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Camera Coverage

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by DarrellH, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    I'm starting this, because I've become increasingly irritated by the camera angles used in coverage. In particular, it is the return of the overhead camera to show a spin! Who thought of that? This was done many years ago, but was abandoned.
    I also hate when the camera focuses away from the action. A skater may be doing incredible footwork, but the camera is focused on a face close-up.:mad:

    ok...rant over.
  2. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    One of my favorite shots is when the camera does an extreme close up of the feet, just after the music starts and when the skater is clearly doing something with their upper body.
  3. geena

    geena New Member

    Hi... thought I'd respond on this one since the book I recently released deals with this subject a bit :)

    One of the reasons we're noticing more irritating angles (I hate the overhead shot as much as you do) is because what we see for GP coverage is, for the most part, out of the hands of NBC/Universal or even IceNetwork. Each host country takes control of their own coverage on what is known as the World Feed... so Japan has their own style, China has theirs, and so on. Back when ABC had the GP rights in the late 90s, I believe they were setting up their own cameras to cover some or all of the shots-- after all, the network had been covering skating non-stop since 1964 and kind of knew what worked and what didn't! But even when NBC puts a GP event on the air nowadays, they're simply streaming the feed and having Carruthers & Gannon et al react to it here at home (the notable exception being Skate America of course).

    And the decisions to use close-ups vs. feet shots, etc. are pretty much up to whoever's directing-- that goes for the US coverage too. There are two pretty distinct schools of thought on how to direct skating... those that do camera blocking (plan their shots in advance based on what they see in practices), and those that prefer to direct "on the fly" and go with their gut and their experience. Likewise, some prefer to stay almost entirely on body shots, while others feel it's important to capture an emotional moment close-up from time to time.

    Hope that helps... even though the bad cut-aways and dizzying angles persist!

    (BTW, the book I wrote is called "Skating on Air: The Broadcast History of an Olympic Marquee Sport" if anyone's interested)
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    I think it's a good idea to always ensure the screen shows the skater's whole body. I hate zooming in during spins or footwork. And I HATE HATE HATE aerial view (as in shots from directly above your head). And I also hate mics udner the ice.

    Sometimes I like watching fan cam videos of competitions on youtube because it usually gives more perspective of speed and ice coverage.
  5. mysticchic

    mysticchic Well-Known Member

    the continuity sucks! The cameras aren't sync in white balance or anything else in that matter. The director and producers should assure this. There is no blocking from practices.
    I think back in the day when ESPN/ABC Sports did skating, they had a great director and during the skating practices, they also blocked and practiced the shots.
    I hate that when the ice dancers or pairs separate, they only have one skater in the frame. I'm not sure if they are using less camera and they have one camera that does close ups, one that follows the skater (s) and another to do wide shots. A big maybe on 1 more on lock down.
    I wish ISU would hire one good director who knows skating to do all international events! It would solve a lot of problems.
    I would be happy to do this for them!
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  6. iarispiralllyof

    iarispiralllyof Active Member

    lol the cameraman always zoomed in on michelle's face during her spirals
  7. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    I always groaned when that happened. That was one of the dumbest things they could have done, and they did it all the time. Yes, we love her pearly whites, but for the love of god show us that beautiful extension and buttery edge change, please!

  8. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Those of you who hate the overhead shot (myself included) will no doubt be thrilled to know they're installing an overhead camera especially for worlds in Nice :yikes:

    I read this in IFS a couple of issues back. I couldn't believe the person who wrote the article reported this fact as if it was a special and good thing :rolleyes:
  9. whoa

    whoa Member

    That's hilarious!

    I really dislike overhead shots as well. Just show us the whole body straight on! Go crazy with the close ups in slo-mo, if you absolutely must, but show me the whole body.
  10. Sk8fun

    Sk8fun Active Member

    The overhead cam on spins drives me crazy! I also can't stand when they show only the feet during a spin.
  11. maggylyn

    maggylyn Well-Known Member

    Would it be possible for ISU to make this part of the TV contracts, to insist on a director who will do things a certain way?

    It really is horrible when the camera is all over the place, and zooming in an out, instead of staying on the skater - full body.

    Can we sign a petition for them to hire you? :)
  12. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    But how else would we've known that Michelle wore hers "emotion on her sleeves" if it wasn't for the close-up ? :p The camera did the face close-up of Sasha's spiral also.
  13. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member


    At least the closeups weren't on her sleeves, then.:D
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  14. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Only because so many of her outfits were sleeveless.
  15. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    LOL, you guys have been watching too many Dick and Peggy's interactions. Dick made the comment about Michelle wearing her heart on her sleeve (at 05 Nationals, I think). Peggy immediately chimed in something like, "She isn't wearing sleeves."
  16. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller #1 Dick Button Fan

    How can any of us in the US ever forget -- drumroll, please! -- the "Smuckers Sky-Cam" that was so misused by ABC at the first Nationals where it was employed. It would hover over, then zoom down the rink, sometimes CIRCLING AROUND a skater during a long footwork segment, as they did with BeBe Liang's SP! :lol:

    Another ABC gimmick was the "Stro-Motion Jump Photography, Presented by Chevy." Emphasis on the "Presented by Chevy."
  17. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Oh I actually enjoyed watching the stro-motion jump photography thing. It aired after the performance so it didn't distract, and I liked analyzing a skater's jump technique.
  18. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    Eurosport cameras zooming in on shadows during spotlighted exhibition numbers = :confused: :rolleyes: :mad:.
  19. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller #1 Dick Button Fan

    True. I was just thinking about ABC dreaming up new gimmicks to which they could attach a sponsor's name AND making darn sure not to simply call it "the stro-mo" without "presented by Chevy" tacked on....:lol:
  20. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    "This Campbell's Soup 'Standing-by-the-Boards' moment is brought to you by...:lol:
  21. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

  22. geena

    geena New Member

    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... ;-)
  23. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    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.
  24. all_empty

    all_empty Well-Known Member

    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.
  25. ItalianFan

    ItalianFan Active Member

    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!
  26. AJ Skatefan

    AJ Skatefan Well-Known Member

    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.
  27. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

    The first time I heard this, I wrote to ABC/ESPN telling them that Mao Asada should NOT sound like a rollerblading elephant.

    It was dubbed “vomit-cam” here. :lol:

    How artsy-fartsy! :rolleyes:

    You and me both. Fred and Hermes Pan had it right.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  28. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

  29. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    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.