Get the most you can from Takedown's rich feature set. We've purchased and used all of these things.
Capture live videO
Takedown's Scoring Graphics feature should be combined with live match video. Here's a little dongle that makes it easy to connect a modern camcorder to a PC where you can mix live video with Takedown's scoring graphics. Just run an HDMI cable from your camcorder to the Elgato Cam Link and then plug your Cam Link into your PC's USB port. Done. Doesn't need external power or additional software drivers or any of that junk, just plug-n-play. Pretty amazing. Requires a camcorder with 1080P output.
Canon VIXIA HF R800
Need a camcorder with 1080P output? We took a look at this one because it was inexpensive and had good Amazon reviews. Does the job and works well with Cam Link. Don't forget (did you ever know? We didn't.) that most camcorders have a "mini" HDMI connector, so you might need a cable with one "mini" HDMI connector and one standard HDMI connector. Offers 1080P output required by the Cam Link.
An alternative to the free (and very good) OBS Studio video mixer. NDI support is built-in so you don't need to download and install additional software as with OBS. On the downside, eventually you'll need to pay for vMix after the two month free trial. Two. Months.
apple lightning to hdmi adapter
wired digital scoreboard
To use Takedown's digital scoreboard feature, your iPad must be connected to an HDMI-equipped digital monitor. To convert your iPad's Lightning connector to HDMI, use Apple's Lightning AV adapter. This one has both the Lightning and HDMI connectors so you can charge your iPad at the same time. This is an expensive dongle at ~$40 and we are not fans of Apple's single-source pricing on this gizmo. But, it's the only game in town. Don't use third-party Lightning-to-HDMI adapters -- they don't work. Also, see "Known Issues" for iOS 11 incompatibility courtesy of Apple. Arghhh.
Wireless digital scoreboard
If you can't run an HDMI cable from your Takedown iPad to your digital monitor -- maybe it's mounted on the gym wall -- try going wireless. Connect an Apple TV to your digital monitor with a standard HDMI cable. Connect your Takedown iPad to the Apple TV over Wifi. On your iPad, turn on AirPlay and select the Apple TV. Very neat stuff. Apple TV is a versatile little box and can be used for a variety of wrestling-related activities including match video review and binge watching Stranger Things Season 2 on Netflix.
Software that Turns a PC into an apple TV
AirServer is a software product that allows a PC to become an Apple TV. Why is this useful? Because (1) it is 1/10th the cost of Apple TV; (2) it can stream content to YouTube; (3) it can record a stream to your hard drive and (4) it can source two AirPlay streams at once. Using AirServer, it's easy and inexpensive to use Takedown's score board feature. Download and install AirServer on a PC, on your iPad use AirPlay to connect Takedown over the network to the AirServer you just installed and then run an HDMI cable from your AirServer PC to a digital monitor. Not as convenient as Apple TV, but more capable and dirt cheap. We use AirServer a lot.
Apple Airplay is built into every iPhone and iPad and we use it to transmit the scoreboard over the network. You can't see the scoreboard in Takedown -- we create the scoreboard content "under the covers" and Airplay treats it just like any other screen. Learn more about Apple Airplay here. Enable Airplay on your iPad to send Takedown's digital scoreboard to Apple TV or AirServer. Don't confuse AirPlay (Apple's tech built into iOS) and AirServer (third party software that mimics the functionality of an Apple TV).
Charging a bunch of iPads with single socket wall chargers is a pain. Thankfully, there are multi-unit chargers out there that are inexpensive and do the job. This product from Satechi will charge seven devices simultaneously. The rack works well with naked devices and it's a snug fit if your iPad has a case or folio. We bought this on Amazon for $50 and it's worth every penny. Grab a few six inch charging cables as depicted; they're cheap and sold by many vendors.
If you don't have some sort of protective case on your expensive iPad, then you should budget for a replacement. When your iPad drops on the floor, it will break. You don't need to spend a fortune on a protective enclosure! We're big fans of the Fintie cases on eBay (shown in photo), delivered for about $10 and available in various colors and designs. You'll find a wide array of cost-effective iPad enclosures on eBay.
