Last Updated on April 16, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Kinovea Software

I was a High school and Elementary Coach in the Track and Field of Sprinters.

We couldn’t afford an electronic timer system. So we used a brilliant app called Kinovea. 

So I was using an IPad and iPhone to do video analysis of my athletes.

In training and time trials for distances below 250m, we would use Kinovea.


Kinovea was particularly handy if athletes’ blankets finished closely in races.

  • I got a perfect comparison when I used Kinovea to compare against electronic times.
  • I started the timer from when the smoke came out of the gun.
  • It’s a good video cause you can see the smoke coming out of the gun. And a good view of the finish line.
  • Although the camera had a straight view, not on an angle.
Source: Kinovea


Kinovea Women’s 100m Philippines example

  • Hand Times for this race were 11.9, 12.2
  • Kinovea Times was 12.20, 12.34, 13.06, 13.16, 13.26
  • Electronic Times were 12.26, 12.42, 13.06, 13.16,13.44


So not bad Kinovea guessed #1 and #2 within .10 seconds and #3 and #4 accurately. Compared to hand timing, which was .36 and .22 off.

You can see some examples of the use of Kinovea on our Youtube Channel.

Kinovea download here


Kinovea offers solutions for measurable sports such as 

  • Track and Field
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Speed Skating


Some Responses regarding Kinovea

I recommend you to check out another great electronic timer software CrossMgr & its supplementary video version, CrossMgrVideo!

Designed for Cycling but can be used for anything.

If you’d like to get a more accurate electronic timer, I recommend a fast Basler industrial Camera, which can do hundreds, if not thousands of frames per second. I

I’m looking forward to programs that can function well with these framerates, even if possible, with a reduced AOI (say 1920×100).

Then you can still do timing nicely, even though recognizing, say, numbers can be more difficult.

For your purpose, a higher-speed camera would increase accuracy.

Though it is difficult to get to below 0.5s reliably without an electronic start of some sort. I’ve been thinking of something like this attached to the Kinovea record / stop recording shortkeys:


One could directly attach a USB HID switch to an electronic start gun or even make a microphone-based system where the start gun’s sound would trigger Kinovea to record.

Once you set up the delays correctly (100m sound travel, delay on the USB hub), you could reliably get timing below 0.1s.


You can find CrossMgr here:


1. UPDATE (2017)

In light of an Electronic Timer System requirement, PATAFA has now purchased its own as of 2016. Which has been used in the Weekly Relays, Time Trials of PATAFA, National Open, PNG, UAAP, and NCAA meets.

This was due to the frequent unavailability of the PSC operators.


Electronic Timers Fully automatic time

(abbreviated FAT) It is a form of race timing in which. the starting device automatically activates the clock. The finish time is automatically recorded (fully automatic) or timed by analyzing a photo finish (automatic with a manual start).

The system is commonly used in track and field and horse racing, dog racing, bicycle racing, rowing, and auto racing.

In these fields, a photo finish is used.

It is also used in competitive swimming, for which the swimmers themselves record a finish time by touching a touchpad at the end of a race.

To verify the equipment, or in case of failure, a backup system (typically manual) is usually used in addition to FAT.


In these fields, a photo finish is used with Electronic Timers

  • horse racing
  • dog racing
  • bicycle racing
  • rowing
  • auto racing.


It is also used in competitive swimming, for which the swimmers themselves record a finish time by touching a touchpad at the end of a race.

To verify the equipment, or in case of failure, a backup system (typically manual) is usually used in addition to FAT.

A starting gun starts technology in races; a sensor is typically attached to the gun, which sends an electronic signal to the timing system when fired.

Alternatively, a starting light or sound which is electronically triggered (such as a horn), the system is typically also wired to the timing system.

In sports that involve a finish line that is crossed (rather than a touch finish, as in swimming), the current finishing system is a photo finish, which judges then analyze.


Electronic Timers Lynx and Omega 

The current photo-finish system is used in the Olympic competition. As well as other top-level events use a digital line-scan camera aimed straight along the finish line. Finish Lynx and Omega are examples of commercial timing systems commonly used in athletic competitions.

These cameras have an image field only a few pixels wide, with a single frame forming a narrow image only of the finish line and anything crossing it.

During a race, the camera takes images at an extremely high frame rate (the exact rate depends on the system but can be in the thousands of frames per second).


Panoramic Image

Computer software then arranges these frames horizontally to form a panoramic image that effectively displays a graph of the finish line (and anything crossing it) as time passes, with time denoted on the horizontal axis.

Before the advent of digital photography (and still available as an alternative), a similar film-based system was used, consisting of a slit in which a strip of film is advanced past at a constant rate to produce a similar panoramic image to the digital system.

