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Dialogue: Establishing a Record Capability Site

Nov. 8, 2007

The following is some interesting dialogue that Pat Byrne thought would be helpful for others to review and perhaps comment to those involved. (As in any email thread, read from the bottom up.)


Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 12:54:15 -0600 (CST)
From: Roger Hammel <>
Subject: Re: Re: Fwd: tech comments - An idea on Pangaea 25
Total agreement with Dan.

Simple is best

Crawl b4 you walk.

Slalom event is easiest, tricks is hardest IMHO if you try to go all out and shoot the moon from a technical goal standpoint.

Have redundancy, redundancy and more redundancy.

Did I mention redundancy and backups to backups.

Plan your access to cameras & test points for systems.

Strongly consider SAFETY in working aloft on cameras. Folks DO fall off ladders & telephone poles. At those heights, we are talking about a porentially fatal fall. That is why I use a telephone company quality lineman's belt and have a stepped pole when I work on our jump cameras. Others raise and lower the cameras via pulleys or guyed poles and don't climb. BE SAFE.

Test, then test in practice, then test class C live, B4 you go live class E,L, or R.

Have more than 1 on site person who knows the systems. I have not done this at Timberlake and it scares me every tournament we do when we use tech systems. If something happens to me, we are done.


Date: 2007/11/15 Thu AM 09:08:40 CST
Subject: Re: Fwd: tech comments - An idea on Pangaea 25

Pat / George,

Roger covered it pretty well. The only thing I would suggest is to remove as much technology as possible. What I mean by that is you should use coax cable instead of radioif possible. Don't use a live feed from the boat for trick - youcan almost count on it failing at least once - and if it fails during alegitimate record run I will let you tell the skier why it was missed. In general try to simplify it as much as possible. If you doan 'R' trick use 5 judges, if you can't get 5 then make it an 'L' and behappy.

Then get backup systems for everything- PC's, cameras, batteries, power supplies . . . I have beento more that one tourney that the statement "I never had one of thosefail" was uttered. Sometimes its just bad luck too like a lightingstorm frying everything other times its an issue like somebody forgot tocharge batteries overnight.

I try to use 2 vcr's for taping. Ifone fails you have a backup - there have been several records denied becausethe video was not functioning.

Don't have different events sharingequipment (except pc's for video trick and jump). Have dedicatedvcr's and cameras for each event. It just makes event changes easier.

Make all the equipment accessible inthe event of failure. Repelling down cliffs and scaling high tensionwire skeletons is not fun and should be avoided. Bank on the factthat something will break and make it as easy as possible to replace.

Then, after all that, the most overlookedarea is the tournament officials. I would suggest getting a seasonedgroup of individuals.

The best way to test it is to sanctiona tourney 'C' and run it like a 'E/L/R'. You will get to play withthe new toys and if it fails, no harm - they are not required for a 'C'anyway. If it works then do the next one 'E/L/R'. Many siteshave used this strategy with great success.

Here is a short list of some of my favorite game day issues that always seem to pop up.
-Rain, water and electronics don't mix
-Radio interference with wireless devices. When talking on a radiothe wireless link to the vcr craps out
-generator failure
-The overly helpful individual who always seems to know more about everythingthan anyone else and inevitably screws everything up.
-My favorite
- Friday everything checks out and I go tosleep happy
- Saturday bad signals everywhere - poor qualityvideo
- The problem, they brought in a sound systemand ran the speaker wires right next to my coax. The speaker wire induced enough emf into the coax to cause wiggly lines on the display.

With that being said I want to stressthat is it not impossible to do. But you need good quality equipment and plenty of time to set it up and test.

11/14/2007 08:54 PM
Subject Fwd: tech comments - An idea on Pangaea25


Roger provided a pretty thorough responseto George Vosburg's request. He suggested that you might have more to add.

