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racing coverage improvement?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
As I watched some of the good and some of the crappy media coverage of the Olympics
this last Feb. I couldn't help but think that the current concept of making ski racing exciting
to the uninitiated viewer doesn't work very well. You or I know that the downhillers are literally
putting their life on the line at 60 to 95 mph depending on the course and area being viewed.
The problem is that it doesn't look like it, except for perhaps one area or good cam angle,and
even then it's not very visceral or exciting unless you're already able to appreciate what's going
on. I really don't see much of an improvement ahead with the current concept.

So blow this out of the water if this is a foolish or undoable idea. I think the world cup venues
should consider installing a track type system as seen in the "follow cam" used in the park style
event. You know, the overhead follow shot on a suspended cable that actually follows the rider
down the course? I truly believe that a real speed shot of this nature in a Downhill/SG would immediately blow
peoples minds and give them a REAL idea of what is happening. I know that it would be prohibatively
expensive and fraught with tech. difficulties, at first. But these venues would only have to do the construction
once and every time a WC event was aired there it would be an optional form of coverage, perhaps only
used for special events. Only specific sections would have to be cabled as opposed to the entire

Think of taking a full speed aeriel rip over any of the jumps or high G turns on the Hahnenkamm or Wengen or Birds
of Prey and being able to see the huge distances covered as well as the rate of speed, off-angle inclines and the
amazing pounding that occurs at such a high rate of speed, not to mention the severity of many of the pitches that you
just can't appreciate with a telephoto or ground based perspective. I think people would crap their pants and yell for more!
I realize that the U.S. is not a prime demographic for ski racing, but, Europe is absolutely gaga
over it and seemingly would embrace this like an octopus in heat. Hopefully it would soon be all
the rage here.

I don't know, maybe a near hovering helicopter shot would do as well, but you wouldn't get the feeling
of following the slope angle which would play so heavily in the follow cam angle. Has anyone tried
anything simiar? I hope it or something like it happens 'cause the NBC melodrama and 'heart-
warming personal vignettes' generally make me want to retch. I just wish those unenlightened
non-skiing people out there had a means of appreciating the intensity and amazing possibilities
this sport/life/living activity offers. I would guarantee more folks would seek out not only the sport,
but, instruction. What do many millions of Americans do far too much of? Boob tube baby. Hit them in that
open gaping hole to their subconcious. Until skiing becomes an interesting, accessible, and visually EXCITING
part of our current media, I don't think our sport will grow much. Certainly not like it could! Just a June pondering
that started in February. Skoal.


....i'm not addicted.....i'm..i'm not....ssn...AAAHH don't say it....snw..damn [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #2 of 7
It's a great idea. Last Saturday or Sunday afternoon I flipped on the tv. Suddenly there was this sense of driving a racecar going around a hairpin turn! It was the F1 Canadian Grand Prix and they had all these really cool cameras mounted on the racecars. It was riveting! I didn't move until the race ended, and let me tell you, the only sports I ever get excited about are figure skating & gymnastics. Such a cliche, no? Anyway, it was all because of the camera work (and the curvy track). Very cool.

[ June 13, 2002, 10:47 PM: Message edited by: WhosThatGirl ]
post #3 of 7
Yeah, WTG,
F1 is a good example, and from next year the coverage is going to improve greatly because Bernie is switching primary broadcaster, and is opening up the digital capabilities, so every car will have a camera on it, along with real-time technical info available to us viewers, so I could decide to see the race from Eddie's Jag, and watch how hard he is accelerating, etc, then when his engine blows, switch to Reubens, etc.
Let's take the thought to skiing, and maybe move on from follow-cams...
So, what would be the possibility of hemet cams? ski cams? Or, like in cricket, where there are stump cams, you could put cameras into the gates - watch the skier come charging towards you, and as the skier goes past the camer switches to a rear view of them (a bit like the ski jump cams).

Well, any TV companies, is it possibly?????

post #4 of 7
Maybe they could use a camera mounted to one of those mini helicopters (remote controlled) that they use for filming movies, and it could follow the skier down the hill. No infrastructure to set up. But since the skiers move so fast, they could use remote control planes. I don't think those helicopters could do 90mph, but I could be wrong, because they use them to shoot car chase scenes. Just need to watch out for the odd chair lift (OOOOhhh, that's gonna hurt!)
post #5 of 7
Move to Europe [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 7
At the olympic speed skating events, I saw in the background, around the permineter of the track, a white, dome-shaped camera speeding along with the skaters on a track all the way around the oval to give you a consistent side view of the competitors and in the turns when the skaters were were stationary in the shot and the inside of the turn was whooshing by, it made for exciting viewing.

Maybe a track like thise one, on each side, that follows the DH or SG course from top to bottom could be constructed and the cameras "driven" to either watch from in front, behind, or from the side would be a feasible way to get this sort of coverage. If the camera is mounted and swivels in its mount so it's shot is always horizontal with the horizon, as opposed to being oriented with the ski slope, it would show not only the rapid speed at which these athletes literally fly by on skis, but also the insanely steep angles that they descend.

BTW; I seem to remember a commercial that was aired during olympic coverage on NBC in which a skier wore a helmet camera and descended grizzly in full tuck, and it was, to say the least, riveting.
post #7 of 7
Yeah, the track cams are good, they are used in athletics as well. I think it would be interesting to see if they could set them up for the skiers. With track events, you know that the speed will be fairly constant (or at least, when it varies, e.g. on corners, it is in a known manner), but in DH, the speed and direction change are varied. But a good idea, anyway!

You mentioned the helmet cam. On the BBC, Graham Bell does a run down the course before the race, carrying a video camera, and describes the course as he skis down. While he doesn't travel at full race speed, or at the speeds he used to race at, it does give a better idea of the course.

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