Using Quartz Composer to learn hockey

One of my favourite goals of all time is by Marek Malik of the New York Rangers. It was a game-winning shootout goal. Malik is a defensemen who is not expected to score, but the shootout had gone something like 15 rounds and you can't re-use players until everyone on the team has had a shot, so eventually you get a guy like Malik taking a crack at it.

Well, the goal speaks for itself, it's absolutely sick, and I watch it any time I think about it, which is often, and it still amazes me every time.

I was thinking it would be cool to learn how to do his move. I was watching the video over and over (I have a slightly higher quality WMV version of that same video). Unfortunately, Malik shoots left, but I shoot right... flipping everything over in my head in real-time is tricky.

But it's just an X-axis transformation right, my computer should be able to do it very easily... Enter Quartz Composer. It comes with the Mac OS X Developer Tools (which are free) in /Developer/Applications/Graphic Tools. It's a little intimidating at first because it's so unlike other tools, but once you get the hang of it it's really fun and does a great job, and really shows off the power of modern computers, graphics hardware and software.

Basically, all I did was tell Quartz Composer to change the X scale of the movie to -1, thanks to this tip on the web site. This flipped the movie so that Malik was now shooting right instead of left.

Here's the Quartz Composition I made...

Quartz Composition

You can't see the settings I made, so it's a little hard to grasp what I did, but basically I double clicked on the circle next to "Scaling X" for the Affine Transform and entered -1. I also entered the path to the movie in the Movie Path property of "Image with Movie" and set the dimensions of the movie in the "Crop" patch.

Flipped Frame of video

Bingo! Now Malik is shooting right, and it's way easier for me to emulate his move...

Thanks Apple!

Written on July 28, 2007