Monday, October 30, 2006

 

The Unhappy Medium

A recent, puerile statement on the Sydney FC Unofficial forum to the effect that football experts don’t need to go to games, as they can clearly see what’s happening on TV, got me thinking about the relationship between TV and football.

And no, I’m not talking here about broadcast rights, or windfalls for Australian football from Fox. I mean how well the game of football adapts to the medium of television.

Funnily enough, despite its popularity therein, football must be one of the most unsuitable sports for this particular medium.

Other sports popular in Australia are far more TV-friendly. Cricket, with its generally narrow focus, suits TV particularly well. Field placement tragics may still feel that the subtle strategic changes adopted by captains throughout the day can only be appreciated at the ground, but they are surely in the minority.

Tennis might have been invented for television.

The two rugby codes are both more readily adapted to the demands of TV than football. League, with its predictable five-tackles-and-kick rhythm, leaves little room for the unexpected. Rugby union is a bit more of a challenge; the intricate backline movements beloved of rugby purists are difficult to capture faithfully in a box format.

Perhaps only AFL football shares our code's particular problems.

Movement “off” the ball is such a crucial facet of good team play, and it’s hard to get a true picture of this from TV. A midfielder might have been drawing defenders and creating new options for a full 90 minutes without being noticed particularly by the cameras.

Then there’s the question of tactics. Even commentators, with their eyes primarily on the ball, may miss an important tactical switch that, for whatever reason, the TV image is incapable of acknowledging. Likewise, the general strategies of compressing the pitch, playing a high or a deep line in defence, etc., are only properly discernible for the live viewer.

Managers – national team managers particularly – must obviously judge a great deal on TV footage these days. But to get a proper idea of a player, or a team, every manager worth his salt will still get to a game.

Not that I feel it was much of a loss for me to be (unavoidably) absent from yesterday's Sydney v. Perth encounter...

Comments:
i find the speed of the game feels different live - skills seem more poetic and impressive in the flesh, and all that off the ball stuff seems more pronounced because your not at the behest of the one camera angle.
 
I'm new to the game and still learning but i think that TV coverage of football is quite poor. Where cameras are placed and the angles used could be far better than what SBS and Fox sports use, but i understand they have limited resources. Even the world cup (i may be wrong but im pretty sure the SBS feed was the same as all other networks) I was really unimpressed by the camera work. Those who cover football should take a look at AFL as aussie rules is a very hard game to film however i think it's coverage is great.
 
Hmmm... I don't watch AFL as I just can't stand it. I do think that Australian coverage has improved. I remember watching matches a few years back that seemed to focus only on the ball. However, I do hate the 2nd half of matches in Kiwiland, as they interview someone after play has re-started, and smegging keep the camera on him for a while! A few seconds of time is more than enough and then he can talk while we watch the play!

One of the best aspects about going to matches is that you can see everything that goes on off the ball, which I find more crucial than where the ball is. Mind you, Ben Williams and co. must've been watching the Sydney/Perth game TV style, and focussing on just one thing. There was a foul that occurred in front of Benny at one point, but he missed it because he was looking down watching the ball! And the disallowed goal was declared offside because the assistant was only watching the players, and not keeping an eye on the ball.

I also want to know why there are cameras in the dressing room. I just don't think they belong there. I see it as private time for the coach and players to regroup and figure out how to take on the next half. I know Kosmina takes his troops somewhere, and fair enough too! I think it was the Perth dressing rooms at half time that panned to the left and then quickly came back to the right 'cause someone was starkers.

Sorry, I've rambled...
 
Vickery waffling about Law 12 on the BBC website, if you're interested mikey.
 
...Vickery waffling about Law 12 on the BBC website, if you're interested mikey....

:-)

Thanks. Is that the Up All Night thing?
 
Nope I meant the opinion article. Haven't heard him on radio, presume he'd be erudite, if not intelligent.
 
These days the top, cashed-up managers have access to amazing video footage of games that the rest of us don't get, as well as specialised computer software to help analyse players' performances in a game.

I assume the footage must come from cameras placed high up and which capture the whole field, presumably in high resolution. Maybe even some advanced transformations to produce a different perspective, i.e. from directly above.

Do you know anything about such stuff Mikey?
 
...These days the top, cashed-up managers have access to amazing video footage of games that the rest of us don't get, as well as specialised computer software to help analyse players' performances in a game.

I assume the footage must come from cameras placed high up and which capture the whole field, presumably in high resolution. Maybe even some advanced transformations to produce a different perspective, i.e. from directly above.

Do you know anything about such stuff Mikey?...

I don't, I must confess, but I'd imagine that sort of technology would not be available everywhere - you'd still need to rely on imperfect judgement a lot of the time IMO, particularly below the top professional level.
 
".... to produce a different perspective,........ i.e. from directly above."

You're not talking about Mourinho by any chance?

- TFO
 
AFL is simply rubbish on TV, it has to be seen at the game.

While I tend to agree about Football, however I would say that while it is better to see it live, most stadiums are not good enough for a great view of the game. I have been enjoying going to Sydney FC games with a mate who is a SCG Gold Member. Its better than TV, but TV is better than sitting most anywhere else at the SFS.
 
Hey man, 85% people on the sydney fc unofficial forum are part of the cove or thereabouts.
 
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