It's about life - not "lifestyle"
Olympic Perspective
AS this is being written we are a few days into the television coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics, being held in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah.

Olympic Games are some of the most compelling spectator viewing imaginable, and this Games is no exception. Early on there have been several upsets, which have included the "last man" on a team in a couple of sports - there only to gain experience while heavily favored teammates are expected to medal - blowing away all comers. This is the essence of "the magic of sport", where anything can happen, where mental concentration can be just as valuable or more than tossing caution to the wind.

Back to earth, however, and we have the television covrage through which these amazing stories are brought to us. NBC is doing this in the U.S. this year, and I thought I'd write a few words on their coverage early in the Games in hopes they might fix some things. Some of them have a bearing on surfing media, as well.

With the recent advent of EXTREME sports and EXTREME everything, we are getting EXTREME coverage and photography. This permeates all the action sports magazines and tv shows. In the case of the Olympic coverage, it means incredibly close shots and pans of ski jumpers going down the ramps, taking off, and flying down the mountain - truly great photography.

The coverage lacks perspective, however, and I'll tell you why. With the emphasis on tight photography we may be able to see every wrinkle in a ski jumper suit, but we seldom get a sense of where the skier lands.The announcers may be having verbal cows, so to speak, but one landing looks pretty much like another if the jumper keeps his feet. What is needed, and is frequently missing on the NBC coverage, are the side/long/setup/perspective shots. It would be nice to watch each landing from the same camera angle far enough off the skier to see how he actually did in comparason to previous jumpers.

That's my one gripe - I won't mention figure skating at all- but let me finish with something positive. During the coverage of the Men's Downhill runs NBC came out with something which was seriously mind-boggling. Perhaps it has been around and I've just missed it. They snuck in very quietly a one screen comparasion graphic which inserted the ski run of one rider into the ride of another to give incredibly perfect perspective of the differences between the respective rider's runs. This was just short of magic and if it's something new then whoever is responsible for creation of this capability ought to get an Emmy. It is worth  looking at an event just to see this even if you aren't interestd in the Olympics.
View From The Beach
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