PDGA Disciplinary Committee will be contacted, video evidence could probably be used even after the event is over.

I'm not sure it should matter whether the video was shot by a certified official or not. Spectators can be asked for their assistance in helping a group make a call even if the spectators are not officials. If a group or an official would review a video clip, I would think they should be allowed to use what they see to make a ruling. The videographer doesn't make the ruling, just provides assistance to those who can make the ruling according to the rules.

The tricky issues would be whether video evidence can be used to make calls where the group is supposed to make the call based on what they were able to see from where they were standing. Examples would be when a disc wedged in the basket on a blind hole or a disc looked like it landed in an OB pond from the group's point of view but video evidence indicated the disc flew beyond it and was lost in the schule. Could the video evidence be used to change the group's ruling? Would it matter whether the videographer was an official? These will have to be resolved.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby JR » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:20 am

I agree that there are issues to be resolved. Added video coverage of events is a double edged sword. On the one hand the welcoming of videographers may turn to go away mentality if the players or organizers don't want to be on film if they dislike having been sanctioned on video evidence. That ain't good for the growth of the sport. On the other hand the quality of the play may go up if people adjust to future media coverage like every major sports needs to be. No media way less sponsorship. That is why none of the established televised sports can risk losing TV money. That is why even ill mannered millionaire brats do get sanctioned in major sports. The whole sport suffers from unacceptable behavior to advertisers and sponsors.

I don't have anything against looking at the footage after the fact if doesn't seriously effect the speed of play and only in cases of rules regarding situations where there is no time limit to giving out a sanction. I'm hazy on the next rule where video usage may be an issue especially if the videographer is a PDGA certified official. Whether he is part of the event organizers or not i think every official is always on duty to upkeep the standards and thus helping to keep the quality of the sport so creating a foundation to the growth of the sport. If a videographer is a PDGA certified official does he have the power to alone give a foot fault call in the three swecond time frame and if necessary to decide on the correctness of the call by checking the video on site in the middle of play? I know that it takes two card mates to make the call but how about an official? Clearly i haven't started to plug the rules yet because i need to decide if becoming a PDGA official would be actually harmful to getting the permission to film from the organizers and the players.

At least one player thought that it was a good idea for me to become a PDGA official but i'm sure that not everyone would like that. Especially after getting the first added stroke that without my official status he could have gotten away with. Even worse in possible rules infractions or sanction cases i'm afraid. I'm afraid of losing journalistic status and integrity. I have acted as a spotter in a couple of majors and more Euro Tour events for the security of passers by thus relieving some concerns of players possibly hitting passers by that are not visible to the tee at the time of the throw. That is why i said beep the video, security first at the Dutch Open because there were many obstructed crossroads to the fairways. I was only happy to reduce the quality of the footage by having to use more zoom than my camera stabilizer can handle so that i could help in avoiding troubles. That's more important. Especially in a country where the majority don't know of disc golf or expect to be in danger of getting hit. At this point in time the events just don't have enough spotters to warn people so a roving spotter is a good idea.

The role of a spotter with official status is easy when the players judge each other. The role of a PDGA official holding a camera trying to also make an event video is very conflicted. Unfortunately our team has HD footage on film of a situation in another event where camera LCD screen could not reveal information about the disc passing mando legally. Which it did and it's easy to see on a computer monitor afterward. And the player was deemed to have not thrown through the mando. Even though he thought it did and i as a roving spotter without official status had only an impression of a legal passing through of the mando but not being able to swear on it and of course not having a say in the matter couldn't sway the three quarters of the group.

Even the player wasn't 100 % sure if the disc had passed legally although he was pretty sure. The others interpreted the lie of the disc to have come from not passing the double mando legally but they made an interpretation error and dismissed the explanation of the thrower of what he thought had happened. That actually did. Exactly like my impression was. And had i been an official it would have put me in a difficult position had i acted only as an official let alone a videographer. Because i could not have said for sure with and without the video at that point.

The situation was difficult because the double mando was a little ways away and the disc hit objects changing directions fast and bounced so that it looked like a low probability that the disc could have landed where it did. Had it not been for exactly that low probability tree hit that the others claimed they missed and judged the player getting unfavorable strokes to him. Absolutely incorrectly. Here at the latest starts the bog for a videographer. If he becomes more than a spotter.

I'm very wary and somewhat leery of becoming an official because i, the players, the video work and the resulting hopefully positive results of added video coverage may be compromised. Which i think would be a blow to the future of the sport considering how few events are published in such detail as out team has. I'm talking as an individual here not on behalf of the others i have worked with making the videos. Although lcgm8 and i have discussed the above incorrect ruling of the group incident that we though could have very likely cost the added stroked player a chance of the finals in that event. Which may not be evident in the scores but having seen how it effected the said player in the next few holes it is evident that he took many extra strokes as a result of being so disgusted. So many strokes that it really seems likely that he could have been in the finals.

Another incident that is well known is the Markus Källström foot fault issue at the Stockholm Disc Golf Open 2010. Here again i had conflicted loyalties filming at the same time being caddy for David Feldberg who was gotten to second the foot fault call by Nikko Locastro. Even with the better camera angle i had than the other video on Youtube of the same incident my footage doesn't show the issue clearly. I looked above my camera and didn't have the patch of grass obstructing the view of the mini and the left foot of Markus. To my naked eyes looking down from a steeper angle down at the foot of Markus it was self evident that the foot tip was 2" closer to the basket than the front of the mini. I wasn't about the say anything while i was filming and i was in another party being the caddy for the competition. Had i said something about the footing it might have burned the bridges to one or the other or each parties. Even worse conflict of interest had i been a PDGA official.

