Is Your Camera Lying To You?

Guidelines for camera placements and what you should see from those placements

Labels: Instruction

Have you ever wondered if what you see in magazines (yes, even this one) is showing you what you need to see? Or how about in video? Can the camera sometimes skirt the truth? The quick answer is yes, and if you're like many who record themselves on video, on high-speed photo capture or via any sort of lens, sometimes, the camera can play tricks on you. How so, you ask? Read on, and check out how if you don't get the right shot with the camera, you're toast.

Most golf instruction photos and video (I'm just going to refer to video, video stills and photo as "images" from now on) are from one of two angles. The first is from what we call "face on," which, as you can see from the three photos above, is in front of the golfer facing his sternum. This position is useful in many ways, but first we're going to look at how it works for the setup.

When setting up over the ball, you want to be able to look at things like ball position as it relates to your body, shoulder tilt, shaft lean, feet orientation, whether flared, square or a mix of both.

Now, here comes the interesting part. My student, Jeff Stearns (a solid amateur player, by the way) is set up over the golf ball in what I consider to be a good position in each of three photos above. And get this, Jeff didn't budge an inch as we took three photos from three slightly different angles.

Shocking, isn't it? The biggest difference you can see in these images (from this vantage point) is the ball position and the position of Jeff's hands. If you only had the left image to look at, you'd assume Jeff might be playing the ball too far back in his stance, with a clubface angle that's a hair open. If you looked at the upper right photo, you'll see Jeff playing the ball well forward in his stance with a slightly closed face. The left image? Look for a push slice to follow from that position. And as for the right image? I'll bet he pull-hooks it from there.

In reality though, Jeff is in a perfect setup position, and the upper middle photo is the only image telling the truth. The key is to position the camera face on, in front of the golfer's sternum, at waist high.

Make sure you record video at the highest frame rate. This allows you to slow the footage down for a smoother slo-mo playback. I like to use at least 60 fps (frames per second), or if I can, I sometimes go as high as 120 fps or more for even better slow-motion video capture.

The iPhone 5S records at 120 fps, and many DSLRS, camcorders and cameras record at 60 fps, at least. Also, you'll want to use a high shutter speed to prevent a distorted "rolling shutter" effect, which makes the shaft look like it's drooping or bending backwards. The higher your shutter speed, the better your footage will be.


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