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The Facts about F.A.T.

Video timing is important to the
sport of track and field and offers a tremendous alternative to the excessive cost of line-scan systems (such as FinishLynx) and the expense of hiring outside timing crews. As a result, F.A.T. is now affordable for all budgets.

Eagle Eye timing software meets and exceeds NCAA and high school league requirements for fully automatic timing (F.A.T).

F.A.T, the IAAF ruling and what it means....
What is F.A.T?
F.A.T. stands for fully automatic timing. For a time to be considered automatic, there can be no manual process to start or end the race clock. In track and field, the timer must begin with the starting gun electronically and provide a method of reading the end time when the athlete crosses the finish line - all without manually alteration.

Automatic timing is used in horse racing, cycling, swimming and virtually any sport where place of finish is measured by time. Other timing definitions are manual and semi automatic.

Manual timing means that both the start and finish of a race is created manually (i.e. stopwatch). Semi Automatic Timing generally begins the race clock (automatically) with the starting gun, yet manually ends the race clock with human interpretation (i.e. push button systems).

Can Eagle Eye produce Proof of Performance?
Perhaps the most plausible reason the IAAF changed it's definition was to acknowledge that traditional video tape systems (prior to Eagle Eye computer software) had no way of printing Proof of Performance documents in the case a record was set at an IAAF competition. This inability of the old VCR tape systems was legitimate and often fueled critics and the competition to speak against the video timing.

Eagle Eye Digital Video has responded to this concern and now takes producing Proof of Performance documents to the next level. Below are examples of several methods of printing and documenting results. Proof of performances can be printed, posted on the web or even emailed as video - all in full color, without distortion and with the finish line and time always in full view. No other timing system can produce such versatile documents that prove the accuracy of race performances.

Samples of Proof of Performance documents

Why did the IAAF change its definition of F.A.T.?
The IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) recently changed its definition of automatic timing. They no longer list video timing as Automatic Timing, therefore have eliminated the ability for video timing to time their championship competitions. At the same time they added an amendment (1.65.12) that allows video timing to be used for non-championships competitions. *see rule below.
What does the IAAF change mean and what does USATF say?
The IAAF does not govern the U.S. high school or collegiate leagues where video timing is legal and well established. Remember that the IAAF still allows video timing at their non-championship meets - and as the IAAF goes, so does USATF. Because the USATF wants U.S. athletes to compete in international events governed by the IAAF, they will also not use video timing for the major US championship events. Yet, for age group track meets, video timing is certainly viable. Video timing (upon the approval of the Meet Director) can
still be used at State USATF championships.

Regardless, the I.A.A.F. ruling has no impact on U.S. high school or collegiate track and field timing. Video Timing is legal F.A.T. and extremely important to the sport of track and field.

What are the actual rules for track and field timing?
Below are the track and field timing rules for the following organizations: the national Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the International Amateur Athletic (IAAF).

NCAA - Track & Field Rules , 2006

SECTION 12. Timing (page 75)
a. Fully automatic timing (FAT)
(1) Photoelectric timing:
(a) Must utilize equipment that is started automatically by the energy of the shell exploding in the starterís gun.
(b) Must, by an electronic or optical device, determine the instant the first part of each runnerís torso reaches the finish line, and record the finish time automatically on film or print out which is synchronized with a time scale graduated in 1/100ths of a second.
(c) Should determine time and places by the use of equipment that guarantees perpendicularity between the time scale and the precise point of finish for each runner.

(d) Time should be read to the next highest 1/100th of a second.
(2) Videotape

Videotape may be used as long as it complies with the provisions of Rule 5-12-1a and:

(a) It uses a camera aligned with the finish line.

(b) It uses videotape that produces 50 (fifty) frames / second.

(c) The official time is read from the time of the frame where the runner is positioned at, or immediately after, the finish line.

(d) Is capable of producing a printed picture that shows a time for each runner and whether the timing device has started automatically by the starterís gun.

NFHS - National Federation of High School (2006 Officials Manual) Page 30-32

Most state associations, in their championships meets and in many invitational meets, use a fully automatic (FAT) device which provides a photo or video of the finish of each race. In these meets, the picture becomes the official record of the race and the regular finish judges' decision are used only in case of malfunction of the electronic device. The games committee or meet director must designate a procedure to follow when there is a malfunction in the FAT system. When this device is used, the head finish judge should consult with the chief finish evaluator following each race to confirm the official order of finish.

If fully automatic timing is used, the head timer and assistants will serve as backup timers only in case the system malfunctions. The head timer will consult with the FAT operator and confirm the official winning times for all place winners or all competitors following each race. When a FAT system is used, the games committee may reduce or eliminate the use of a timer at the finish line.

IAAF - Rules
RULE 165 Timing and Photo Finish (Amended rule 165.12 (IAAF 108)

Video Timing

A videotape-based system may be used for non-championship competition, provided:

(a) it complies with the provisions of Rule 165.10 ((is started automatically by the Starter's pistol));

(b) it uses a videotape camera aligned with the finish line and videotape that produces at least 50 frames per second; and

(c) it incorporates a timing device that generates a reading to 1/1000th of a second. When a frame-by-frame videotape-based system is used, the official time for each competitor shall be read from the time of the frame where the competitors is positioned exactly at, or immediately after, the finish line;

(d) it is able to produce a printed picture shat shows the time for each runner and whether or not the timing device has been started automatically by the Starter's pistol; and))

(e) it is so manufactured that the picture production and the time system are synchronized.))