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Unread 05-03-2006, 11:37 PM
David Brinza's Avatar
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Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

The web-cast and television broadcasts of FIRST matches sometimes don't provide the best view of the action on the field. If ever you've tried to scout teams from these broadcasts, you know exactly what I mean.

The close-up shots of robots during the match might be visually pleasing, but they generally don't allow the viewers enough perspective to follow the flow of the game and performance of the robots. It's agreed that the view from high above isn't very good either - you cannot see the team numbers on the robots and the robots seem tiny on the field.

Perhaps views from above and behind the driver stations might provide a better perspective. Also, use of Picture-in-Picture technology could improve coverage of the matches. Another possibility is to use split-screen coverage of the field during the match and selected replays during field reset. This would require use of video recorders, a knowledgeable director and perhaps play-by-play commentators - just as you find in professional sports broadcasts. Students (high school and college) who wish to go into sports broadcasting, reporting, and/or videography could find FIRST competitions an excellent training ground. If some mentors with experience in this trade could work with the students, the broadcasts would be much improved compared to what we currently see.

P.S. I think the FIRST field announcers do a tremendous job, their commentary is generally right-on in terms of tracking the action and flow of the matches. One problem is that the video is often not "in-sync" with what the announcer is describing, so the viewers can feel as though they are visually missing the action.
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Unread 05-04-2006, 08:34 AM
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

The issue arises from the fact that the web cast you see is taken from the big screen view at the venues. The object there is to enhance the pleasure of those at the venue. It would cost a lot more $ if we did a web cast designed to be just that. You would need extra cameras (and crew) extra video switching equipment and another announcer to say what is happening on the screen not what is happening on the field.

I know that with the work I went through this year to set up the GTR web cast that it would not have happened if I had to get all of the above in place first. That being said, it would be good to have FIRST try it for 1 regional (say GTR) to find out if our events are TV ready.
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Unread 05-04-2006, 04:25 PM
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

Although i agree it would be nice, i think the first thing we need to do is get better QUALITY before special features. The video/sound quality comming out of the nasa webcast is horrible (although i do apreciate what they do, as it is better then nothing). We had a banquet for nationals, all sat in our auditorium and had it on a good quality projector w/ desktop computer, and sound wasnt always in sinc and video quality was just .. bad. I know its hard with the many many viewers to keep it high quality.. . but what about GOOGLE.. they have a plentora of bandwidth exp: google video.. . maybe we try to get google to supply the bandwidth next year?

-kevin
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Unread 05-04-2006, 04:58 PM
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

Well look at a FIRST and compare it to many different sports, particularly ones that get a lot of press coverage. Most sports, have 1 item that gets passed and moved around, making it easy and intresting to watch on TV. In FIRST everyone typically is scoring points and moving around in every which way at once, making it very hard to get good TV coverage of. The best solution? Have more cameras and a video booth to select the best feed, but unless theres a game thats very spectator friendly, and more often than not that kind of game will be less boring to watch and compete in (especially if your a rookie)

In my opinion, FIRST has it figured out, now if only they could tell us the game a little earlier, and then ship out the KOP a little later, so that way we plan out a bit more.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 12:16 AM
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_short1
Although i agree it would be nice, i think the first thing we need to do is get better QUALITY before special features. The video/sound quality comming out of the nasa webcast is horrible (although i do apreciate what they do, as it is better then nothing). We had a banquet for nationals, all sat in our auditorium and had it on a good quality projector w/ desktop computer, and sound wasnt always in sinc and video quality was just .. bad. I know its hard with the many many viewers to keep it high quality.. . but what about GOOGLE.. they have a plentora of bandwidth exp: google video.. . maybe we try to get google to supply the bandwidth next year?

