Review of Top 3 Sport Video Analysis Apps

Cool Apps for Video AnalysisSummary: Video analysis apps for smart phones and tablets are fun and powerful tools for evaluating and improving ski technique.

They’re inexpensive, but they take time to learn and there are hidden costs. Which one is best for you? We review the top 3 apps and see what they have to offer.

Related Article: Ubersense vs. Coach’s Eye vs. Dartfish Express is a feature comparison table.

Article Contents

  1. Disclaimer
  2. How Video Analysis Apps Work
  3. What Video Analysis Apps Do Best
  4. Storage and Sharing: Hidden Costs You Might Not Have Thought About
  5. Warning! You Don’t Want a Big Surprise on Your Cell Phone Bill
  6. How to Choose the App That’s Best For You
  7. Price
  8. Two Different Approaches to Video Analysis
  9. Protecting Athlete Privacy
  10. File Organization
  11. Which App is Right for You?
  12. CoachMyVideo: Not Recommended

In This Review:

Ubersense LogoUbersense
Coach's-Eye-LogoCoach’s Eye
Dartfish-LogoDartfish Express

Disclaimer

We paid full price for our apps. We have no association with these products or companies. We tested the apps on an iPad Air.

How Video Analysis Apps Work

Sport video analysis apps share these 4 core functions:

1. Get Video – You have 2 choices for getting video into these apps. You can either import a video from your camera roll, or record a video from within the app.

Record or Add Video buttons are easy to find on the Dartfish dashboard. Video files are nicely stacked in flies and there's even a search tool.
“Record” or “Add Video” buttons are easy to find on the Dartfish Express dashboard. Video files are nicely stacked in files, plus there’s a search bar.

2. Playback – Video Analysis apps have fantastic playback functionality, including slow motion, frame-by-frame advancement, and a scrolling wheel for easy scrubbing. Even if you never use the analysis tools, you’ll love reviewing videos in these apps. The playback interface is far superior to your built-in video player.

Using the scroll wheel to scrub backwards and forwards through your videos is our favourite thing about Video Analysis apps.
Using the scroll wheel to scrub backwards and forwards through videos is our favourite feature.

3. Analysis – The range of analysis tools varies from app to app. Features include draw tools, the ability to add text captions, voice commentary and to make side-by-side video comparisons. (Full feature comparison here.)

Ubersense Analysis Tools. A. Record Voice Commentary B. Side by Side Video Comparison C. Draw Tools D. Scrolling Wheel for scrubbing through video E. Slow Motion Settings
Ubersense Analysis Tools. A. Record Voice Commentary B. Side by Side Video Comparison C. Draw Tools D. Scrolling Wheel for scrubbing through video E. Slow Motion Settings

4. Save, Store, Share and Organize – Are you working with a small number of skiers, perhaps just yourself and a few friends? Are you a coach who manages many athletes? Do you often record footage during training and at races? Do you need to protect athlete privacy?

Each company offers solutions to these challenges. Understanding how you’ll use the app in your unique situation will help you make the right choice.

What Video Analysis Apps Do Best

This is not a valid measurement.
Angle tool looks impressive, but this is not a valid measurement.

Video analysis apps aren’t the same as the high precision tools used by research scientists. The “analysis” you do with these apps is qualitative, not quantitative.

The angle tool, for example, is completely unscientific. It’s challenging for scientists in a lab to get accurate measurements of body angles in a 2-dimensional plane.

Dragging an angle draw tool across a video screen isn’t going to give you valid data. The angle and stopwatch tools just create the illusion that the measurements made by these apps are “scientific”.

The best features of these apps are their amazing playback controls, side-by-side video comparison tools, and the rich opportunity for coaches to provide feedback to their athletes with the draw and commentary tools.

Side by side comparison is helpful.
Side by side comparison is helpful. The skier at the top (me) needs to enter her glide with more flexion at her ankle and knee.

Storage and Sharing: Hidden Costs You Might Not Have Thought About

If you want a video analysis app for personal use, you don’t need to worry too much about this section, but if you’re a coach or you want to share your videos, even just among a few friends, this next part is important.

