Video analysis is a great tool for delivering feedback to students. If we agree with the teaching theory principle that “telling doesn’t ensure learning”, then we can agree that when we effectively allow a student to view themselves on video, they may be more willing to make changes to improve.  That is to say when a student sees themselves ride, they will see what the instructor sees (i.e.: competency development) and this will possibly expedite their willingness to make adjustments to reach the ideal.

I have always used the following analogy when utilizing video analysis as a tool for delivering student feedback:

“No one is more critical of a work of art than the artist who painted it”.  

With that said, there are some key elements to using video analysis effectively from shooting the video to displaying the video for students to review.


Picking the correct environment is key. One must map out a run that will offer a clear view and vantage point of the student throughout the run over an extended length of time. Often, a rider doesn’t get into their “groove” until turn 4 or 5, so we often can discount the first few turns and get to the meat and potatoes of what we wish to develop once the rider is in their element (especially at refinement stage of development). Typically, a well-lit slope will help, if at all possible, selecting a run where the sun is cascading its light behind the videographer is best to cut glare and sun flares blocking the view of the intended subject matter. Things to be aware of include: ice-glare, reflective snow surfaces, and ambient light affecting your filming conditions. If too bright, you can try to find a run with trees on each side of the run to block strong lighting or even employ a polarizing filter. Another simple technique to cut glare that works well is to shade the top of the lens with your spare hand. Heck, we used to hold sunglasses in front of the camera in the 90’s as a low-budget filter to cut sun glare! If too dark, you can try using a filter that enhances light levels or even make changes in simple post-production editing tools to raise/lower brightness or contrast levels until you reach the desired levels where the rider is well contrasted versus the background.  

Pro Tip: I find a good indicator or proper levels is when you can see the track in the snow left behind the rider which also offers additional feedback to share.  

Finally, audio within your environment can be problematic (ambient noise distractions), so if you choose to make audible notes while filming to point out what you are seeing through the lens, picking a quiet area of the hill is helpful, but most of the time viewing footage on mute is likely your best option.

As we work in cold environments, it may prove challenging to maintain battery power on your camera or smart phone. For this reason, I will often keep my phone in AIRPLANE and LOW BATTERY modes when planning on filming allowing for longer battery life. Also, it can be helpful to locate an inside jacket pocket which is closer to where you produce body heat to keep your device warm and operating in particularly cold environments. Portable USB charging devices are effective to help extend battery life and are relatively inexpensive.  Be sure to have thin glove liners handy too to ensure your hands stay warm while offering the dexterity required to hold your camera properly.


Often, I receive footage from students or have viewed footage by other instructors that is framed improperly, jumpy or dizzying, with excessive movement, or zoomed ineffectively. First, try to film in widescreen (horizontal) or 16:9 format, especially when filming with a smart phone device.

Pro Tip: locate where the lens is located on the phone’s reverse side and make certain they are positioned on the top corner when filming so you don’t film upside down possibly requiring more time in the editing mode to flip the image and render it again for viewing.

When filming, in the absence of a tripod or other stabilizing equipment, you may find it helpful to “brace” the elbow of your arm holding the device to remove excessive movements that can cause a dizzying effect on the part of the viewer.  Often, digital video devices have “STABILIZER” settings that help minimize this undesired movement.   When zooming, I will always start with max zoom from a distance then VERY SLOWLY zoom out as the rider approaches me.  This technique requires a good deal of practice to perfect but can be achieved with a subtle and steady finger.  If your device does not allow for zooming while in video mode, you can always use the “old school” method of extending your arms and retracting them to add some manual zooming ability.  

Pro Tip: Shoot a different segment of film for each student vs one lengthy file of video of all students. This makes it much easier to isolate footage of one student versus the others as well as makes you more efficient when viewing footage with your group of students or planning on sharing video with each student respectively. 


We know from notes in our analysis and improvement section of our Reference Guide that the instructor can see different things from different vantage points. This means for example, that skills like Timing & Coordination and Pressure are more evident from a distance, where skills like Pivot and Position & Balance become more evident as a rider is nearer to the observer. Keep this in mind when analyzing students on video and where you strategically choose to position yourself on the slope when filming your student(s) to capture a specific skill focus that you wish to address. Also, it is important to understand that you can see different things from different vantage points. What I mean is that a heel side or toe side turn appears very differently from skiers right/left side of the slope, especially when dealing with varied dexterity of students (goofy footed & regular footed)This is also true of filming from below or above the student (coming towards you vs student riding away from you). You can also safely experiment utilizing creative vantage points like follow cameras, HD Go-Pro footage, drone footage (drones will require resort permission and an operator’s license) or a fixed location tripod camera.

Pro Tip: students often ride differently when they know they are being filmed versus when they are unaware filming is taking place.   

When positioning on the hill, make certain you are never obstructing your subject matter or other hill participants and be specific with how you wish your students to approach and pass you when communicating to them where you will be filming, keeping in mind overall safety and what you are looking to capture on video. Simple class management instruction is key here i.e.: “wait for me to wave before you commence your run” will not only ensure that each student will get equal opportunity to be filmed, but allows you to act as a traffic manager to keep students safe from other hill traffic.  


When analyzing video, be certain to recall our Positive, To, & Try method of feedback delivery. This can prove challenging as when observing video, I still struggle with getting past the glaring areas requiring improvement that appear more evident than ever in slow motion and frame pausing capabilities presented by video! Keep in mind that the student too will be focused on what they are doing wrong versus what they are achieving well when seeing themselves on video. In fact, its likely all they will see when performing introspective self-analysis, and it is our job to point out first what they are doing well.

Similarly, use this opportunity to point out areas for improvement and possibly reinforce verbal feedback provided earlier that didn’t have immediate effect (telling doesn’t ensure learning).  Students can now better comprehend this feedback once it is presented to them on video. There are tons of tools built into modern video devices that are readily available to you when viewing video with students that I highly recommend such as slow-motion playback, frame pausing abilities, zooming capabilities during playback etc. to help focus on a specific body part or turn mechanic. Keep in mind, I find it best to allow the student(s) to view video in real time first, then resort to these tools when viewing the video for the 2nd or perhaps 3rd time. There are a ton of great video editing apps out there to aid you in allowing students to compare their footage vs the “ideal”. Splicing between the student’s trial footage and CASI YouTube channel footage is helpful as a clear comparison. V1Pro coaching software allows you to not only run side-by-side comparison videos, but also allows one to draw overlayed drawings or diagrams layers over top of footage. Keep in mind that when sharing video with students, you may want to use video converter software to shrink file sizes to more manageable sizes, but free online file transfer sites work well for sharing larger HD quality footage and full-sized files sizes. Do your best to save files in most common formats that are easily opened by a variety of different device operating systems (.mpg, .mpeg, .mov, .avi, wmv) as it can prove quite frustrating for a student to view files sent to them in proprietary formats or utilizing differing compression types.

Final note, keep in mind that it may be prudent to ask students’ permission prior to filming them. This may seem obvious, but without a consent to film/release waiver some student’s personal situations may mean that they may be either unwilling or uncertain about you capturing them on video.  This is often not the case with snowboarding students covered in face masks and outerwear however, this can become particularly important when the intension of file sharing or social media sharing are evident. 


Adam Lowe

CASI Board Member & Senior Evaluator