Video Analysis Software
Video analysis software allows students to study types of motion that cannot be measured using sensors. The inexpensive programs allow frame-advance features and “marking” of time and x and y position values for tracking movement.
In PHYS 205, preservice teachers used VideoPoint to track and generate actual data supporting energy conservation for the motion of a bouncing ball. The program is easy to use and provides a variety of graphs.
This free program, also referred to as World-in-Motion and Physics ToolKit, allows users to analyze any clip of an object’s motion by “marking” the position of the object in each frame. Then, by manipulating the marks into spreadsheet format, the software can generate graphs of the object’s position and velocity over time. The ability to program relationships among variables in this inexpensive, handheld device leads to an almost unlimited number of analysis possibilities.
This technology eliminates the limitations imposed by motion sensors, such as the limited “field of view” and the need for students to manually mark each object’s position in each frame. Additionally, many objects may be analyzed within one video clip without being affected by the motion of other objects nearby.
While this software has many benefits, I would not recommend it for high school students below the AP level because it requires more time learning how to use the program and less time learning physics concepts.
Vernier Logger Pro
Logger Pro is the ultimate data-collection software with advanced image and video analysis capabilities. It includes ready-to-use experiment files for every sensor Vernier makes and supports multiple data collection modes. The program also includes a full set of tools for data comparison, plotting, and analysis.
Kip Trout, lecturer in physics at Penn State York, has used the video analysis tool to help his students make a connection between their lab experiments and real-world phenomena. His study found that students’ understanding of physics concepts improved when they could see their predictions reflected in the results from the lab.
The software’s Auto-ID sensors make setup effortless and it supports 80 different sensors and devices. It also allows the user to draw their prediction on graphs before starting an experiment. In addition, it can analyze videos frame-by-frame and can use a number of curve fitting functions (integrals, tangents, weighted) to model the data. Other features include a built-in, self-guided tutorial, three styles of meters, and the ability to calculate columns.
VideoPoint is a Windows-based program that allows students to mark objects in consecutive frames of a movie clip, construct graphs, calculate values and perform real-time curve fits. Like Tracker and Physics ToolKit, it has many features for analyzing motion, but also includes the ability to analyze line profiles and diffraction patterns.
The software provides the option of manually or automatically generating function models for linear and angular position, velocity and acceleration data points. Students can then use the resulting graphs to compare and contrast the actual motion of the object with the predicted motion of the model.
The program is intended to be used in pairs. Each person will be responsible for analyzing one of the two video clips (the drop or the launch). It is helpful to record which clip each person will be analyzing so that responsibility is clear. Students should work together to collect, analyze and interpret the data using VideoPoint and Graphical Analysis.