Coach's Eye Dashboard. Before long you have a mess of videos. Find a system for organizing that works for you.
Coach’s Eye Dashboard. Before long you have a mess of videos. Find a system for organizing that works for you.

Video files are huge. Even compressed, low-resolution videos will hog storage space on your mobile device. They need to leave. Plus, if you’re a coach, you need a way to easily share videos with your athletes.

One option is to export the files to your camera roll then upload them to your computer. They’ll hog space on your computer too, so from your computer they should go to an external hard drive.

(Regardless whether you’re sharing or not, you should back up your files to another drive. However, moving them from the app, to your camera roll, to your computer is time consuming.)

As for sharing them with your athletes, you could upload them to YouTube, but it’s better if your athletes can watch them within the apps on their own mobile devices. (Great playback, remember?)

When you first think about buying one of these apps, you think it’s about making your choice based on design or price tag. Those things matter, but not nearly as much as how the app handles storage and sharing.

All 3 apps solve this problem with a paid subscription service.

It works like this: From the app you have the option to upload the video to cloud storage. (In the “cloud”, data is still stored on real computers in real buildings – just not yours.)

CoachsEyeCloud
You get room for 3 videos in your cloud locker. Subscribe to VIP service for unlimited HD storage and sharing ($150/yr)

You get a url (internet address) for your video, which makes it easy to share or download the video to any other device. (Including that external hard drive you’ll use for backup, right?)

Storing your video files is an ongoing cost, which is why the apps charge a subscription fee. No one likes recurring fees, but it’s understandable why it has to work this way.

All 3 apps offer some storage and sharing for free, to get you started. It’s limited, so long term, you’ll need a subscription service if you want to save yourself the hassle of moving files around and/or you need to protect athlete privacy.

So to recap: If you plan to use the app for personal use, you don’t need to worry about storage and sharing. But if you need storage and sharing, the initial price of the app is not what you need to worry about. Free, $5 or $7? It doesn’t matter. You should evaluate each app’s long-term costs and benefits.

Turn off cellular data when storing and sharing videos
Go to Settings to turn off cellular data when storing and sharing videos

Warning! You Don’t Want a Big Surprise on Your Cell Phone Bill

Sharing videos and uploading video to cloud storage requires an Internet connection and takes a lot of data. You can turn off cellular data inside the apps’ settings so it only uses wifi.

The advantage of HD video is that it’s a pleasure to work with, but it will take a long time move your files up to the cloud. You’ll have the option to save a lower quality version.

How to Choose the App That’s Best for You

The actual cost of the app is not what’s most important. These are the questions you need to ask:

  • What’s your budget?
  • How much do you value working with HD video?
  • Do you want cloud storage?
  • Will you share your videos?
  • Do you need to protect athlete privacy?
  • Speaking of athletes, they need the app, too. (But not the subscription service.) Will they be willing or able to pay for it?
  • Can you or your employer afford a subscription service?
  • What’s more important to you? Analyzing dynamic video or analyzing still shots. (More about that below.)

Price

Ubersense is the best choice for budget-minded athletes and coaches
Ubersense is the best choice for budget-minded athletes and coaches

If you’re on a tight budget and cost is your primary concern, Ubersense is right for you.

The app is free and an annual subscription is only $30. Even the smallest clubs should be able to support their coaches with the annual cost of this app. Many coaches will pay the price out of their own pockets – because coaches are awesome that way.

We really like Ubersense. The design is solid and it’s easy to use. It has a great system for tagging videos by athlete name and technique. This is super helpful for keeping your files organized. We also like that you can create a team for easier sharing.

Ubersense has a great dashboard with videos organized by athlete name and technique.
Ubersense has a great dashboard with videos organized by athlete name and technique.

The company works hard to create a sense of community and their tutorials are excellent. Their pricing structure makes video analysis tools accessible to everyone.

The downside is slightly lower quality. The app’s user interface isn’t quite as sleek and some of the functions are cumbersome. For example, you have to switch through too many settings to use the draw tools.

When you upload your files to Ubersense the app reduces the video’s quality a lot. I don’t know the specs, but we tested this by uploading the same HD file to all 3 apps. The video lost the most quality when it uploaded to Ubersense.

