When I was attending McGill University as an Undergrad, I used to record all my lectures with a tape recorder. (Hey, this was 1982!)
I used a Radio Shack (now called The Source) device to slow down up to 0.5X speed to transcribe the lectures word-for-word for my Note taking club. There were 12 of us, and we all took turns. This way, I could miss Friday classes when I had to travel for track meets.
I also used the same device to speed the lectures up at 2X speed to re-listen the lecture. Most lecturers spoke slow, so an hour lecture could be “listened” in 30 minutes, with no chipmunk or distortion sounds.
So by having sound recordings at variable speeds can be a huge productivity tool when it comes to saving time.
Fast forward 30 years, literally. How can this be applied to online video?
If you own a PVR just to fast forward the commercials, then this kind of software and productivity tool is for you.
How to Slow Down or Speed Up Online Video
If you can’t afford Dartfish, here is an affordable software solution that can slow down video. This works for both online vs offline videos (there are 2 different products to accomplish this, more on that later)
Enounce has a program called MySpeed (for both Windows and Mac), and it’s great for analyzing videos in slow motion. It’s also good for speeding up lectures and presentations in half the time, which is a great time-saver.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t calculate angles and do all the advanced features of Dartfish. It just slows it down, and with the amount of HD movies out there, the results are great.
It doesn’t work for all videos, but it works for anything Flash-based like YouTube videos. So you can watch a 10-minute video in about 5 minutes, or watch two videos in the time it used to take to watch just one.
You can increase the playback speed up to 5 times faster, but you’ll probably want to use 1.5X to 2.5X for most videos. I usually start at 2X and then gradually increase it once I get used to the speaker’s speech patterns. For a slow speaker, you can still get a comprehensible video at 3X speed.
You can also decrease the playback speed to as slow as 0.3X normal, which can be useful for analyzing technique for all track and field events.
On a sprint video, you can “fast forward” all the athlete’s introductions and false starts, then play it at normal speeds for the actual race. Afterwards, “rewind”, and play back only the race in 0.3X speed for analysis.
At McGill, we had several friends who were not English speaking, and they found recording the lectures helpful. MySpeed is also good for watching videos in languages where you aren’t perfectly fluent, so you can slow down the rate of speech to hear each individual word more clearly. I still have trouble with fast speaking Italian TV.
The videos are automatically pitch-adjusted, so you won’t hear chipmunk voices. I was impressed with how easy it is to understand the audio as you change the speed. It may take your brain a few seconds to adjust though if you set it to 2X or faster.
The main control is a slider bar that pops up on your screen whenever you view a video in your web browser. It tells you whether or not the video is Flash-based, so then you know if you can speed it up. If you can use your mouse to move a slider left and right, you’ve mastered it.
The bottom line is if you need to do quick video analysis, and if you watch online coaching videos, you’ll definitely save yourself some time, probably many hours over the course of each year.
The application comes with a 7-day free trial, and it’s very easy to use. You can download it, install it, and have it all figured out within 5 minutes or less. On the MySpeed website, you can play a short demo video to see how MySpeed works. The full version is inexpensive (less than $30) and the premium version works for offline videos (under $100)