Video Analysis. Tracker Video vs. Logger Pro

I recently posted a tutorial on using Logger Pro for video analysis. Why did I use Logger Pro? Why not Tracker Video? Here is a quick comparison of the two.

Logger Pro

In the previous tutorial, I used Logger Pro. The primary reason was that the tutorial was for a lab course. The students were already familiar with Logger Pro. Here are some of the pros of Logger Pro.

  • Fairly straight forward to use.
  • Good graphing and curve fitting utilities built in.
  • Integration with data from other sources. If you video a ball falling and also use a motion detector, you can "sync" the data.
  • Not really a pro, but Logger Pro is pretty cheap for a school. The site license allows students to install it on their home computer.
  • Students might be familiar with it.

Instead of looking at the cons of Logger Pro, let me just look at Tracker. Note that I am still not an expert on the use of Tracker Video - there are some features I really don't use (but should).

Tracker Video

  • Free.
  • Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.
  • Can rescale each frame, move the origin, rotate the origin for each frame. I don't think that Logger Pro can do this, but I could be wrong.
  • Can track multiple objects in a video. Pretty sure Logger Pro can just do one.
  • Video editing. Tracker can change the number of frames you look at as well as the starting and ending frame.
  • Video filters - brightness/contrast, special effects, deinterlace, noise reduction
  • More than just point particles. Tracker can track point mass, center of mass, vector
  • Built in modeling - don't know how to use this.
  • Angle measurements.
  • Free - I like this one.

Not a complete comparison, but enough to get you thinking. I really like tracker video, but it seems like it might be a little more difficult for students to get into. There are some other video analysis tools out there, but these are the only two I would choose from. I know of Video Point and Video Graph.

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I've used LoggerPro for video analysis for years. I love it. I've only recently started playing with Tracker. I agree that LoggerPro seems easier than Tracker, but I'm not sure Tracker will be too difficult to use. My current plan is to start with Tracker next year to see how my students do. I can always fall back to LoggerPro.

Couple of points:
-LoggerPro can track more than one object at the same time. Particularly useful when doing conservation of momentum.

-With LoggerPro you need a stationary camera, Tracker allows you to adjust for a moving camera, but I haven't tried it yet. It looks like a lot of work.

-The modeling is cool. I've played a little with projectiles. I have some students who are planning on doing some video analysis of the high jump. I'm going to have them try Tracker so they'll be able to plot the motion of the jumper's center of mass.

Okay, I just read this so I haven't tried Tracker yet.
In our school board we have Logger Pro and I just gave a short presentation on using Logger Pro for video analysis to physics teachers.

  • Logger Pro allows for moving the origin. You can also rescale it.
  • Since you can plot multiple points and create calculated columns, you can subtract the motion of the camera by using a fixed point and use a little relative motion. Not too difficult - a good student exercise.
  • Very easy to use, students can get a good projectile motion analysis the first time in about 10-15 minutes from shooting video to graphs with speed and acceleration.
  • Haven't "synched" to to probes yet.
  • Works with built in web cams and cameras attached with USB cables.
  • You can adjust the frame rate to accomodate high-speed (or slow motion) cameras - you can see the hummingbird's wings!.
  • There is a free iPhone app....
  • The site license is really cheap.

I've done projectile, 1D and 2D conservation of momentum. My students use it to analyse motion is action movies as a project.