Low-resolution, choppy video isn’t as fun or easy to work with as HD video. You’ll experience more eyestrain and you’ll struggle to see detail in shots taken at distance.

Ubersense often prompts you to upgrade to Elite. You can't really blame them - they gave you the app for free.
Ubersense often prompts you to upgrade to Elite. You can’t really blame them – they gave you the app for free.

Finally, the scrolling wheel isn’t as well tuned as the wheels on the other 2 apps. When you spin it (by dragging your finger across) the video doesn’t play as smoothly as it does in Coach’s Eye or Dartfish Express.

The $30/yr “Elite” subscription service is a bargain. Check current rates on Dropbox to get an idea of standard online cloud storage costs.

As of today, 1 Terabyte costs $17 CAD per month. That’s enough for 300 hours of good quality video. Ubersense’s pricing is very fair.

The price difference between Coach’s Eye and Dartfish is significant. Dartfish delivers more quality with it’s higher price tag; the app is gorgeous and you can record the best quality video.

Price and quality are important, but there’s another difference that’s even more important…

Two Different Approaches to Video Analysis

The playback tools in Coach’s Eye and Dartfish Express are similar and the 2 apps share a similar set of video analysis tools. (Voice commentary, text commentary, draw tools, side by side comparisons etc.) The key difference between them is how the analysis tools are used.

In Coach’s Eye, just like in Ubersense, you analyze video in motion. In Dartfish Express you take a freeze frame, then do your analysis on the still shot.

What Will This Be Like in Real Life?

In Coach's Eye you analyze video in motion
In Coach’s Eye you analyze video in motion

Let’s say you’re a coach and you’re at home, reviewing video on your Coach’s Eye app. You notice one of your skiers, call her Sue, flicks her pole tip forward before she plants it.

You hit the microphone button and start talking, explaining her error. As you talk, you use the scroll wheel to slow down the video, back it up, replay it, and draw a circle around her pole tip.

Then you process the video and share it with Sue. When she watches it, she hears your commentary and watches the video advance and back up exactly as you moved it. If she’s watching in her own app she can use her scroll wheel to control playback.

Your analysis (commentary and drawing) is dynamic. It happens over moving video. Ubersense works a similar way.

If you’re using the Dartfish Express app, both you and your athlete will have a different experience.

Just like in Coach’s Eye, anyone with the app can use the scroll wheel to move back and forth through the video as they review it. That’s likely what you’ll do for on-the-spot analysis with your athletes.

But for sharing comments online or by email, you’ll use “key positions”.

So, back at your house, you play the clip and freeze it at the moment you think best illustrates Sue’s problem.

In Dartfish Express you analyze still shots
In Dartfish Express you analyze still shots

You capture a still image, and then add your commentary. You might add a text box, voice commentary, or use the draw tools. You then save the file and send it to Sue.

Sue gets the video with the embedded, analyzed still shots, which appear as tags on the progress bar. She clicks on the tags to jump directly to your feedback without having to watch a longer analysis.

Here’s an example Dartfish Video. You can click on the still shots along the bottom of the screen to see the commentary or hide the still shots and just watch the video. Still shots can also be compiled into “Media Books” which make powerful educational tools. Here’s an example.

Your Choice

There’s not a “right” or “wrong” approach, but there is an approach that’s best for you. All 3 apps have demo videos on their websites that showcase their apps in action.

If you really can’t imagine which you’d prefer using, you could download them all, then experiment to find what you like best. It will cost you $11.

Protecting Athlete Privacy

As already explained, you must upload your video files from the app to the Internet, then share them as urls. You can access your videos either within the app or by logging in to your personal “storage space” on each app’s website.

Ubersense is generous with sharing options
Ubersense is generous with sharing options

These are the subscription services mentioned previously.

  • Ubersense “Elite” $30/yr
  • Coach’s Eye “VIP” $150/yr
  • “My Dartfish TV” $250/yr

It’s at the moment of storage and sharing that you can protect athlete privacy. Watch your settings so you know whether the video is private or public.

Ubersense lets you share videos privately, even without paying a subscription fee, but the urls will expire.

With Dartfish Express you set up your own “TV channel” and upload your files before sharing. It’s easier than it sounds.