Things would be peachy if every player would like to play by current rules stickling to them strictly and liking the fact that there would be a PDGA official in place closer to where the disc lands than they are. I don't think that is the case. As a videographer i am not at ease with having a loyalty to the PDGA to uphold the rules if i were an official if that hurts the bigger picture of getting more exposure to the sport. I don't want to risk that.

That is why i would like to have feedback from everybody on their views of what the general consensus is about videographers pulling double duty as officials. With obervations on the pros and cons. Thank you for your input. At he moment i don't need the official status to compete because my lie is behind the camera not in larger events on the tee. That can change over the years one never knows.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:36 am

You have to be a designated official for the event, not just a person who passed the official's test to make a call as an official at a PDGA event. All of the players at NTs and Majors will be certified officials this year. However, none of them will be officials in terms of how "official" is used in the rulebook (except TDs or assistants who are playing). Two players in a group will still be required to make the call on rules where that is stated. Even if a group has a Master and three Open players, the Master will not be able to make a call in the group by himself as an "official" per the rules. The only officials in the event are the TD and those who the TD designates as officials including spotters. So if the TD does not designate a videographer as a tournament official, then the videographer is no different from any other spectator.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby JR » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:19 am

That's good to know but it seems that i have to specifically negotiate with the TD each competition whether i'll be a designated official or not if i take the test. So far it's been informal spotter only no official role for us even though we are event staff. Just video staff so the issue of designated official couldn't have come up even if i had taken the test and qualified. If i took the test and was film staff only there would still be a conflict of interest because if i see something that doesn't comply with the rules i would not fulfill at least the spirit of the rules, the PDGA and the game if i don't act on the issue i spotted. As an official but not official for that particular event. I'm just thinking of the conflict of interest here -could it lead to losing of the official status in any case or other sanctions? If the players were asking for my call even though i'm not designated event official for officiating role as a default. Could that non officiating status change in any circumstances or is a non designated official off the hook in all cases? I'm thinking later decided disciplinary actions might be a problem if the video is being used as evidence for example. If no other problem then at least a journalistic ethic dilemma of breaking non interference.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:32 am

The video is irrelevant to the issue of whether you are asked to make a call or provide video evidence as a non-official. Having the video is just better support for your point of view IF you wish to offer it. You have the choice to provide testimony to the PDGA Disciplinary Committee or not as it is whether you have a video to go with it or not. As a spectator, you can provide feedback to the players or not on a call whether you have a video clip or digital snapshot to go with it. If you are a designated official then you would want to use whatever tools you had available to make a call including video if you had filmed the incident.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby JR » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:26 pm

Thanks it would seem that it would be best if i remained non designated official for neutrality reasons and ensuring the least amount of friction between the players and me. For added neutrality i probably won't even put myself in the spot by getting certified until there is a chance i will become a competitor in a such large an event that requires me to.

Are the players self officiating or when available a designated official other than me allowed to ask me to show video evidence of what happened and if i show the evidence to them and it is seen easily on the video allowed to make a call based on the video display at the time? Does speed of play come into the situation?

The video of Dutch Open 2010 was intentionally edited to be on the slow side for the flow of the video because many players broke the 30 second rule. That happened at the Stockholm Disc Golf Open but i think it is cut faster for easier viewing. Because we hope people get to see the Dutch Open 2010 for free once the distribution kinks are straightened i thought the slower pace of the video could be pulled of because the audience has not invested in it. That couldn't really be done with a commercial product. Who can afford to make the audience yawn?

I have heard of very long rounds on this forum and the season start competition in Finland had sudden death in the dark after the first round took four hours to play for the slowest groups because of the height of the snow slowed moving so much. The second round took about 3 hours twenty minutes. I know because i was in the group that had to wade to the farthest out hole in both rounds. Mid thigh high snow for taller guys a little over that for shorter. I saw another guy beside me too standing upright in one place with his navel at the snow surface level...

Video is never as innocent or detached as it would seem. I did not ask for the Markus Källström incident to happen or to be taken up publicly when it did but it could have happened anyway once the video got out. I think my and the other published video footage fueled the fire because there was a PDGA rules committee member present watching the situation and with the ammo provided by the video many other people debated the situation. I call myself lucky to having made the snap decision to not warn Markus about his illegal stance. Because i don't know how he, the other competitors or the audience would have reacted to me saying something when he was already making practice arm pumps preparing for putting. That would have been bad enough as a cameraman and even worse as a caddy for the others. I didn't want people to chase me with pitchforks. Especially when i was gonna be staff videographer at a major the next week in the same country.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:46 pm

I don't see a problem providing video evidence but I also don't think it's appropriate for supporting foot fault calls or stance violations due to the 3-second rule. It's worthwhile after the fact for discussion purposes but not for live calls where the rule specifically has a time limit to make the first call.

If there's video to help make other calls than foot faults, then it's no problem to show the group and for them to decide how to make the call, not the videographer. There's no speed of play issue because the rulebook already indicates that a disputed call allows the group to find an official and even step aside and let the group behind pass until a ruling can be made.
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Re: Using video camera footage to determine what happened

Postby JR » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:22 pm

I agree.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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