I’m not too familiar with the inner workings of the camera crews and system, but I noticed many times they tend to zoom in on stuff that no one really cares to see. This was particularly evident on the screens inside the pit area at the championship. Due to the separation between pits and field, often times, these screens are the only matches students will get to see other than their own (or even of their own). Additionally, many students hope to do scouting from these screens. I recall one particular instance that triggered me to produce this thread: I was watching one of the Newton matches, and a robot fell on its back, and then BAM, I was looking at the wheel of a dead robot nearly 7 feet tall on this screen, for over 10 seconds while intense scoring was happening all over the rack. It was zoomed in so far I could have seen a grain of sand on the wheel. In this match, one robot I was trying to watch was shown only once, for a period of less than 5 seconds. I think the choice of where the camera is pointed and how far it is zoomed in needs to be reevaluated. Personally, I’d enjoy seeing a stationary view of the whole field. I have no need to see the stiches in a bumper, or the chain that fell off. Anyone agree?

Well, from looking at the wide views, I don’t think there’s any way to really see anything intricate about the robots, which is what I’m usually looking for. I agree that there are too many shots that are too close to see action. I think the part that makes the videos the hardest to watch is that they switch cameras far too often for the big screen. I see a robot moving 5 feet, then they switch to the other side of the field. It makes the field seem disjointed, and I don’t know of anybody who looks at the field with such rapid changes in focus. Because the screen switches too often, I’m often more confused when watching webcasts than when I’m on the ground level or in the stands. Even after several rewatchings of a match, it’s very hard to tell what any particular robot is doing.

Exactly, FRC is not like Soccer that there is only one ball which is important. there are 6 active robots during the whole match.
I can’t see anything from the matches.
on soap archives compare arizona regional videos with other regionals. The az archives are filmed by one of the team member, it looks way better than the rest

would having a smaller picture in the top corner of the screen with the whole field showing be good? maybe 20% of the total screen?

The reason there are a lot of close up shots in the pit feed and webcast is because they are just taking the feed from the big screen People field side don’t need to see a wide angle of the playing field because they already can see it right in front of them. It may be possible to have a wide angle with close ups in the corner for the webcast and pit monitors but that requires a separate camera video feed and video mixer. hiring an extra video mixer per division will add up, believe me they get paid well.

would it help to have the big screen stationary and never change it just view the entire field and have each of the 4 corners a separate camera with close ups and zooming in and out?

I think this is a critical message that First needs to understand.

These videos are not just for people in the stands. They are webcast, broadcast, recorded to DVD’s, teams use them for scouting…

Please tell the camera crews to stop flipping their camera on its side, or rolling it over and over for 5 or 10 seconds at a time. These matches are only 2 minutes long, and missing 15 seconds of it is analogous to missing 8 minutes of a hockey game. Can you imagine the reaction of the fans if the NFL decided to spin their cameras in circles instead of showing the game?

You don’t have to have the whole field in view the whole time, but I’ve seen constant complaints regarding the amount of zooming in on robots, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. I know that my team, watching the webcast and trying to see what’s actually happening, gets very irritated when the camera folks start trying to make it “more interesting”.

On showing the DVD to several other folks to promote first, they’ve also commented on the fact that from the camera shots it’s very, very difficult to tell what’s going on because their view is so limited.

you’re right. if this were the NFL like first is supposed to be modeled after there would be companies competing to film and broadcast the matches with the highest clairty and best abilty to comprend the game. FootBall fans would be incredibly angry and would recive better. the Dolphins game does not do closeups of individual players durring play because the audiance is intrested in the ball.

I can’t express enough how right you guys are. The video footage is horrible.

The camera guys should back up, get more than one part of one robot in view, and stop switching the camera views so much.

The game is exciting. Don’t try to make it even more with the camera.

And don’t even get me started on the trend to spin the camera upside down… OMG… I actually scream “STOP IT” at my computer screen when it happens. It drives me crazy…


In order to satisfy both the field viewers and the webcast viewers, FIRST would probably have to double its investment in video hardware. They’d need the whole pipeline of camera->mixer->webcaster for both the wide-field camera destined for the webcast and the close-in/interesting stuff destined for the back of the field.

You guys have to remember though: at a regional, there are probably going to be 40 teams, and at least 10 people from each team sitting at the field, watching. How many webcast viewers are there (I don’t know, but I imagine it is less than 400)? How many people stand in front of the screens in front of the pit trying to see the match? Probably less than 10, continuously.

I think the best thing to do would be for one team to record the full field of each match with a high definition camcorder and distribute the videos afterwards via bittorrent. There are camcorders available within a team’s budget, like this Sony 1080p model that records to a hard drive for $1800CDN. For a less crazy price, here is another one that does 1440x1080 (not real 1080p, but still very good) for $1200. My boss has the $1800 one and says he loves it, perhaps I can borrow it for the waterloo regional next year.

We could always invest in 7 screens/cameras, one for each robot and one for the whole field :smiley: . Then scouting from matches becomes easier, if you are watching a specific team it is easy, and you can still see everything!

