Thursday, July 9, 2015

Roll That Video Tape!

In the early 1960's a visionary television producer named Roone Arledge wanted to change how we watched sports television.
He had nine to ten cameras, some with zoom lenses to get up close to the action as possible. He brought in shotgun microphones to hear the game as we've never heard it before.
He assigned opinionated sportscasters to his telecasts to describe the game in great detail.
He wanted drama and action and he delivered. Perhaps one of his greatest innovations is what was supposed to have been a novelty, now generates controversy everyday during any sports cast, replay.
Replay was originally supposed to show a great play in slow motion to show the viewer at home the marvel of athletics.
Nowadays it's putting umpires, referees and other on field officials under a microscope for all the world to see. Now every coach and player can second guess an officials decision whenever they feel it's necessary.
It makes games longer. Longer than they need to be. But the TV networks don't care because while we at home are waiting for a decision from New York (funny how all replay decisions are made in NY) the networks can squeeze in a commercial or two. Or we can watch a boring shot of the officials huddled up as the suspense builds if a call is going to get over turned or not.
If the call stands, great for the officials, they made the right call. If the play turns out wrong, it makes the officials look bad. They don't like it I'm sure.
It ads up to controversy, which translates into ratings. Ratings translates into dollars.
I liked Mr. Arledge's original concept of replay. I don't like the present day use of it. Mr. Arledge's legacy will be replayed for all to see forever.

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