You get a channel when you buy the app, even if you don’t subscribe. It comes with 0.25 GB of storage space, which is enough for 2-20 videos, depending on resolution and duration. After you’ve used that, you must either delete some videos or subscribe.

When you buy the Coach’s Eye app you get room in your “cloud locker” to store 3 videos. You also get 5 “unlisted” shares and an infinite number of “public” shares.

When Coach’s Eye says “public”, they aren’t kidding.

Let’s say you want to email a video to your friend. You select “share by email” and you choose “public” because you don’t want to use 1 of your 5 “unlisted” shares.

It all works great and your friend gets a link to your video. But did you know your video also gets posted to the “Latest” feed? That means it gets displayed on the Coach’s Eye homepage as well as within the app under the tab “Explore”?

Within seconds of sharing videos appear on the homepage of the Coach's Eye website in the "Latest" feed.
Within seconds of sharing, videos appear on the homepage of the Coach’s Eye website in the “Latest” feed.

The feed is continuously updated, with new videos going up every minute. Your video will soon disappear, but not everyone will want his video splashed across the internet. (Plus, if your video gets selected as a Staff Pick or Featured video, it goes back to the homepage.)

Some people won’t mind, but some people will, especially parents. If you’re a coach and you want to use Coach’s Eye with your athletes, you need to get consent, buy bundles of private shares (50 for $5), or pay for a subscription.

Organization

Video files are challenging to keep organized. Use the built-in tagging system that comes with each app and add as many tags as you can think of. Suggestions for tags:

  • Athlete name
  • Technique
  • Event
  • Location
  • Special Notes
  • Date (The apps will date and time stamp imported videos by date of import, not when they were actually taken. Only videos recorded within the app will have dates that match the actual date of filming.)

Which App is Right for You?

Ubersense LogoUbersense
Coach's-Eye-LogoCoach’s Eye
Dartfish-LogoDartfish Express

Ubersense is the clear choice for coaches and skiers with limited resources. Big thanks to Ubersense for making it possible for any athlete or coach to use video analysis tools. Send them some love by paying for a year’s subscription.

If you can afford Coach’s Eye or Dartfish Express, you’ll enjoy working with higher quality apps and videos. HD video is starting to become the norm. It’s great to work with, but files will take much longer to upload to cloud storage.

The big question to ask yourself is, do you want to analyze video in motion, or does Dartfish’s “still shot” analysis appeal to you more? If you want dynamic analysis, your choice is between Ubersense and Coach’s Eye. If you like the idea of using still shots, chose Dartfish Express.

If you’re a larger organization, Dartfish TV has a lot of advanced features we didn’t cover that may be important to you. For example, you might like the ability to set multiple access levels for different user groups.

Final consideration is storage and sharing. With all 3 apps you get a little of both, but if you work with a lot of video, and especially if you need to protect athlete privacy, you need a subscription service.

CoachMyVideo App Interface
CoachMyVideo App Interface

CoachMyVideo: Not Recommended

We researched 1 other sport video analysis app for this review: CoachMyVideo. It was the most expensive ($15) and we didn’t like it. The quality is far below the other apps and it only saves and shares images.

25 thoughts on “Review of Top 3 Sport Video Analysis Apps”

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t. I think you can do a lot of similar things with Final Cut Pro and Motion, but they have a steeper learning curve and higher price point than these apps. Plus, they don’t have a playback scrubbing wheel.

  1. I use ubersence all the time for Olympic weightlifting and I realy like it , I can go frame by frame with the lifter and tell him/her where he needs to improve . I use the draw a vertical line to follow the path of the bar , it is quite reveiling and helps the athlete see where he/she needs to improve

  2. Great synopsis of all of the features of 3 of the biggest players in the market. I will doing a series of free video tutorials on these app in the coming months. If you are looking for a free computer based solution Kinovea for PC is a great choice. You can do voice over and use key positions. Here is a tutorial on Side by Sides in Dartfish Express- https://youtu.be/z8GSXgajyM4

  3. Thanks for the comparisons. I appreciate it. I do have a question about incorporating still frames. If I edit the video in iMovie first, adding still frames, and then import them into Ubersense, can I draw lines on the still portions of the imported video and have them stay there during those frozen moments? Of course then disappearing as the video moves along? Or would you suggest using Dartfish? I am a basketball trainer and need to show motion but also use marks and line indicators on the still frames.
    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Matt,

      If by “still frames” you mean “freeze frames”, then there’s no need to create those in iMovie first. You can create them in Ubersense (or Coach’s Eye for that matter). If you mean you want to incorporate still photos into your video, you’d have to do that in iMovie first.

