How to use ‘sprint timer’ application for athletics time trials in PE

Sprint timer is an excellent app for ipad and iPhone that let’s you create an Olympic-like photo finish with individual times. Ill quickly write about the set up I used along with the settings I found gave the clearest picture and most accurate times.

I had my ipad set up on an adapter I bought off ebay which connected to a separate tripod. The ipad holder I got was about $120 but feels very cheap and seems like it could easily break. Saw a link from @PENathan that may be better. I’ve gotten on board. You should too back them here Young students with big Ideas! Its vital to make sure the ipad is really still during recording. Hand held will not give you the desired results

Photo 1-06-13 2 03 28 PM

The menu above gives you the option to take a;

Photo finish – This setting will take a heap of photos and blend them together. You can automatically start the timer with a starting gun, another iOS device (so long as its on the same wifi) or, as I did, the most simple, being a manual start withy the simple push of a button.

You can then start and finish the actual recording manually (as I did), by timer or when a competitor crosses the sight of the camera. This mode gives you a more accurate time (0.01sec compared to video finish 0.1sec) . Click the start timer (2) to begin timing only ( not recording).

Photo 1-06-13 2 03 28 PM

Cick setup (1 above) to enter the settings. The settings I used are below. I chose race mode (1), manual start (2 – for quickness and ease). Competitors were running from my left (3), photo finish length is how long the ipad takes photos for once recording begins (4). I had slice bending on(5) and manual finish (6) to recording (as there was a big gap between my best and worst runners).

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The small ‘i’once tapped will give you a brief sentence on the setting. Simply line up the line on the screen with the finish line.

The results can be seen below. Follow the white line to the top of the image and you will see the finish time.

Photo 27-03-13 12 52 55 PM

Photo 27-03-13 12 52 48 PM

As you can see the image is made up of a lot of photos blended together and aren’t all that clear, which is why I prefer the video finish mode. Once all competitors have crossed the line, click stop recording and an image will come up with all your competitors.
Scroll left to right and mark the finishers, with the mark button. Set the side bar up to 60 (I found this best) but have a play with it. The lower the number the closer together the photos appear.
You can the save to camera roll to share with students.

Video finish isn’t as time accurate as the photo finish but gives a clear image of the finishers (below). And I found it easier to use.

Photo 1-06-13 4 21 11 PM

Clicking on setup will enable you to change the motion setting. Experiment with this depending on the lighting avaliable. You can also add names of competitors before hand and setup your starting options. Again I went for the manual timer start and record start/stop and had the sensitivity to 0.80.

For basic results, open app, tap video finish, line up red rectangle with finish line ( i was about 5 m from the edge of the finish line), tap ‘start timer’ when race has begun (i stood at finish line and used whistle and my hand raised then dropped to start race), when students get about 3/4 down the track tap ‘start detection’, once they have all crossed the line tap ‘stop’. Tap ‘save’ and photo slideshow of the finish line will appear in your camera roll. Note that you will need to use the scroll at the top to see each individual photo and time.

I used only 4 runners at a time, but feel free to try more.

Hope this was helpful, let me know! Which do you prefer, video or picture finish?

Sprint timer can be found for iphone and ipad for $1.99


2 thoughts on “How to use ‘sprint timer’ application for athletics time trials in PE

  1. Hi.
    Have just discovered sprinttimer app. Have installed it and intend using it for my 100m trials tomorrow. Your brief description about using it the first time has put my mind at ease about using it untried. BTW I will be experimenting with it a little prior to my trials. Until now I have used a digital camera followed by ipad,with the frustration of lapsed time being whole seconds. Will have digital camera as back up. This app gives me more scope.
    BTW: There is no need to use the whistle and dropping hand to start events. I use 40 channel two way radios. 3 placed in cones at the start while I have one at the finish line.
    This allows me to communicate with my students using the radio including the start.
    The only nuisance is when truckies share the channel I’m on. To deal with this I talk over the top of them resulting in them moving to another channel. The radios are a great investment.

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