Less-expensive video-based systems also exist; however, VHS and SVHS frame rates limit the timing precision achieved by these media.

There are also similar timing systems that use the simple process of breaking a beam of light.

While such systems are frequently used to provide instant results (for the media), the object they are timing is more difficult to define.


The Need for Electronic Timers in the Philippines at Every Track and Field Meet

Electronic Timing in the Philippines
Electronic Timer in the Philippines

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As a result of poor hand timing the last few weeks. Examples include

  1. Several 60m dashes at the Weekly Relays. We have seen instances of no blocks and timekeepers trying to time more than a runner. Without both electronics and starting blocks, a 60m is COMPLETELY USELESS. It takes .2-.3 seconds to start and restart a watch. What happens if the athlete being timed is only .05 seconds away, which means the timekeeper will miss the time, and the athlete ends up at a slower time?
  2. Several 100m runs over the past few years where the video’s race distance is not consistent with the timekeeping for the same reasons mentioned above. The 200m of Anfernee Lopena at the 2013 Uni Games was nearly 10m ahead of 2nd place in the final, and times of 21.94 and gave 21.98 ht.  .04 is a blanket finish, not a 10m gap? What the hell were the timekeepers thinking?
  3. The 200m of Anfernee Lopena at the 2013 Uni Games was nearly 10m ahead of 2nd place in the final, and times of 21.94 and gave 21.98 ht.  .04 is a blanket finish, not a 10m gap? What the hell were the timekeepers thinking?
  4. The controversial finish at the National Games between Nor and Lirazan in 2013 is even now on Wikipedia.


2. Palaro Cockup

Athletics became intense when Region 12 or CRAA/SOCCKSARGEN made a protest in the Secondary Boys – 100m run.

They wanted a photo finish cam of that event to see who the real winner was.

But there was no photo-finish cam, and only a recorded video was available for this edition of Palarong Pambansa.

Christopher Lirazan of Region 6 or Western Visayas and Romnick Nor of Region 12/CRAA. Are in dispute for the gold medal.


3. Removed from the Rankings

and will no longer include hand-time performances in the 100,200m dash and 110 Hurdles in the official ranking lists for 2013.

Times for the athletic community to enforce the use of electronic timers at all events.  

Ranking lists will have no ht for 100,200 and 110 Hurdles. But for 400m, we will include better hand times in a separate list.

Lower meets, regardless of timing, are not sanctioned by the PATAFA.


4. Logistics

If we look at the cost of hiring electronics, about 1000 pesos per day for three operators = 3,000 pesos, and transportation is around 1000 pesos = 4000 pesos. Versus hiring eight-time keepers, which is 1000 pesos each x 8 = 8000 pesos.


Therefore why pay for a more expensive inefficient timing system when the more efficient system is cheaper?


The only set of electronic timer equipment is owned by the PSC and provided to the PATAFA at the cost of transporting the operators.

Unfortunately, the electronics are not available on November 16 and 23 during weekly relays as the operators will be at the Batang Pinoy Finals in Bacolod.

Electronics will be available on Nov 30 at the weekly relays and then used during the UAAP Finals the following week.

The operators also informed us that the electronics would be available between January and the PNG.


Which bring us to the possibility should we have meets leading upto the PNG to help the athletes better prepare?


Difference between fully automatic and hand timing

6. Use in athletics

According to the IAAF, any record in athletics (world, Olympic, or national) or qualifying time for Olympic Games or World Championships set in a sprint event must be timed by a FAT system to be valid.

Hand times, those with humans operating the stopping and/or starting mechanisms are highly prone to error.

By rule, they are only accurate to a tenth (.1) of a second; all 100ths of a second beyond zero must be rounded to the next highest tenth.


7. Hand Timing

Hand Timing or Stopwatch Timing
Hand Timing or Stopwatch Timing


Many track and field statisticians use a conversion factor estimate of 0.24 seconds added to any hand-timed mark in the 100 m or 200 m event and 0.14 seconds to any hand-timed mark in the 400 m or longer event.

These conversion factors are only applicable for comparing marks from various sources but are not acceptable for Record purposes.

In comparing an adjusted manual time to an electronic timer, an original FAT time being equivalent, the FAT time will be considered more accurate. Thus the athlete will be given the higher seed or comparison ranking.

This old method of converting times dates back to when FAT systems were much less common. They are increasingly less acceptable even at low-level meets and certainly not at the sport’s upper level. 

Above from Wikipedia.


8. Rounding

Times are always rounded up to the nearest 10th. E.g., 10.50s would be 10.5s, but 10.51 would be 10.6s.