Pat Byrne
860-205-4182 cell

----- Message from "Roger Hammel" <>on Wed, 14 Nov 2007 09:04:36 -0600 (CST), ""<>, "PAT BYRNE" <PJBYRN@AOL.COM>cc:"ROGER HAMMEL" <>Subject:tech comments - An idea on Pangaea 25

I think George should be able to meet necessary items for class E record slalom, assuming the B.O.D. keeps that classification. (Currently, rulescall for VCR usage not DVD for recording end course, and you must havesufficient optical zooming capabilities, not digital zoom. Whateversystem is used on gates needs to be bulletproof as you have non-techie judges operating it.) For class L & R, you will need judges locatedon BOTh sides of the lake with duplicated video record and playback capabilitiesfor the gates, OR just one side like in E but with a VCR in the boatand multiple tapes and duplicated playback capability. Camera in boat tobe used for all class L & R skiers. (rope handler becomes cameraoperator, CJ decides when to review tape - basically anytime the boat andshore judges split on their bouy calls.)

Here are comments on other events E,L or R.

Jump can be E,L or R with approved Corson video jump measuring, butsetup is tighter for E & L & tighter still for R. TC needsto examine setup spreadsheet along with surveying jump course. Itis a camera coverage issue vs. distortion in optics. If initial design& setup is kosher, then everything usually falls into place for E &L. sometimes R is difficult because of the longer test distances- 230 feet plus.

Tricks is a whola differernt matter. Need 5 reg or sr judges forE if no immediate video review capability and still need camera in boatfor L & R like in slalom. L requires majority Sr, judges whileR requires more Sr (see rulebook inside cover). Need video(frame count) timing for L & R.

With immediate video review capability (usually judges calling from infront of a TV with live video feed from boat or from shore) you can use3 judges. L requires majority Sr, while R has all Sr. If youdecide to use video taken from an elevated location on shore, you needa ROCK SOLID capabiliy camera system and experienced operator. Ifcamea operator misses something, ALL judges miss it and it is a redo.

Need similar rock solid system from boat. If wireless feed goes down,you need to have captured the video in boat on camcorder, then stop tournamentto play the tape for judges to complete calling the run. If not,it is a reride. Be prepared for technical hiccups. I have only been toone tournament where from boat video used that there was not hiccups. Iwas TC and I chewed off my fingernails trying to keep the system runningperfectly. That system requires a relay with back-to-back systems to functionwithout blue-out issues from signal bounce.

As an official, I do not like live video from boat if camera operator isrequired to take place of boat judge. I believe you give up too muchby eliminating boat judge, but 07 rules allow it. However automating thecamera operator functions (so you can keep the boat judge) is not trivialand getting sufficient "zoom in" to adequately see skiers whilebeing able to see tricks done outside the wake) e.g. SS & Reverse doneoutside immediately before cutting for a flip proves optically difficultif the camera can not "pan". If it can pan, who controlsit and how....not a tgechnically trivial problem...if boat judge is stillused for his/her traditional duties. Dave Clark used a kludgey mirrorsystem mounted on brackets on front of camcorder, but it worked and wasbulletproof, although it took some getting used to. But Nationals& team trial judges did get used to it.

I bellieve Dan Baumgart can add to the discussion with good ideas.


Date: 2007/11/14 Wed AM 07:27:47 CST
"" <>
Subject: Re: An idea on Pangaea 25


I think you are there if you get the judges, although I have no personalexperience with Record tournys.
I am forwarding to Roger Hammel and Pat Byrne.

-------------- Original message from ""<>: --------------

> Hi Bill
> An idea, not sure if a good one, Have had some interest in a record
> for July 12 & 13th July 25th. Well at least for Slalom on Sat.
> Before jumping in with both feet, I am testing the waters with a toe.
> I have cameras on gates, a camera for end course and Ed Brazil
> certification on course and judges towers and computers and DVD
> recorders and VCR recorders and digital recorders and flat screensand
> and what else???
> Is it just to the point of Just people?????
> Is there a body from the east that might be anywhere near me to line
> up the steps to "get it done" or do I have to reinvent thewheel???
> I think I can do it site wize, now what???
> gov




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