Monday, June 23, 2008

Two Reasons To Switch Off The TV And Get Outside

The Wimbledon Tennis thingy has started again.

Now, as you know, I'm a sportsfan. Not football (soccer) so much, but basically everything else. And I play tennis (not particularly well, but I have fun with it), so you'd think that I would be getting into Wimbledon.

But to be honest, I find it harder and harder to be interested. Two reasons:

1. The assumption in all media coverage of the event that the British public is interested above all other elements of the tournament in the progress of the British players.

In my case, this is completely wrong. If they're good, I'm interested, but no more than I was ever interested, entertained or even enthralled by the great players from around the world. There seems to be level of jingoism now accepted as a natural part of following the tournament. I don't like that.

2. The BBC coverage. I try to restrain myself from blabbering on and on with my views about public service broadcasting in the UK. (Mainly because I've known for a long time that almost everybody else in the country violently disagrees with me and I get a bit scared by their level of pro-BBC passion.) But be that as it may...

They cover the tennis from the wrong angle. It's that simple. Rallies are shown from a camera directly behind the centre of the court - at 6 o'clock, if you want to put a clock face on it.

That's basically because when tennis was first televised, that was the only place they could put the camera, then everybody got used to it and nobody (nobody at the BBC at least) ever thought of trying something different.

But it's far from the best angle to watch tennis. If you were actually there, the best seats would overlook one corner of the court and be slightly lower than the customary rally-camera is. You know - where the coaches watch the game from. Just above the player's head when he's receiving the serve. Sort of half past four on the clock.

Having the main TV camera angle there instead would reduce the crazy foreshortening effect on the court, enable you to get a better idea of the pace of the ball and the power it's been hit at, as well as allowing you to see slight deviations in the ball's trajectory if it swings, swerves, curls or spins.

Just because we've all 'got used to' the old angle, that's no reason for keeping it. They could keep the old angle as an interactive option for a year or two, then phase it out.

So I find watching Wimbledon pretty maddening.

(For what it's worth, there's a very similar problem with TV coverage of snooker, but that's a story for another day...)

1 comment:

someone you know said...

You are so right. They witter inanely and only McEnroe and Becker say something about the tennis so you can actually understand why someone is winning or losing. The British thing is embarrassing. I've noticed on the little I've watched so far this year that they are trying different angles for the replays and the highlights.