Depending on the number of stopwatches

  1. If 1 stopwatch is used, e.g., 10.51, then the final time is 10.60.
  2. If 2 stopwatches are used, e.g., 10.51 and 10.69, then the slower time is the final time, 10.70.
  3. If 3 stopwatches are used, e.g., 10.50, 10.54, and 10.69, then the middle time is the final time, 10.60.


pinoyathletics wrote: Would the number of stop watches used effect the differential between a hand time and electronic timer?. Lets take for example in the 100m.One stop watch used 10.87 = 10.9ht.
Two stop watches used 10.87 and 10.91 = 11.0ht (10.91 must round up)Three stop watches used 10.80, 10.87 and 10.91 = (10.9ht)The standard addition is +0.24.
But i’m presuming this is only a guide if 3 stop watches are used? which is usually more accurate. So is it possible it could be +0.3 with two stop watches and +0.4 or more with just one stop watch??

9. Response from DJ from Track and Field News

What matters most is the number of GOOD timers. One bad timer can produce a faulty time.

However, the timer might throw it out and create a reasonable time.

For instance, the times in a high school boy’s 100 might come to the head timer as 11.0, 11.1, 11.2, 10.9, and 11.4 for the first five placers.

No head timer will say that the fourth-place time is faster than the winner; it’s going to be adjusted to either 11.2, 11.3, or 11.4, and no one will be the wiser.

There are multiple times and will take longer (almost always those closer to reality).

The longer of two watches, the agreement of two or the middle is three watches.


More Watches

More watches and good hand-timers improve timing.

When there aren’t enough hand timers to get three timepieces in each area, pairing a good timer with a bad one overcomes the bad timer’s effect.

This is crucial in high school meets when two runners may be progressing in place and several on time.

In the heats, the ahead timers may push the best timers to 3rd and 4th. Return them to first, second, and so on for the final.

Part of this indeed violates the rules (two or fewer timers on a site), but it’s the truth.


10. Note on national records

Even though hand timing is not used for record-keeping purposes in most countries.

PATAFA still keeps a list of hand-timed national senior and junior national records. The instances where and may see this as acceptable are for 800m or more when the differentials in timing are not as great and if and set a record in the days before the electronic timer was available for sprint events, e.g., pre-1980s.


11. Electronic Timer: Team Culture and Training Accountability

By Ryan Banta


No matter the percentage of effort, it’s critical sprinters hit the expected times in practice.

As proven by research, if an athlete throws off an entire workout by running the incorrect effort, far-reaching negative ramifications can occur.

It can mess up the training day, the next day, and even the next meet.


Easy-to-get, reliable, predictive, and cataloged electronic data is valuable.

Freelap’s sprint coach-focused tech is great.

Coaches learn more about their athletes as systems improve.

Over multiple seasons, a coach will establish an environment where everything done at the track is accounted for in training and life outside of practice.

This accountability culture will reduce injuries, underperformance, and the gap between potential and actual personal bests.


12. Improve Performance

Expectations boost performance.

A smart coach can use an electronic timer to demonstrate how to practice run times affect race performance.

The athlete won’t meet goals in the competitive or championship phases if they can’t practice at the right intensity.

All team members are accountable for their performance when measured.

Accurate repetition time and clear expectations help athletes focus.

Accountability can keep sprinters from sandbagging or hiding in a slower pack.

Full Article Here


13. The Sprint Stopper Filling Electronic Timer App

Article by Jimson Lee.

This is a more accurate system than hand timing and can be set up easily and affordably. If you already have a high-quality mobile phone, you are already halfway there.

You just the software and some tripods. No need for an expensive electronic timing system.

The last article on an Electronic Timer app is available for iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. This app is for Android phones.

This guest blog was written by Quincy Neal, developer and founder of the Sprint Stopper app.

Downloads are from Google Play Store.  Here is the link to the Free Version and the link for the Full Version.

14. Fully Automatic Timing Now For Everyone?


Sprint Stopper is a new Android (and eventually Apple) software. Cell phones become completely automatic Timing Systems.

  1. It’s entirely automatic like sports timing equipment. Track meets have 0.009 timing accuracy.
  2. Simply place the mobile device on the ground or tripod at the finish line. After three beeps imitating (ready, set, go). Athletes sprint. The camera pauses the timer when the athlete crosses the finish line in the crosshair.
  3. Any distance from 0 to 800 meters takes time. And automatically records split times for 600- and 800-meter races.
  4. After a run, a repeat function restarts. Like a 10 x 30 meter workout. In order of sprint times.
  5. That’s impressive. Sprint Stopper can simultaneously time eight athletes at all distances. Like a track meet with first-to-last results.
  6. No one touches the phone during the timing process.
  7. The user only touches the gadget during setup and start.

Read the Full Article Here



By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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