Thursday, April 15, 2010

Away From The Play

The camera operators for our home shows at Busch Stadium all have the same goal.
The number one priority is to show something in the ballpark that the viewers at home will see and the fans in the stands will not see.
It truly is rewarding when we capture a moment in the ballpark during the game that ONLY the viewers at home witness.
This is really not as difficult as it may seem.
I think it is safe to say that during game action most if not all eyes in the ballpark are FOLLOWING THE BALL!
Therefore, our Busch Stadium camera operators are trained to find shots away from the ball. The camera located at high home (camera 2) is really the only camera operator whose sole responsibility is to follow the ball.
This does not mean that this operator is immune to our number one goal.
When the ball is not in play, our camera 2 operator has seen quirks in the defensive alignment, managers and players acting up in the dugout, and umpires staring at players or coaches.
ISOs (Isolated shots) of the dugout have captured moments only witnessed by the viewer.
If there is a play at the plate, ISOing the defensive player who threw the ball to the catcher is another effective example of capturing a shot away from the ball.
One of my favorite shots "away from the ball" occurred during the 1998 season and involved Mark McGwire. We expected McGwire to hit a homerun during every at-bat. One of our favorite ISOs was of the left fielder. I put the high 1st base camera (camera 3) on the left fielder and told the operator to frame the left fielder head-to-toe and do not move. McGwire would hit a mammoth shot to left field and many times the replay of the left fielder was priceless. He did not move a muscle. An effective replay "away from the play".
Maybe the most opportune time to capture moments at the ballpark that only the viewer at home will witness is between innings.
Camera operators should never stop working from the time the show goes on the air until the telecast is signed off.
Some of the greatest replays our telecasts have ever had have occurred between innings.
During today's telecast, we captured a great moment that only our viewers at home were privy to.
Our left field corner camera (camera 1) was looking for something away from the play and he captured Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa motioning the left fielder to move in shallow and cover the left field line. There was a lefthanded batter at the plate who could fly. The first pitch after we showed LaRussa in the dugout, the batter smacked the ball down the left field line for a single. However, if the leftfielder had not been repositioned by the manager, the basehit would have been a sure double.
This sequence was a great moment in the telecast.
A great moment "away from the play."

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