Friday, June 17, 2011

Wasted Talent, Son

For the last three nights, we got to see this:

So zoomed out, so head on, so high. I think people just overthink this stuff. I used red to show just how little of the screen is being taken up by what the viewer is watching. And the yellow dotted lines show just how much wasted space there is on the sides, and on top. I know you have to leave space on the sides for non-widescreen sets. But I don't get why, when forced to have your camera up high and right behind the pitcher, they don't zoom in a little. A lot! Can't they get it so the top of the bat is at the top of the screen and the pitcher's feet are at the bottom? Look how tiny that batter is! I have a big, hi-def TV that I'm sitting ten feet away from and I feel like I'm watching the batter take practice cuts in his apartment three blocks away through a telescope.

This is all because "people" (?) want to be directly behind the pitcher. Which necessitates the camera being higher (since you can't have the pitcher blocking the entire plate area). You've heard me complain about it at Fenway, too. What kills me is they still use the old camera well (in both The Trop and Fenway), but not for the pitches, just for other things. Last night they showed some zoomed shots of the batter from center field, in the old off-center, low camera position, and it was beautiful. I'm sitting there going, Yes, use THIS cam, just zoom it out a little to show the pitcher, and show us this shot for pitches. Yes, it's a few feet off from being directly in line with the plate, but A. we're all used to that and B. it makes for much better viewing. And in a widescreen world, it makes even more sense to use the width of the screen: pitcher on left, nice and big, batter just to the right, also nice and big. This is what we should be seeing:

Watch highlights from the 80s and 90s and that's what you see. In fact, visitors' cameras at Fenway still use the old well for their every-pitch view. (As do national networks which is the only time we in the Sox' viewing area get to see Fenway games from the "classic" angle.) For some reason I always think of Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter as a great example:

See how much of the screen is taken up by batter/catcher/pitcher, unlike the current Trop's 15%? I'd move that cam a little to the right so the pitcher doesn't block lefties, but other than that, it's perfect, you're down low, and able to zoom in. And you still get a feel like you're behind the pitcher and can tell balls and strikes.

There's also the ridiculous score box they have to consider. Just go back to flashing the count and outs every once in a while. We're following the game, we know the situation.

Anyway, here's a final comparison. Two shots of the same game from the last homestand. First you've got NESN's high, straight-on, zoomed-out crappy robot cam:

Followed by the Oakland feed, from the awesome, classic camera well:

So much better, to me anyway. I'd even zoom closer on this one, but even like this, it's so much better than blimp cam.

Unrelated, I shot this video of my TV screen during the game last night. Why is that boy doing a Hitler salute?

I've never been able to agree with you on this. The straight-on view makes the balls and strikes clearer, and makes the game look larger to me. My two cents, for sure, but I'm always disappointed when we're away or national and can't get that view.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States