Have you ever needed to do a job around your house but couldn’t find the right tool? You needed to rip some nails out of wood, but the only tool you found was a pair of pliers. Maybe you struggled as you grabbed the nail head and stepped on the board to pull it out, avoiding damage to the wood and silently wishing you had a real hammer to do the job right with less effort.
Tools are designed for specific jobs. They’re perfect for their intended use, but in other instances, they might only be good enough. Such is the case with the current version of Hudl for basketball.
In a five-part series, I’ll fill you in on why I’m so excited about the new version of Hudl for Basketball. I’ll explain how we’re re-thinking our product from the inside out to save coaches time and help them win.
Problem 1: Forcing Clips Onto Basketball Video
Hudl has a fundamental unit of video in “the clip” and it’s perfect for football. Those games have clean, long breaks between every play, and team video reflects that. Coaches naturally cut out all of the dead time as they record.
But basketball is more fluid. The only real breaks are during timeouts and at the ends of halves or quarters. The game quickly flows back and forth between offense and defense. Clips can work for basketball, but they’re not ideal. You can’t divide the game as cleanly into those same short clips. It’s like taking nails out of a board with pliers.
When we dug into how basketball coaches cut their video, we saw a lot of five-minute clips. That means Hudl Mercury made the default cuts. The coaching staff was just too busy to break down the game beyond just offense and defense. That’s not their fault. It’s ours.
Some coaches will instruct their camera person to stop and start their cameras like they would in football, but that creates weird breaks in the flow of the game. Others let the whole game roll and dump it all into Mercury with massive files for each quarter or half. Then, they’d use our online possession splitter to create somewhat cleaner clips. All of that time adds up for coaches.
We’ve always said: “Video Editing Sucks” and yet here we are, making basketball coaches fully edit their video before they can actually study it. Basketball coaches play far more games and have far smaller staffs than most football teams. Hudl’s constraint of a clip as its atomic unit of video creates a huge hurdle. How might we fix that?
Solution 1: No More 5-Minute Clips or Upfront Cutting
Basketball coaches want to watch video the way they’ve always done it: as a whole game. They want to be able to browse anywhere quickly and without the cognitive overhead of thinking about cutting everything into “clips” first.
With the new version of Hudl for Basketball, you’ll have the ability to smoothly navigate the entire game. But, if you want, you can still focus and filter down to specific events - say, turnovers in the fourth quarter. Plus, you’ll still be able to cut the game in half by just watching offensive or defensive possessions.
This is all aided by a separate live tag app we’ve created specifically for basketball. (We’ll have full details on that in a later post.) Even if you can’t use that app, you can still take notes directly on the parts of video that matter to you. (Again, more specifics coming soon.) Basically, having clips in Hudl is no longer a prerequisite for analysis. Best of all, the new process is hands-off for coaches. Just upload your video through Mercury, and Hudl will automatically prepare the whole game for basketball-optimized video playback, including your notes and marks from the live tag app.
We’re finally designing and building a tool fit for the sport instead of just making it good enough. As designers, we can’t build better tools unless we thoroughly understand the problems.
Keep an eye on our blog over the next couple of weeks for four more installments. In the next post, I’ll explain just how “buttery smooth” the playback experience will be.
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