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  • Writer's pictureBobby

VEO vs. Trace: Soccer Camera Review

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Trace and VEO are both very popular cameras for recording soccer games. Trace is an American-based company with deep roots in U.S. youth soccer and used by many of the top-ranked clubs. VEO is a European video camera company focused on soccer and 7 other sports.

The two cameras can often be found on the sidelines of soccer showcases, but there are distinct differences between the two camera systems. Here’s a breakdown of how the pros and cons of each.

Upload Process

Upload time is a major concern for soccer clubs, particularly competitive teams who attend showcases and tournaments and need to upload the game film to the cloud to have enough room to store new film the following day.

Winner: Trace

  • Trace has a much faster video turnaround time than VEO, allows you to upload with both ethernet and Wifi, and enables teams to download more games (8 games!) at tournaments and showcases. After games, users plug the Trace cameras into the Trace box and the recordings are automatically transferred onto the case and off of the cameras. The game is then uploaded from the Trace box to the Trace server for processing. This is a huge bonus when recording tournaments or if your WiFi is not very fast; as long as you plug Trace in and attempt the upload process, the recording is moved off of the cameras and onto the box, which means you can record more games the following day. Trace also offers a great app that shows upload speed and estimates the time to completion. The system can record 8 hours on a single charge and can store 8 games in a weekend without uploading.

  • The VEO system takes much longer to upload games off of the camera. The times to upload varied drastically among the VEO users posting online on the topic. According to Soccer Stripes, one soccer parent gave a generally good review of VEO but stated, "My only complaints are that you cant upgrade the sd card or whatever it uses to store the recordings on, and the processing time. I think they need to add more gerbils to their server." After a busy showcase weekend, one team reported VEO upload times of about 14 hours, even though their ethernet cable was connected. The biggest issue with VEO uploads is that you cannot delete the recordings of the games and make room for new games until after they've been uploaded to VEO's servers, which means that if lots of VEO users are uploading games (which typically happens during big event weekends), then you are out of luck in terms of recording new games.

Commenters on Facebook frequently complain about Veo battery dies after short periods

"Our Veo camera is great BUT having to upload soccer game videos

over an Ethernet connection is tricky on the road."

Video Utilization

Are teams actually watching game film to improve from game to game? How often do parents consume game footage?

Winner: Trace

  • Trace averages over 1,000 views per match. If you are using game video for coaching or player development, Trace beats VEO in the sense that players actually watch Trace game film. This makes sense intuitively since Trace delivers personalized game footage to every player, parent, and coach via email immediately when the game is finished processing. This is a radical shift from traditional game footage, which averages less than 10 views per game. Players and coaches simply do not have the time or desire to re-watch a 60 to 80-minute match all over again. Trace users can also appear on Trace’s National Leaderboards of most viewed videos for any given week, so there’s a bigger incentive for Trace users to view and share their videos.

  • VEO has much lower video utilization rates. I could not locate official statistics, but after analyzing game video view counts on a number of teams, it appears that the average number of views for matches is somewhere in the dozens. VEO requires players and coaches to view raw game footage and tag their own moments (which often means that it does not get done). Since so much of the work surrounding editing the video falls onto the players and parents, what often happens is that players will only use VEO to find exceptional highlights after the game film has been delivered. That being said, VEO plans to launch a "Live Tagging" feature that will allow coaches to mark events in real time as they occur on the field, which could increase the amount of time spent watching VEO videos.

Video Quality

Video quality is decent for both systems, but these are not meant to be capturing up-close, ground-level shots. Both systems are elevated on tripods and capture wide swaths of the field.

Winner: TIE

  • VEO shoots with 1080p in a panoramic shot. The frame rate is good, and you can manually zoom in later when analyzing the video. For some reason, this video quality leads to upload issues and a long time to upload for Veo. You might play a game on a Saturday and get your video back midway through the following week.

  • Trace shoots in 1080p and is powered by an advanced computational capture engine that smooths out panning, sharpens resolution, and gives stability in windy conditions. Currently, 1080p is the standard for recording sports due to considerations around energy efficiency, battery life, and file size/bandwidth requirements.

In many cases, you might not even be able to tell the difference between Trace and VEO video; this is especially true on mobile devices or tablets with smaller screens, where most players and parents view game film.

Trace recently launched their new "Capture Engine" with improved video quality.

Up-Close Footage & Additional Cameras / Angles

In early 2022, Trace launched its MultiCam feature, which allows parents or coaches to set up smartphones on tripods anywhere along the field to capture ground-level footage and additional angles. Think ESPN-style viewing as if you were watching a professional sports game on television.

Winner: Trace

  • Trace's MultiCam feature really gives parents and coaches the power to capture both the full field view to teach positioning and critical lessons for teams. It also gives coaches the ability to capture very up-close footage of individual players. This ground-level viewpoint is spectacular from a recruiting highlight reel perspective, and it gives parents the option of setting up an additional camera to capture their own kid. Anyone affiliated with the team can download the Trace app and record. Trace stitches footage from phones into video game results from the Trace camera. When watching the video, Trace's artificial intelligence software will switch between the raised tripod view and the ground-level view, which makes for a pretty incredible viewing experience.

  • VEO does not offer a similar product.

With Trace's MultiCam feature, you can toggle between footage captured along the sidelines and the footage captured from overhead.

