I was considering buying a new video camera, which I could use for

results... and was wondering what you were using.


Ken Hart


Hi Ken,


The system that I have pieced together is by far the most cost effective way to go for local to regional level events.

It's based around a simple camcorder but instead of using videotape I pump the video feed directly into a TIVO digital recorder.


Go to and purchase the cheapest Quasar ($180?) camcorder (it's actually a Panasonic).


The special thing about this camcorder is that it has 1/10,000 second

shutter speed. That is the key to crisp pictures and most camcorders don't do this.

And don't get caught up in the digital camcorder stuff, just pump the video into a TIVO.


This TIVO will act as a "digital VCR" and so you can play back your recorder video frame by frame with no tape distortion.

The item above is a factory reconditioned unit for $219. Don't be put off by the reconditioned thing,

it simply means someone bought a TIVO, couldn't figure out how to use it, then returned it.

When that happens they can't resell it as new. This is a bonus for you.


Next, go to and find a "polarizing filter lens" for the camcorder.

I think it's 49mm but don't hold me to that. It will cost like 20 bucks.

Put this on the front of your camera and it will cut the sun glare from the numbers.


Add a cheap 13" TV and you're set.


I actually utilize two full kits with one focused on the near side of the road and one on the far side but one kit will do in most instances.

All of this sells for under $500. Then once you see how awesome this works send me all the money you saved ;-)






----- Original Message -----

From: "Hart, Ken" <>

To: "'John Frey'" <>

Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 9:49 AM

Subject: RE: Photo Timing,


This certainly seems simple and cheap enough...


I already own a 1/10,000 hi-8 camera...

I have a question on the TIVO.


If I buy one, do I need to "subscribe" to the $10/month service?

If I do not, will it just run, kind of like a normal VCR?



-----Original Message-----

From: John Frey []

Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 4:34 PM

To: Hart, Ken

Subject: Re: Photo Timing,


That camera should work just fine.

Just hook the video feed directly into the TIVO with either A/V cords or S-video.


You don't need to subscribe to the TIVO service, you can use it like a

"digital vcr".


It is a pain to do the set-up the first time.

You do need to go through the full process, which may take 1-3 hours. Let me know if you have any problems.






----- Original Message -----

From: "Hart, Ken"

Sent: June 11, 2001 9:14 PM

Subject: RE: Photo Timing,




Thanks for the feedback. My TIVO arrived yesterday... ecost was FAST!

I am going to tinker with it this weekend,

then try it as the 2nd camera next week for the world police and fire games


I did the setup. It was long, just as you said....


Unfortunately, I cannot get it to read from ther camcorder.


I tried the following:

1) set up with local cable.

then attached camera with RCA cables.

when I go to live tv, channel 3, the TIVO is expecting my local cable channel 3, so it complains.


I tried S-cable, it was same as above.


I am currently trying to set up as local antenna, which has no channel 3.


What is the trick, to get it to access the camera?

Since the default settings are: antenna, cable, satellite, etc and no reference is made to video input?






No problem, I told you it was finicky though!


Hit the tivo button then go into the settings page (I think that's what it is called).

From there choose the "connection to recorder" page. I bet right now it is expecting an rf cable; change the setting to either a/v or s-video.


Also, tell it you are connecting to a cable box. This will allow the input to come in on channel 3 or 4.

When it asks for which model of cable box, put in anything you want, since you will not be using the TIVO remote to control the cable box.


Let me know if you have any problems.






I used the TIVO this weekend at Tour of Brookside....


Mike Hewitt was there with his new trendy photo timing setup, a digital camcorder, connectected with firewire to a mac laptop.

I don't know if you remember Mike, a referee from Louisville/New Albany.


> I remember Mike. I hope he isn't too bummed to see you can actually do a more effect job for well under a $1000. Oh well.


The TV was definitely the way to go, It was brighter, visible in daylight by multiple people.

Thay way you could have a group of people decide who was "THAT Guy".


> Yeah, use a TV with one of those pop-up tents and you should be able to see fine.

I got a 10x10 tent that fits in my truck for $130 shipped from .


Mike had the advantage that the trackball let you move around the video more quickly,

but was harder to see, and had less detail. By the end of the day, we were all only using the TIVO.


      You will get used to using the TIVO remote. It's finicky but not too bad.

      The advantage I have is that my camcorder runs a clock on the screen, which gets recorded along with the video.

      That way you know exactly where you are in the recording.


As this was the first race I scored with the TIVO, I developed a method over time, and hope it is similar to yours...

   With 1 lap to go (about 2 mins from finish), I start recording.

   I let field finish, then hit the backup button to get the front of the field,

   I then Stop (Freezeframe) the TIVO, and hit the frame advance button to slowly move through the riders.


That's pretty much what I do. If you forget to record you can still back up and review the data for 30 minutes.

After that it gets "scrolled" out of the short-term memory.

You can also manually set the record time to auto start at a pre-set time and to record for more than 30 minutes.

If you simply hit record it will only record for 30 minutes then it shuts off.


The difficulties I had included.

    1) everytime I start things on the TIVO, it complains that the shedule database is "out of date" and will run in "reduced mode"

    2) not quite sure how to "stop" recording.  I manage to stop it, but am unsure as to how I did it.

    3) while moving through frozen frames, the forward arrow seemed to move 1 frame at a time,

but the "Back" arrow seem to move perhaps 1 second (maybe 30 frames) in a single click.


>Those are things you need to get used to. You can set the on screen details to disappear more quickly. Also, to stop recording you hit record twice.