It’s real simple… some people sometimes don’t want a camera shoved in their face. The sideline cameramen can often be very invasive, and then you mix that with high testosterone football players, and you’re going to get at least the odd negative reaction.
It’s a very fine line, having done it early in my career. It isn’t about a football game, you’re telling a story. If you’re not telling a story, then if the game becomes 28-3 nobody is going to continue watching. You could have a camera on the other side of the field get a wide shot of the incident but it doesn’t convey the same emotion as the closeup and also people who aren’t in the know don’t realize the power of the wild sound audio. It makes a big difference in your perception.
When I was in school, we had a book called Sight Sound, Motion by Herbert Zettl, TV guru. We used to call it Sight, Sound and Sleep because no one read it, it was too psychologically analytical (if that is even the correct phrase). But as you got a few years into your career you started to figure those things out organically and came to wish that you had actually read the book and had that awareness earlier.
Even people who aren’t educated in the business can perceive things. I can remember as a kid seeing chroma keys of the commentators with the crowd behind them. I knew they weren’t there because something seemed a little off, the proportions weren’t quite right. it’s the same for the Bear Woods thing, you have to be there, not on the other side of the field. Sorry for the long explanation.
I was never a fan of Chris Jones, but in his defence, the TSN cameras and sound dishes can get in the way from time to time. I worked sidelines at CFL games (sticks/DB) for ten years and more than once tripped over the sound guys when they were on the field…and shouldn’t have been. I doubt the extra foot makes any difference to what they pickup but my bet is their producers have no problem with them getting in the way…and the sound guys would rather take the wrath of a player or coach than their producers…
Seems like it’s an art rather than a science. If you never get close, you have no story and no hook. If you get close for too long, the coaches object. OTOH, even a coach or player saying “Get that effing camera out of my face!” makes for good discussion. They might not like it, but it’s better than the sound of crickets.
Cameras have features like zoom and such. There is no reason to be in anyone’s personal space. And I’m sure these cameramen are obligated to stay out of the way. But often when focused on someone, they sometimes lose sight of this.
I remember a Calgary @ Hamilton game around 2007 or 2008, where the sideline camera guy showed the hand signals George Cortez was using to send in plays. He was none too pleased, and he said to the camera guy “don’t you dare film that… I’ll cut the damn cord”. The camera guy immediately realized his mistake, and stopped filming George before he was done speaking the above words I quoted.
I think it comes down to the sideline camera people being the lesser experienced ones, and they often drop the ball by doing things they shouldn’t.
If I was a member of a team’s sideline I can guarantee I would be vocal as well about an invasive camera.
Some of you guys are missing the point. The minute they charge admission to get in and then transmit over the air, it ceases to be sport, it becomes entertainment. And entertainment is manipulated to get a response, and getting a response leads to more interest…you see where I’m goin’?
And yes that foot makes a difference. Go to youtube and watch videos posted by amateurs using only the camera mic and not a mic pinned to the subject. That camera may be only four feet away but the sound is hollow or tinny and you can detect it is not right, and that is indoors.
Obviously you cannot pin a mic to a football player on the sideline so you get as close as you can get using your camera mic. The farther away you are means the audio guy has to ride the audio levels which also raises the sound of the wind and the crowd. That little foam thing on the mic (windsock) is to help mitigate wind. I’ll give another reason why you have to be close below.
You cannot use a zoom effectively without a tripod and sideline cameras do not cover the sidelines with a pod, they have to be by their very nature mobile. When a camera is handheld you are on a very wide lens to minimize movement and shaking and that means to get a closeup you have to be close. You cannot be 10 feet away (so you’re not in anybody’s face) and zoom in to a tight because that becomes a narrow lens and is unacceptedly shaky when handheld. In an emergency, sure if you were twenty feet away and somebody punched the referee and you had to act fast, otherwise you get into the action.
TV 101, the difference between a dolly and zoom. Unfortunately this guy doesn’t hold the camera on the zoom closeup long enough to show how unaccepted shaky it is.
[i]That’s right, the two are not the same! A Zoom shot requires an adjustment in lens focal length while a Dolly requires the actual physical movement of a camera. What does that mean? You need not move a camera forward nor backward in order to pull off a Zoom; it’s, in essence, a magnification of an image.
A Dolly, however, is more human-like, the act of moving closer (or further away) to an object, with everything to your left and right side taking on greater weight as a result. “Dollying changes the spatial relation to the surroundings of the subject,” the video explains with examples, “while Zooming does not.” [/i]
It’s nothing about experience, those crews are experienced and even if they were subcontracted, the best guys are going to be assigned to the most difficult tasks.
These guys (the players) know full well that their livelihood depends on those cameras and if they don’t, they are naive and stupid. People don’t seem to have a problem during the TD celebrations.