Nice throw, better camera work

Nice throw by Betts. But, I bring it up for the camera work instead. Look at how the camera person is zoomed in on Betts as he scrambles to get to the ball and make the transition to throw. Then immediately zooms out to the perfect vantage, anticipating the arc and trajectory of the flight of the ball then slowly zooms back in on the catcher while keeping the flight of the ball in picture culminating at the trajectory of ball, runner and catcher at as close a zoom as the OF camera can. All in like 2 seconds. We live in an incredible age to watch games and the media staff that create this environment for us are amazingly talented, understanding the game and their craft so well.

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That is pretty amazing. The sad thing is that I would have taken it for granted if you hadn’t pointed out the actual difficulty of what I was watching.

Having done some camera work myself (at a much, much lower level) I can attest to how good these guys are (read: how much better they are than me). Mostly in baseball and football due to the field area they have to cover sometimes, and especially the camera guys behind an end zone capturing a lot of action coming right toward them. Broadcast camera tripods and pedestals typically have a zoom control on one hand and a focus control (yes, manual focus) on the other. Their ability to react to the game instantly and (usually) perfectly execute pan, tilt, zoom, and focus transparently and in realtime is really impressive. Same goes for the engineer in the truck controlling the iris, the technical director pushing all the buttons, and the director calling the shots. They are all really, really good at their jobs and make it look effortless.

Just as an exercise, slow down a routine grounder-to-third-throw-to-first sometime. You’ll see the same anticipation of the throw, and the camera beats the ball to first so you can see the ball reach the glove, the runner reach the base, and the umpire make the call.

One thing I tell my A/V volunteers during training is that if someone is thinking about you, you’re probably doing something wrong. If you do your job right then no one knows you exist. Sports broadcasts are the prime example I use because they are top notch productions.

The guys who really amaze me are the golf guys. How the hell do they follow that ball?