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May 2008

May 2008

How to Choose a Video System That\'s Right for You

Landro inventor teaches coaches to ditch tapes, DVDs, and editors to make players smarter faster.
© May 2008

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In the early 1980’s, videotape replaced 16 millimeter film as the standard tool for coaches reviewing game footage and game-planning for upcoming opponents. While video had obvious advantages to film, coaches were just as limited in their ability to jump to the right video segment as they were with film. Watching game tapes provided video that could help a coach see a player’s problems and correct them, but rewinding and fast-forwarding through tapes was cumbersome and a big waste of time. Enter Jerry Salandro...

Recognizing the need for a system that would allow coaches and educators to actually study video instead of just watching it and also present an exact moment of video to athletes and students, Salandro developed the world’s first play analyzer and dubbed it the Landro. Today Landro is firmly established as the leading play analyzer for football coaches and Salandro’s company, IRIS Technologies, is a multi-million dollar enterprise that supplies video analysis tools to broadcasters, schools, universities and even the Pentagon in addition to coaches.

Salandro recently spoke about the Landro and how it can help coaches become more successful on and off the field by providing a teaching and learning tool for coaches and players.

What is the background of the Landro play analyzer?

Salandro: I laid the groundwork for what would become Landro in my masters thesis over 35 years ago. What I learned was that, with traditional chalk and talk, kids don’t remember much, in fact, less than 3%. But if you use just the right video example, they remember at least 70% of the information and retain it a lot longer. I also discovered in my research that the more kids can study themselves, the better they will get.

The biggest problem I saw with videotape as a teacher and a coach was that you couldn’t jump to the right video segment you wanted quickly. Watching an entire video of a football game during practice was ridiculous but there were segments of the game that were significant to review. I invented Landro so coaches who use video can study the right video at the right time - without using any videotape or DVDs.

How does Landro eliminate using videotapes or DVDs? Is it really different from video editing systems?

As coaches know, it’s important to be able to see plays again and again so that you can point out specific techniques – good and bad – to help players improve performance.

Many coaches end up buying digital editing equipment and using them as cut-up machines to make more videotapes and more DVDs for players and coaches, so the problem doesn’t really go away. When they take them home to watch on their VCR or DVD player they still don’t have instant access to a variety of segments in a game.

With Landro, there are no more videotapes or DVDs. Coaches can make a Landro file of key plays or situations and copy it onto a CD, a memory stick or post it on the Landro StudySite. Players can then study the video on their laptop or home PC. They can then jump from one play to another, do the instant replays, mark highlights; they can basically do what the several-thousand dollar video editors are doing, right on their own PC at home. They’ll get smarter, faster than ever before because the coaches and the kids use Landro to watch video that targets each person.

With technology changing so rapidly, is this intimidating to high school coaches?

There’s no question that the Digital Revolution can be intimidating and confusing. I think, with high school coaches, they’re embracing the new technology but the bigger issue is the lack of budget to buy the technology they need to help kids learn faster.

Another big problem is that coaches think that the new technology – digital video and high-definition – will give them better quality than videotape. That’s not necessarily the case, especially when you share your digital media with other coaches and players. The problem is that the files are so large that they can’t be emailed effectively because they have to be compressed and this leads to a significant reduction in quality. Some of the quality we see today in digital files is actually worse than it was with videotape.

Are coaches then forced to make a choice between convenience and quality?

Emailing files to other coaches or uploading to a game exchange service is convenient, but what coaches don’t realize is that the services are compressing the files or asking you to compress the files into a smaller file and you end up with a very poor image. Then, the coach on the other end gets the file and enters it into his video editing system which changes it into a new format and re-compresses and re-encodes it each time which further reduces the image quality.

Landro uses a technology called “loss-less,” where we digitally re-create the file so there’s no loss of quality as long as you stay within the “Landro world.” Landro files are Windows Media files, which can be played on Windows Media Player anywhere in the world. So, if you’re game exchanging our files, it’s absolutely 100% loss-less unless the exchange service re-compresses it further. Plus, instead of making DVDs, which re-format files and reduce image quality, you can share Landro files with zero loss in quality – in effect giving everyone a file that has the same image quality as the master. So Landro gives coaches both convenience and quality.

Why is Landro a better video presentation tool for coaches?

The word “presentation” says it all. We designed Landro keeping in mind that ultimately the thing the coach wants to do the most is stand in front of their team and present the video. We took great care in designing controls that make it easy to find the play, replay it again and again, then jump to the next significant play. We allow coaches to break plays down into themes so when they look for “third and long” they can quickly see all third and long plays. Then move to “all red zone plays” and so on. Research shows the more times players and coaches can watch actual game video, the more likely it is that they can correct mistakes and improve. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve started a new Landro subscription service this year which gives every coach and every player on the team Landro software to use on their own computers.

What advantages does the Landro subscription service offer to teams?

With an editing system, the best a coach can do to share video with players and coaches is to create DVDs for them to take home. In that case, you have the same problems you’ve always had with DVDs or videos – not being able to find the right plays quickly and view them again and again. It takes time and money to make tapes and DVDs, too. You’re always editing and buying duplication equipment.

The Landro subscription service gives all coaches and players the full capabilities of Landro on their home computers or their laptops. Everyone can download their own Landro software. It works like a digital VCR only with the advanced, elegant “jump to” instant access technology that made Landro famous; no rewind, fast forward, searching, etc. Mark highlights by pressing the “H” key on your keyboard – it’s that simple. Players can use the Landro’s highlight module to create their own collection of personal highlights for recruiters or even grandparents. Plus, every subscriber will get software upgrades automatically, making sure their systems are always up-to-date, and always have the newest features.

To equip so many with traditional editing systems would cost tens of thousands of dollars. Landro subscription service is the best way for a budget-conscious program to get the most advanced technology at a great price and best of all you will never need to use a videotape or DVD again! Schools can sign up for under $1,000.

The bottom line is that the Landro subscription service allows the entire team and coaching staff to study video more effectively. We think that it’s an idea whose time has come.

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