Jump to content

The strike zone and camera angles...


Recommended Posts

If this has been posted here before, I missed it.

There's an interesting article about how the offset camera angle in CF screws up our TV-watching perception of balls and strikes... complete with a couple video examples.


  • When they first started putting games on TV, they relied on a camera behind the plate, looking down on the field.
  • Somewhere in the '50's, a guy with NBC's "Game of the Week" had the idea of looking in from CF to approximate the view that an ump standing behind the P would see.
  • They had to offset the camera so that the P wouldn't be in the way of the camera shot. The offset is what screws things up.
  • They could have offset it to the side of the P, or they could have offset it up above the P.
  • They used the side-offset because it was easier/cheaper than building a platform to raise the camera way up in the air.
  • No matter what you do, if the P isn't blocking the shot, it's the wrong angle. The side-offset screws up perception the the pitch's horizontal movement and location. The raised-offset screws up perception of vertical movement and location. So, it's a matter of picking your poison.
  • Many think the less objectionable solution is the raised-offset, where you're looking at the plate over the P, rather than from the side of the P. This ain't perfect, but many think it's less-bad than the standard off-to-the-side solution.

Some broadcasts use the raised angle, but most use the side-offset angle.

  • In 2001, ESPN used the raised angle for Sunday night broadcasts, but quit doing it after a year because they couldn't find a way to do it in all stadiums without it being expensive.
  • The Cards starting using the raised angle in 2006 after a team coach showed them the difference it makes.
  • The Red Sox changed their angle to the raised-ofset last summer because owner John Henry said to.
  • The Twinkies experimented with it last summer, liked it, and will be doing it that way permanently when they move into their new ballpark.
  • The Mets and Rays use the side-offset for normal shots but a raised shot for "close" replays. (I presume this means slo-mo.)

Blyleven likes the raised angle a lot. (Maybe that's why they won't let him in the HOF ;-) The guy who directs the A's TV broadcasts doesn't. While there are problems with both angles, the article's author favors the raised-offset. After explaining the problems with both kinds of offset, he then rather dubiously equates the raised-offset with "reality".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, I've watched enough games at that angle that I automatically adjust for it in my head. Of course, it would be arrogant to think that I've perfected my adjustments but in general I have a pretty good idea of what's a strike and what's a ball based on years of watching.

I've often thought that I would be completely useless at evaluating pitches if I were to get a coaching job in a dugout. I have very little exposure and experience judging pitches from that angle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...