Here's a sample of what a user see's with Trace MultiCam set up:

Editing and Auto-Tagging Capabilities

Recording games is only the first step for coaches. After games are recorded, the video needs to get in front of players to be useful.

Winner: Trace

  • Trace is basically Veo on steroids when it comes to automatic editing. Trace automatically delivers every highlight sorted into playlists after games are processed. The game is broken out into both geographical areas of play (box, offensive third, middle third, and defensive third), the time during the game (Half 1, Half 2), playlists for individual player moments, goals, progressions, and touch chains. Trace automatically tags every play and adds tags for where it happened (box, offensive third, middle third, and defensive third) and when (Half 1, Half 2) so you can easily analyze every game. This auto-tagging is a huge amount of time saved for coaches, players, and parents. This also makes Trace the better tool for coaching, as coaches can really organize their film review sessions or have one on one coaching sessions with players.

  • VEO offers a timeline and allows users to go in and create highlights themselves and create custom tags. Goals are flagged on the timeline, and players can add graphics like circles, lines, and arrows to the highlights they select. When editing, players can tag themselves and create custom tags for things like attack, corner, defense, and anything a player might want to focus on. The biggest advantage to VEO’s approach is the ability to customize so much of the tagging process, but this is also the biggest downside. Since basically all tagging is a manual process, coaches typically have to review full game footage and it can take hours for players to sort through video to find moments. Many coaches I’ve spoken with do little with this video because the time required to make it actionable means less time actually practicing. VEO offers a variety of player metrics, but these metrics come from partnerships with outside vendors. VEO offers free or discounted to these services.

Veo requires users to edit their own footage, which is extremely time consuming.

VEO users manually tag footage from games (see video), while Trace automatically delivers personalized moments to each player.

Recruiting Tools

Competitive soccer clubs use video as a core part of their college recruiting strategy. College coaches, especially during COVID, adopted video as the preferred method of evaluating players. This is particularly true for players in distant geographies where coaches have limited ability to travel.

Winner: Trace

  • Trace features like Trace iD and their National Leaderboards make recruiting easy and give players many opportunities to be spotted by recruiters. All Trace subscriptions come with Trace iD, an online profile for showcasing each player’s best moments for college coaches (or for their own purposes). Trace iD allows you to compile/save your favorite moments or "highlights" from each match at the click of a button on your phone. Each Trace iD has a unique URL, and players can easily share this URL with college coaches and update their Trace iD with new match footage as they play more games.

  • VEO does not offer any features around college recruiting, but players can download highlights and use tools like iMovie to build highlight reels for college coaches. The downside of this approach is that it is time-consuming. For every new match, a player needs to manually find highlights, edit footage, and then upload that footage onto a video hosting platform to send to college coaches.

Downloading Highlights

Both Trace and VEO allow users to easily download highlights for free.

Customer Support

These are both relatively complex products, so customer support is essential. In this category, VEO is notorious among soccer parents for the lack of customer support. This may be because VEO is a European company, so their customer support is focused on the European market. Trace, on the other hand, has 24/7 customer support, and they generally respond quickly at any time of the day.

Winner: Trace

Parents and coaches frequently vent about Veo customer support on social media

Price Point

How affordable are both these game film systems? Youth soccer teams do not have unlimited access to funds, and price may be a big concern for some clubs.

Winner: Trace

  • Trace starts at $495 for the hardware and a $15 per month subscription. The advantage to Trace’s subscription model is that as new camera models are available or as you need replacement equipment, they will send it to you. Trace subscriptions include hardware replacements and upgrades, so teams are always guaranteed to have the most up-to-date equipment, whereas with a VEO subscription you are buying a specific camera and cannot upgrade after each season. Trace also includes a more robust software package than VEO. With both Trace and VEO, you have unlimited access to your game film. More pricing info here.

  • VEO costs about $2,798 (club subscription, camera, and tripod). With both Trace and VEO, a subscription is pretty much a requirement if you want to actually operate the camera. With VEO, you are purchasing the camera outright and subscribing to the software portion. With Trace, you are subscribing to get the camera and the software for the period of time you are subscribed. For most teams using Veo, additional costs arise because you end up needing to hire an editor to pull out highlights and to purchase additional game analysis features. More pricing info here.

Overall Assessment

Winner: Trace

Trace is the system to choose if you want your team to utilize the game film and if you want to make the process as easy as possible for your coaches and parents. The value that Trace brings is that it delivers the content that players care about quickly and seamlessly. Very few people watch full game footage (and even fewer want to scour hours of game film to collect highlights), so these personalized, auto-delivered moments are really the critical differentiator between the two systems.

If you want to sit down and just watch full game footage, Veo is a comparable product. Their video quality from their camera is slightly better than Trace. But if you're using Trace to its fullest extent with MultiCam set up and an iPhone recording the game from multiple angles, Trace really blows Veo out of the water.

If your players are looking to play in college or if your coaches are very focused on game film for player development, Trace is the better option. With Trace, all of the services needed from the filming to the editing to the recruiting and sharing are all incorporated into one platform, and coaches do not have to do any work associated with editing game film. This makes for a much more seamless and stress-free college soccer recruiting process.

If you’ve ever used any other game film system, you know that raw game film means that families will need to incur additional costs (both monetary and time costs) in order to break down the film and create highlight reels that add up quickly. Parents might end up paying upwards of $250 every time players need to send a highlight reel to send to college coaches after a weekend of games. Trace eliminates the need for those kinds of services completely.

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