BILL COTTON/REFORM – BILL GETS INTO THE BELLY OF THE TV CRICKET BEAST
When you in the Jumbie stadium the best view you get of the match is pon the TV set in the Press Box. Bill thought he should go to source and see them TV folk in operation on the ground floor of the Media Centre.
Fascinating and very impressive. Very slick. Like synchronised swimming it looks easy on the surface; below it is a massive team effort.
The director has a choice of up to thirty sources at any one time to determine what you see. Fifteen plus cameras placed around the ground to get just the right shots to catch all the wickets, run outs and more.
The cameramen do not need directing—they are always looking for shots of the action and away from the action. Pretty girls feature a lot! The director and his vision mixer have a wide choice of shots, especially in the slow times when they need to visually ‘fill’.
But that is not all. All the cameras are recorded on six digital recorders by a small team. Any piece of action is instantly available for replay from machines labelled blue, green, yellow, red, purple and black.
The instant replay and super slow motions both make modern sports broadcasting different from what went before. No decision can go unquestioned. Some that prove to be wrong put pressure on the umpires who have to make their decision in a thrice.
But the telly and the umpires off the field also get access to Hawkeye, a byproduct of the rocket industry, which has revolutionised leg before decisions in particular. Speed is speed, trajectory is trajectory, science is science and out is, well, out.
Hawkeye plus the other state of the art graphics gizmos make analysis easy, TV cricket commentary sparser and more much informed as a result. The famous voices get to see the output but also they catch the live action from their eyrie at the top of the media centre.
In the control gallery where the director and his team are, there is no daylight, no sight of the match. All by design.
It takes a team of forty and equipment shipped in from the UK to bring those pictures to your living room. Forty people all working with great concentration and in sync (like that swimming) for seven hours of play every day. It is no mean feat. Bill was mightily impressed and that don’t happen too often…enjoy the cricket.
Think of them legs below the surface paddling away.