Thursday, August 21, 2008

Must-See Tee-Vee .....

... last night at Casa Fire Ant, I suspect, was the finals of the women's beach volleyball at the 2008 Summer Olympics. I KNOW that was the case at our household.

Eric at
Fire Ant Gazette has expressed more than a little interest in this particular sport ... and has posted a number of times this week on what he has - and has not - appreciated about coverage of the Olympics. As is usually the case for Eric, those observations are usually dead-on.

I'd like to add a few of my own ...

Trucking Cameras - It's a technique as old as filmmaking itself, but it has reached new technological and artistic heights. A camera and photographer sitting in the back of a truck as it paces a runaway stagecoach, has given way to being mounted on top of a golf cart as it moves up-and-down a football field, which has given way to remote cameras (sans photographers) on motorized track cars. The image of runners approaching the finish line, from a smooth, eye-level, trucking shot is absolutely beautiful.

Multiple Broadcasters - Once upon a time, when the Olympics were broadcast on just a single station, air-time went to live broadcasts of competition in the "A List" sports ... with leftover time devoted to taped highlights of the rest (if that). The dramatic growth of cable networks has changed that, and we are presented with two - or three - options (NBC and its corporate kin) for what sports we want to watch ... or just discover.

CG Enhancements - We've seen this develop for years, now. Pioneered by ABC and ESPN, it has pretty much been embraced - and developed still further - by everyone, especially in sports broadcasting. I loved the graphic they developed of one of
Laura Wilkinson's platform dives, a flawless series of stop-action images of that dive, melded into one image. I also liked the addition of the world record bar to the swimming events, as competitiors not only raced each other but the world record for the respective event.


Eric Siegmund said...

Those are trucking cameras?! Shoot, I thought they were rabbits pacing the runners. ;-)

I can't help thinking that the "world record line" technology trickled down from NFL TV coverage where they superimposed the 1st down line on the screen. But the really cool thing about the swimming version is how they got that line to move in accordance to the progress of the world record. It'll make your head hurt trying to figure out how they do that.

And, yes, I was on the edge of the couch last night watching the American beach volleyball juggernaut roll. Given how the up-til-now dominating American women came up short in the other team sports (ie, softball and water polo), May & Walsh's achievement was a huge accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, fine. But how 'bout that beach volleyball team!?