Record Golf Swings with your Smartphone

Taking photos on phones is something we’ve all been doing for years. With the improving quality of video and increasing size of the screens on smartphones, it is becoming easier to do.  Scenes from some movies are now being shot on phones!  Film clips which are recorded on your smartphone can be uploaded directly to YouTube and social networking sites sent to other people via email or sms.

If it is so simple to use your phone to film golf swings, then go ahead.

Note: when you visit golf tournaments there are usually restrictions on using cameras and phones, so please observe those restrictions.

Why use your smartphone

  • You almost always have it with you.
  • It is compact and easy to use.
  • The resolution varies with different types of phones, but is adequate for reviewing golf swing footage.
  • You can share it with others.
  • You can use an analysis app to review the swing and compare it to other players or your previous swings.  Note: this doesn’t apply to all apps, especially the free ones.

How to use your smartphone as a video camera

  • Identify where the camera is positioned on your smartphone.  For most smartphones the camera can be found on the back.
  • There will be a dedicated key on your phone to begin and end a recording.  If there isn’t, you can adjust your phone settings to allocate one of the buttons on the side of your phone to begin and end recording.
  • Hold the phone as steady as you can.  Any movement at all will affect the image quality and therefore your ability to make an accurate analysis, particularly if you are using an app with graphics.
  • Hold it steady.
    • Rest it on a stable object
    • Use a tripod
    • Hold the camera close to your body.
    • Stand balanced equally on both feet so you are less likely to move.
  • Hold the phone horizontal.  This means the long side of the phone will be horizontal.  The reason for doing this is that when you are playing back the image it will fill the screen.  If you hold your phone upright, you may need to flip the image 90° to view it correctly.  Some phones and apps won’t allow you to do this.
  • Select a high speed setting if it is available on your phone.
  • Use the manual focus on your phone.  This usually means tapping on the centre of the smartphone screen.

Camera Position

  • Positioning the camera in the same way each time you take some footage will allow you to more accurately compare videos from one time to the next.  Even slight differences in the height or positioning of the camera produce illusions in how the footage is viewed.
  • Fill the screen with as much of the image as possible.  Do this without using the zoom on the camera to retain as much of the video quality as you can.
  • Hold the camera in the following positions for two different views
    • Down the line: hold the camera at the player’s hip height (approx 1 metre off the ground).  Have the camera half way between the player’s toe line and the ball.
    • Front-on: hold the camera at the player’s hip height (approx 1 metre off the ground).  Centre the player with the camera held level.

Other tips

  • Film with as much natural light on the subject as you can.
  • Don’t shoot toward a light source or the sun as your subject will appear silhouetted.
  • Watch the screen on your smartphone while filming to ensure you keep the footage centred.

Analysis apps

  • The two apps which I am most familiar with are Swing Reader (iPhone and iPad) and V1Golf (iPhone and Android). Both are available free with the option of a paid upgrade.
  • Download the one you wish to use and then you can record, trim, edit and analyse the footage directly via the app.
  • You can download the app by going to your App Store (iphone) or Android Market (Android phones, Samsung, etc.) on your smartphone.

Exporting the recorded video

  • If you want to export the footage, there are a number of platforms to export to.
  • Most smartphones will allow you to export directly to YouTube from the phone.
  • Create an account with Dropbox (which is free) and send your footage to Dropbox.
  • Connect your phone to your computer with the software which you will have received with your smartphone purchase. This will either be via Bluetooth or USB cord.
  • Email your video as an attachment. Be careful with file size here. A golf swing is about 2 secs worth of footage, so isn’t too big, provided you have trimmed it.
  • Upload it directly to a social media site. It is likely to either impress your friends or give them a good laugh.


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