What Methods and Who provides the most accurate
For a thorough explanation of the various sectional timing
methodologies (and their pros and cons) employed throughout the
world, please refer to our 11 page publication: Affordable , Accurate and Informative Sectional
Timing, A Discussion Paper and Blueprint, 2014.
Punting Form (in association with ABettorEdge) utilises the
manual frame by frame video analysis method. We are not interested
in cloaking the method in 'mystique' or over-selling the accuracy
of the sectional times we compile. Frame by Frame video analysis is
a very straight forward task to perform with the downside being it
is very labour intensive if wishing to cover every runner in a race
(as we do). It is capable of producing very accurate sectional
times under the right circumstances.
The key factors which have an influence on our accuracy
- A video frame represents 0.04 seconds. This logically means the
best we can achieve is an accuracy of plus or minus 0.04
- Accurate measuring and placement of 200m distance rail markers
by race club staff.
- Camera angles which produce a more side-on view as runners pass
distance markers, enable a more accurate judgment on the part of
our video analysis staff.
- Our timing process requires human interaction with technology.
As such, there will always be scope for human error. We have well
trained and dedicated staff, supported by software written
specifically for the task of compiling sectional times. This
software has in-built error checking, designed to prompt staff when
a time element falls outside of specified guidelines.
A key point to note here is the mention of camera angles. The
accuracy of any organisation using broadcast race video to produce
sectional times will be high for 'side-on' camera angles and
gradually deteriorate to the point of basic 'estimation', as the
camera angle becomes more "front on".
The main outcome we are looking for when compiling sectional
times is consistency. A consistent approach produces sectional and
200m split time rankings which enable comparison of the energy
distribution of runners, within and across the races of a
particular meeting (regardless of any incorrect rail marker
positions, difficult camera angles etc).