I think you’re underestimating the number of people who watch the webcasts, particularly on Saturdays. I watched at least half of one regional per weekend when I wasn’t competing. If there’s only one person per team who does the same, you’re looking at a couple thousand viewers, distributed across the one or two regionals that get webcast in a typical weekend. And that’s not counting the parents and team members who couldn’t make it to their regional, scouts, and people who teams have convinced to watch while trying to grow the community.

I have to disagree. I AM a webcast viewer at the events that I don’t attend, and I get very annoyed with the camera work. Scoring is the important part of the game. Let’s get the cameras focussed on that. If you want to focus on one side of the field, then do so, but single robot close-ups for more than a couple seconds (say as they score) do nothing but confuse.

Certainly, in a basketball or a footbal game there is only one ball to follow. That makes the camera guys job much easier. In this game there are 6 balls (each robot) and the camera folks have to try to keep all 6 in view for the game to make any sense!

How many of you have watched a webcast that they’ve “zoomed” in only to see at the end of the match that the entire other side of the rack is full, a robot is laying on it’s side, and one is in the home zone with jammed ramps. You’re left to wonder when the heck it all happened.

I wholeheartedly agree that something needs to be done about the way that the video is shot. I am one of those people who doesn’t get out of the pits until eliminations, which means I watch all of my team’s matches and any others I happen to find time for on the screen in the pits.

One memorable moment where I was disappointed was in one of our last matches of the day. They showed us beginning to attempt to climb up the ramp, but then suddenly switched to the other side to show the robots over on the other side of the field where nothing really was going on. They did not even switch back to the other side of the field after the match to show whether our attempt was successful or not; we had to wait for the match scores to be displayed to find that information out.

The camera shots were extremely irritating because of the complex nature of the rack; there are chains and pipes and tubes all over the place and zooming in on something on the side of the rack opposite the camera makes it really hard to figure out what is going on.

I think that if they could have one camera dedicated for the feeds to the pits (and possibly the webcasts) that simply showed a wide angle of the field, allowing people to see what is going on, it would be much better than their current system.

He’s not underestimating. I’ve done the webcasting for about a dozen events now and the largest audience we’ve had was this year’s Midwest regional which topped out at about 200 viewers.

Looking at it from an experienced FIRST participant and scout’s point of view, then yes a constant zoomed out view of the entire field would be much better. I watch at regionals on weeks that our team is not competing on the webcasts and close ups of things that I don’t care about are annoying for me.

HOWEVER, from the point of view of someone who has never been involved in FIRST and this is most likely their first time seeing robots in action then the views they use now are perfect. It would get EXTREMELY boring to watch grainy dots of robots from a stationary camera view for an entire match if your not already familiar with the game. It is also much better this way from a media standpoint, it makes for much better TV reports and video clips later. One of our local TV stations covered our progress at the Buckeye regional entirely off of interviews we did before we left and a satelite feed from FIRST of the action on the filed (what was shown on the screen).

It would be like watching NASCAR when the entire track is shown constantly. Yes when they zoom in on specific cars the people who are fans of the cars not shown get a little irked and I’m sure that the audience will miss someone passing someone somewhere on the track, but it is much more intense to see close ups of two cars toward the front going back and forth for position.

This is why I think they should have a separate camera for the pits and one for the field. Like you said, the close ups make for some good highlight clips for television stations and promo videos. However, why should the people in the pits be kept from actually knowing what is going on out on the field?

If there was a dedicated camera for the pit feeds in addition to the current cameras, I think everyone would be happy.

I have heard slightly higher numbers from other regionals, but I agree that the number watching live probably isn’t in the thousands.

However, the statistics exist:

  • SOAP pushed out over a terabyte
    of data last month. - The Blue Alliance has had almost 3500 unique visitors
    this month who have requested a total of over 35,000 matches. - The Blue Alliance’s Championship Division Breakdown was viewed over 6,000 times

Video in FIRST is a major force.

I think these people are the same ones that shoot the concerts on PBS, or at least went to the same school to learn it. Zoom in on a guitar player’s fingers, or jump back and forth between two closeups in time with the music beat, but never stay long enough to watch technique. Enough already! Show me the whole game, or maybe spllt-screen to the two ends. I’m not going to understand what’s going on with the jumping about.

And another thing: what’s with the 5 second shot of the final score? What’s the hurry? Ya gotta date or something? It takes me that long to realize you finally posted the score, and the MC is long gone with the ref’s explaination of the penalties, so why was red penalized?

Okay, one more. I only stayed in the Dome to watch our robot and a couple of games either side, so I can’t complain too much (unlike our poor scouts), but show different “commercials” between games. They’re acting like a 3rd rate tv station that has only one sponsor all day. There were 380 teams there, and even if they show 1/10th of the videos submitted by teams between games, that would be better rotation and more entertaining than seeing that slick video of a guy talking (sorry, I tuned it out, probably for the better, so I can’t tell you what the sponsor was). At least we’d see all the submitted videos.

I’m not saying to back way up and set up a camera for the whole, or half a field. But, at least let me see the whole robot and any robots that are pushing it or something…