-kevin
I would almost say that NASA has as much if not more bandwidth as GOOGLE. The Video quality isn't due to the connection, instead its more due to the computer/equipment which is picking up the video feed and converting it to digital files. They simply don't put large bit-rate due to the fact they don't have the bandwidth at the competition venue to transmit and most people's connections cant handle a constant high bit-rate. If you were to have gotten onto the fields, behind Einstein, you would see the satellite truck parked with the satellite dish which is doing the transmitting. You also have to realize that NASA's servers, which is where you are getting your feed from, aren't only running this web feed. They're also running thousands of other programs and storing terabytes of files! If GOOGLE were to do the web-casts I am sure they would do the same quality wise. There are dozens of threads about this subject. Higher quality is likely to happen but probably not until the INTERNET as a whole gets better, and the venues get a better upload connection.



-Mike
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Unread 05-14-2006, 08:49 AM
Mark Rozitis
 
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Brinza
The web-cast and television broadcasts of FIRST matches sometimes don't provide the best view of the action on the field. If ever you've tried to scout teams from these broadcasts, you know exactly what I mean.

The close-up shots of robots during the match might be visually pleasing, but they generally don't allow the viewers enough perspective to follow the flow of the game and performance of the robots. It's agreed that the view from high above isn't very good either - you cannot see the team numbers on the robots and the robots seem tiny on the field.

Perhaps views from above and behind the driver stations might provide a better perspective. Also, use of Picture-in-Picture technology could improve coverage of the matches. Another possibility is to use split-screen coverage of the field during the match and selected replays during field reset. This would require use of video recorders, a knowledgeable director and perhaps play-by-play commentators - just as you find in professional sports broadcasts. Students (high school and college) who wish to go into sports broadcasting, reporting, and/or videography could find FIRST competitions an excellent training ground. If some mentors with experience in this trade could work with the students, the broadcasts would be much improved compared to what we currently see.

P.S. I think the FIRST field announcers do a tremendous job, their commentary is generally right-on in terms of tracking the action and flow of the matches. One problem is that the video is often not "in-sync" with what the announcer is describing, so the viewers can feel as though they are visually missing the action.
When I was covering the GTR at Hershy centre I only saw one cameraguy that appeared to be shooting for FIRST and he had the same camera as me, (sony DSR-570 dvcam), it's almost like they need a camera in the pits as well...shooting live or live to tape, inteview clips with team members as they work of issues and oh maybe two more live cameras on the field

and idea would be to have record decks set up and record everything to tape for editing and FIRST promotional purposes later and also to make available the video to the various teams.

It can take quite a few resources though......

mark
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Unread 05-14-2006, 08:59 AM
Mark Rozitis
 
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W
The issue arises from the fact that the web cast you see is taken from the big screen view at the venues. The object there is to enhance the pleasure of those at the venue. It would cost a lot more $ if we did a web cast designed to be just that. You would need extra cameras (and crew) extra video switching equipment and another announcer to say what is happening on the screen not what is happening on the field.

I know that with the work I went through this year to set up the GTR web cast that it would not have happened if I had to get all of the above in place first. That being said, it would be good to have FIRST try it for 1 regional (say GTR) to find out if our events are TV ready.
For waterloo and GTR one idea might be to put together a TEAM to cover the event, you would have maybe 3-4 cameras, some video production students who can edit and quickly turn around incoming tape from the pits as well as the live feeds as well as the multi-camera live operation....it would almost be like a first team but a video production team, they would learn a bit about the design, building of the robot and game and other stuff and plan for the event coverage in the same way a team plans and prepares for competition....I think it can be done, with a crew who has the same atitude as the people in FIRST I don't see why not.

mark
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Unread 05-14-2006, 02:12 PM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
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Re: Better web/telecasts of FIRST competition matches

You have to remember that the web/telecasts are for a much bigger audience than just other teams. Sure, a wider view helps with scouting and strategy, but it is often not as entertaining. But there's also the people who are watching it at the venue, and all the parents/grandparents/friends/team members/etc who couldn't make it to the events and are watching the webcast and telecast who typically don't care about the strategy as much, just how their team fares.
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