Previously owned iPads
A new iPad can be shockingly expensive. The so-called iPad 5, just announced in the spring 2017, helped a bit with an entry level price of $329. If you want more memory, cellular or an iPad Pro, the price increase can be breathtaking. Fortunately, Takedown Scoring and Stats doesn't need the fanciest iPad in the store. It works fine with entry level iPads including models that Apple doesn't sell anymore. In fact, we (our company), has yet to purchase a new iPad. We've found plenty of fully functional, if sometimes bruised, iPad Mini 1/2 and Air 1/2 models on eBay. The Mini 1 and Mini 2 are easily purchased for $100 and $150, respectively, with entry level features suitable for Takedown Scoring and Stats. Air 1 is $175 or so and Air 2 at $200-$230. We've purchased about twenty iPads on eBay at average delivered cost of $130 and wrote about our experience in a blog post. Amazon is also a great source -- iPad Mini 1 for $95 right now (11/15/17). Great way to save!
Portable Battery and Charger
Dollar for dollar, the most useful thing in my magic kit. When your iPad -- or any other mobile thing -- is about to give up the power ghost, you'll thank goodness for a portable battery. Cheap, sturdy, small and easy to use. Just plug your iPad into a portable battery and you're good for another few hours. We have a few Anker units because: Amazon Best Seller. There are lots of choices. Get one or two, keep them charged and throw one in your pack when you go to the wrestling event.
Online match video
Free, easy, unlimited
You need to spend $500 annually for a wrestling-specific, online service for storing match videos right? Wrong. The easiest and most cost-effective way to make your videos available to your wrestlers and fans is YouTube. Create a YouTube channel for your team and upload as much video as you'd like. YouTube is free. Stream live or upload video after recording. Create YouTube playlists for athletes, events and seasons. Make highlight videos using YouTube's online editor. Set up notifications so that interested parties know when new video is uploaded. Add scoring graphics from Takedown so you know the match situation and team score. You don't need to keep a backup copy on your PC -- you can download your own videos from YouTube. YouTube will convert your video to multiple quality levels for playback -- 1080P, 720P, 480P, etc. -- so that users can view the videos regardless of connection speed. And, you can share videos publicly, privately or with a group. Or, with a college coach. Or a coach might find it via YouTube search. Hmmmm.
Free, robust, easy, accessible and from a 700 billion dollar company that'll be here in two or twenty years. No brainer.
Merge Reports into single pdf
Takedown's reports generate a lot of PDF files, one for each report type. Users often want a single PDF containing multiple reports, say for a single event or an entire season. We came across PDF Merge, a free online website for combining multiple PDFs into a single PDF. Seems to work well and it's priced right.
Fat Finger Fix
Get a stylus or two for less than a dollar each delivered from Amazon, perhaps on eBay, too.
Free Online Productivity Tools
Email, calendar, spreadsheet, word processing and other tools are all free with Google. Still using your personal email address for your team? Bad idea. Parents, students and coaches move on. Get a team-specific email address that stays with the team. Many companies offer free email as well as productivity tools. Use them! Shared calendars are great, too, for keeping parents and athletes current on the event schedule.
Poking around in OBS Studio with a mouse/cursor, targeting a transition button or moving a scene into the preview view are all opportunities to make an error. El Gato Stream Deck turns video production into a series of button presses. Stream Deck is a USB add-on device allowing the user to assign specific scenes to push buttons. Tap a button and the associated scene transitions to the Live View. Configuring with OBS Studio is simple, easy to change and customize. Powered by its PC USB connection, Stream Deck comes with a really slick configuration tool which works even without the hardware. We created the Takedown-specific Stream Deck profile in about fifteen minutes, not including unpacking, set up, downloading the software and reading a few instructions.
Inexpensive magic is great magic.