Updated on 09-29-2015 by Aliya Barnwell: Added information about Android apps.
The problem with video editing: After a long day shooting sports footage, few people actually look forward to the process of cutting out the boring parts. Even fewer want to refer to an external sensor program for stats just to say, “See, man? I told you that jump was at least five feet!” Luckily, Blast Motion can take care of that drudgery for you. It’s essentially a fitness tracker and sports video auto-editor that work together to cut your workload in half.
Blast Motion is a wearable precision motion sensor that provides 3D-movement metrics for a variety of sports. The device is about the size of a peanut butter cup and is designed to work with the iPhone and iPad, as well as the occasional GoPro. Each sport has a dedicated app designed to automatically edit footage for the best scenes, and the sensor provides the metrics for overlays onto the video.
And it just got better: For baseball, Blast Motion partnered with Easton to produce the Easton Power Sensor, released in 2014. Baseball, softball, and T-ball are all covered. The kit comes with a bat attachment for the knob, and a precision swing sensor. Swing speed, direction, power, time-to-contact, efficiency, and more are picked up by the motion sensor. And as of Sept. 24, they added Android 5.0 support for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6, LG G3, and second-gen Motorola Moto X. It’s the first (and so far the only) Blast Motion sensor that works with Android.
All Blast Replay apps and use a patented Smart Video Capture algorithm to automatically identify action in HD footage and clip it into a highlights reel. Blast apps know when they’re processing high-frame-rate video capture, and each app will automatically apply slow motion to scenes that warrant it and speed up scenes that don’t for dramatic effect. Add to that the metrics overlay, and Blast Motion becomes great for creating training reels and sharing videos for social media bragging rights.
The Blast Motion Action kit comes with an action cam attachment, the sensor and a wearable clip for it, and a wireless charging pad. The Blast Action app is for skateboarding, BMX, and motocross. (though I imagine it would work fairly well with rollerblading, and maybe even cyclo-cross) and records jump acceleration, vertical height, rotation, and hang time. It runs on iOS 7x or 8x with the iPhone 5, 5c, 6 and 6 Plus, iPad 3 and 4, iPad Mini 2 and 3, Air and Air 2, which is standard for all the apps. Unlike the other apps, it also works with two GoPros, the Hero 3, and Hereo 3+.
The Blast Basketball Replay and Atheltic Performance kits come with the same wearable clip. The basketball kit covers lay-ups, jump shots, and dunks, while the Athletic Performance kit handles volleyball, gymnastics, and athleticism. The basketball and athleticism apps offer the same stats as the action app (acceleration, height, rotation, and hang time).
The Blast Golf kit comes with a standard grip and an oversized putter attachment instead of a wearable clip. Putting and swing data is pretty impressive. It includes back- and forward-stroke time, total stroke time, tempo, loft, lie, and rotation, speed, downswing and upswing time, tempo, power index (the mass of the club, swing speed, downswing time calculated for kinetic energy transfer), efficiency index (energy transfer, velocity direction), and blast factor (score defined by efficiency index and power index). The Blast Motion website has a page to define their metrics, listing pro and amateur averages, and suggestions to improve.
The sensor is the key to Blast’s success; for each sport you can review your stats in the associated app in real time. Blast Motion did a good job of combining sensor tech with video auto-editing and making it applicable to a wide variety of sports. The senors, while they look alike, are specifically calibrated to deliver accurate metrics for those specific sports. You can try using the Easton pack for tennis, for example, but if you want a tracker for tennis you’re better off going with something like the Zepp or Sony sensors. Unfortunately, neither associated app will edit footage of your court domination for you, like Blast Motion.
There are other automatic sports video trimmers out there, but Blast Motion stands out for the variety of sports it covers. There are other sensors available with great potential, but they’re still playing catch up. All five Blast Motion kits go for $150 on its website.