      You can think of it like this: when you “analyze” a clip in Ubersense or Coach’s Eye, the original clip remains unaltered and available for future use. You create a new file with that clip as the “foundation”. You can play it, pause it, draw on it, back it up, slow it down, speed it up, talk over it, write on it etc. Everything action you take is recorded and incorporated into the new file. Your original clip might be 3 seconds long, but if you spend 15 minutes analyzing, the new file will be 15 minutes long. You’ll still have the original 3 sec clip available for future use.

      I hope that answers your question. Please let me know if I misunderstood.

  4. I have also looked in these application on Android. Actually two of them, since DartFish does not support Android.

    I am not interested in online sharing and what to keep all video on phone/tablet for personal use.
    Ubersense and Coach’s eye can do it, but they have one big difference. For video storage I want to use SD Card, but Ubersense does not support it. It saves all data in JPG images for each frame on internal memory. Needles to say it takes a lot of limited expensive space. Coach’s eye can save video to cheap space on SD card and stores them in mp4 format. It also can use high definition 720 or 1080, which is important if you need to zoom, when you are not 5 meters from a subject.
    So if you don’t need cloud
    Ubersense is free but store low res (480) images on internal memory. This limitation makes it very bad choice.
    Coach’s eye will cost you $20 one time fee (without cloud option, after 3 days of use), they sell it as a feature pack and you can save video on SD card with higher resolution.

    Actual video analysis is almost identical.

    I am still looking for some alternatives, but looks like Coach’s eye hit couple of right points and I will have to part with $20 for coach’s eye full offline functionality.

  5. I use Coaches Eye but have also recently loaded PowerChalk. They have an app but also seem to have better markup tools and video management in the browser. I use the PC version at work (personal trainer) and the Mac version at home.

  6. Do any of these apps have the capability of importing YouTube videos? I have plenty of them from uploading GoPro video, but can’t figure out how to get the YouTube videos into any of these apps. Or, do,you know of other similar software that I could use, even if only on a computer (versus a device). Thanks in advance!

  7. Hi – I have been using Ubersence for several years. I am a Silver level professional bowling coach. I am studying to achieve the Gold Olympic level. Further I am a high school varsity coach. The functionality of Ubersence has been very acceptable. I use slow motion video reviews a lot. The one big problem is exporting a video to my desktop. If I delete the video from my cell phone the desktop version can not be located. Is it possible to save the desktop version? Thank you – Denny

  8. This apps are cool, but I need and app running on Windows laptop. So I have bought Once Football Video Analyzer, great and simple app with drawings feature. Is is mostly use for analysis of specific action in team sports like football, soccer, handball…

  9. This was a very helpful article – thank you! Just wanted to point out that it has been two years since this review, and when I went to try ubersense, it is now hudl and it does not appear to have a free option (there are many products, and the cheapest I could find was over $500/year for basic). Unless they really hide the free version, it seems that the low cost alternative does not exist. :(

    • Thanks for the update. I’ve been meaning to come back to this post to update it with more recent information. I appreciate that you took the time to let us know what’s up.

      • Yep, I came to this post after searching for an app like this and noticed that the article is quite aged but still a good info.
        There are changes to these apps as I can see (haven’t downloaded all of them) and there are also new apps out there.
        Finally I ended up with a pretty new one but I thing is promising – iNalyse. It is free (at least for 13 days) but from the description it will still work after that with some limitations that for me are OK. For now I’m using it in the trial and everything is unlocked.
        I made some calculations and it seems that even of you have to pay it will still be cheaper than others.
        Anyway, an update to the article should probably be considered ;)

  10. I have a cheap phone LG 4. Will Uber or Coaches work on it. I want it to video in slow motion and frame by frame. Perhaps this is the wrong forum, if so, sorry.
    Peter

Leave a Comment