I liked Stromotion too... thought it was a useful tool for breaking down the success or failure of a jump. I seem to recall seeing Stromotion (minus the Chevy sponsoring!) in at least one GP event during the 2010-11 season, but can't remember which one.
Curt Gowdy Jr. is the one responsible for bringing both the SkyCam and Stro-motion to ABC/ESPN coverage... he was their coordinating producer for nearly 20 years before getting SportsNet New York off the ground. When I interviewed him for the book, he described his motivation for SkyCam as "trying to give the TV audience another sense of being there."
Whether or not it worked, well... ;-)
I also subscribe to the Fred Astaire rule of filming dancing (skating) - Hands and feet in every shot. On the other hand it's often how the director uses the cameras that makes the shots bad or good. Here's an example from this year.
Takahashi free program NHK - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUTV0Vn_xuI
Takahashi free program GPF - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNQnevifJKQ
Takahashi's performance at Grand Prix Finals was actually better than at NHK (both were good). However, the NHK performance has more visual impact because the director did his homework and used his cameras more effectively. There are 2 or 3 key moments that just got missed at Grand Prix Finals.
The "great director" you mentioned was Doug Wilson, who was honored by U.S. Figure Skating for his masterful coverage of figure skating.
He and Curt Gowdy Jr. defined skating coverage as it exists today -- more good than bad.
I particulary hate those close ups of the orchestra which only show the skater in far away shots. Or the ones which frame the shot of the skater through the harp, for example. so artistic! Music is to listen to, not to watch!
I just watched the Junior Grand Prix Final on Ice Network. The camerawork was driving me crazy. Just as a skater was going into a spin the camera would zoom in for a closeup of their shoulders.
Ah, FSU! Where thread drift comes to play.
I was at Skate America in Hartford where Mao skated a BRILLIANT sp to Chopin and although she hit a 3flip/3loop, I was even more impressed with how light on her feet she was and how soft her blades were. Imagine later when I watched the same program on TV and heard "SCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" the whole time.The first time I heard this, I wrote to ABC/ESPN telling them that Mao Asada should NOT sound like a rollerblading elephant.
I always thought this camera at the Goodwill Games in 1998 was interesting. It worked well some of the time, but the downside was it only moves laterally...and it was only on one side of the rink...and the skater sometimes got away from it...yeah, come to think of it, it kinda sucked too.
I know they use one like it in some of the exhibition shows as well. But the overhead camera definitely aggravates me, especially when they show it during spins. You can't get a sense of what a spin looks like from a top-down view!
Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good grief, what have we wrought on the world? Oh my, oh my, OH MY!" (commenting on Tara Lipinsky's free skate, at the 1997 U.S. Nationals)
Last edited by ItalianFan; 01-14-2012 at 07:07 PM.
The camera angle that puzzled me was one of Brian Joubert's Grand Prix programs last season. Brian was doing a footwork sequence and the camera zoomed in on his crotch for a full 2 or 3 minutes. I thought the camera operator must've taken a coffee break. I can only assume the cameraman was aiming for the knees and missed.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and the cats have never forgotten.