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Road race television coverage

bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
edited September 2013 in Pro race
What do you think of current TV coverage and what do you think could be done to improve it?

I'm not massively fussy but I can't see what's in it for people who aren't already into cycling. If I didn't already race or understand bunch dynamics (or have basic understanding of stuff like aerodynamics) I wouldn't have an effing clue what was going on, or why certain things were happening. Like why someone at the front of the bunch was 'doing all the work' when they are going exactly the same speed as everyone else in the peloton. Or why the riders in a breakaway do that funny 2-line 'rotating formation' thing and how they are 'sharing the work'. Etc etc and so on. On the other hand, lengthy explanations don't really make for exciting commentary.

I would like to see some handlebar-mounted camera footage for a start, as they do in motorcycle racing. If teams would allow it, show live power output from certain riders (you could get this on SRM's website a few years back) or at least some sort of graphical representation of intensity. Current speed and perhaps an arrow showing wind direction in relation to the riders.

Also think that for Tour Series they should give more info about riders, e.g. where they're from, so people can relate to them a bit more. When I first started taking an interest in cycling on TV I didn't have a clue who any of the riders were so nothing that happened really mattered to me; however if I knew that one of the riders in the break was from my town I'd be more likely to give a sh*t.

Your ideas?
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  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    All very do-able in theory, but in practice it's quite different. The sport is riven with factions and self-serving interests that harm progress and innovation, and ultimately wider understanding. Your example for the Tour Series: you'd need prior agreement with the teams/riders to turn up well before the racing or to pre-shoot everything. I was series producer for it this year and we tried to feature a rider/team bike each round but getting all the logistics in place to align with everything else you're shooting is damn difficult. If there was more money thrown at it then all of this would be filmed well before race days.
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    We could have froome and horner's power rating in real time as they are climbing with flashbacks to their biological passport readings...
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    I think some time ago there were cameras mounted on bikes. The Vuelta had these images I remember.

    I think Italian TV could do more with scenic helicopter shots. It's always annoying to see the Tour of Lombardy blindly passing some cracking scenery and also the Giro in the Dolomites. The Tour seems to have a bit more thought on setting the scene.
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,777 Lives Here
    What's this obsession with seeing the power????
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 22,914
    Here's my ideas (mostly applicable to the Tour which has the money to do it):

    1. Graphics. Lots of graphics - particularly in the dull parts.
    Don't just show us the names of the riders in the break - show me what they look like, who they are, what they've done. Once in a while show me where the riders are on the profile - that way I can see when the climbs are coming up. Telemetry - speed, gradients, wind - let's see it. Who has been working on the front? Let's see the stats. Where are the key players in the bunch?

    2. Race radios. Don't ban them. But let's hear them. In-car footage too. It's been done before, it can be done again.

    3. Use archive footage. We're going up the climb to Mende? OK. Let's see what has happened there in the past. How did the winners win? How did the losers lose? Let's give these roads some context and character.

    4. Use split screens more. Don't be scared, people have widescreen TVs these days.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,777 Lives Here
    Agreed.
  • adr82adr82 Posts: 4,002
    RichN95 wrote:
    Here's my ideas (mostly applicable to the Tour which has the money to do it):

    1. Graphics. Lots of graphics - particularly in the dull parts.
    Don't just show us the names of the riders in the break - show me what they look like, who they are, what they've done. Once in a while show me where the riders are on the profile - that way I can see when the climbs are coming up. Telemetry - speed, gradients, wind - let's see it. Who has been working on the front? Let's see the stats. Where are the key players in the bunch?

    2. Race radios. Don't ban them. But let's hear them. In-car footage too. It's been done before, it can be done again.

    3. Use archive footage. We're going up the climb to Mende? OK. Let's see what has happened there in the past. How did the winners win? How did the losers lose? Let's give these roads some context and character.

    4. Use split screens more. Don't be scared, people have widescreen TVs these days.
    All good ideas. Maybe some of it is not so easy to do on TV, but there is absolutely no excuse for not having this kind of stuff available as a supplement to an internet stream, either as an overlay that you can toggle on/off or displayed alongside the video feed. It's a bit pathetic that for example Eurosport don't do something like this with their player, it'd actually make me feel it was worth the money it costs to view it.
  • The Americas Cup was actually decent viewing with all the overlays - a TT would benefitnfrom this sort of tech

    And make the commentators swap every 20/30 mins like the cricket
  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 3,933
    When ToB listed riders (eg in break), they showed name and their country. Team & kit colours would be far more useful.
    Commentators often fail to point this out to viewers too, if you don't know what team the rider is in (not uncommon in breakaways) difficult to know who's who.
  • Alan AAlan A Posts: 1,398
    GSVBagpuss wrote:
    The Americas Cup was actually decent viewing with all the overlays - a TT would benefitnfrom this sort of tech

    And make the commentators swap every 20/30 mins like the cricket


    This.


    I have no sailing knowledge, but the onscreen graphics showing speed, wind direction tidal flow etc made it very easy to understand . Plus loved hearing the radio chat between the crews.
  • Ok, so here's the question. If you could get all this fancy onscreen data and images for bike races but only through (for example) Sky Sports sub, would you be prepared to pay?
  • Ok, so here's the question. If you could get all this fancy onscreen data and images for bike races but only through (for example) Sky Sports sub, would you be prepared to pay?

    Most of its on Eurosport anyway, Sky can add a charge and I will be laughing with virgin media...
  • Ok, so here's the question. If you could get all this fancy onscreen data and images for bike races but only through (for example) Sky Sports sub, would you be prepared to pay?

    Most of its on Eurosport anyway, Sky can add a charge and I will be laughing with virgin media...


    ES arent going to change a thing. They just take over the host feeds, slap on a couple of commentators and broadcast the host feed. If there's going to be any investment in technology, data etc it will come from someone like Sky, with a premium sub - and they aint going to pass that on to plain old ES subscribers.
  • Agreed on the race radio, it's improved the F1 coverage since they forced the teams to unscramble it. It also means all the other teams can listen in, but so be it ;)
  • sherersherer Posts: 2,399
    Ok, so here's the question. If you could get all this fancy onscreen data and images for bike races but only through (for example) Sky Sports sub, would you be prepared to pay?

    Most of its on Eurosport anyway, Sky can add a charge and I will be laughing with virgin media...


    ES arent going to change a thing. They just take over the host feeds, slap on a couple of commentators and broadcast the host feed. If there's going to be any investment in technology, data etc it will come from someone like Sky, with a premium sub - and they aint going to pass that on to plain old ES subscribers.

    Sky take over a lot of host feeds too so I don't buy into this Sky are the be all and end of of sports broadcasting. It's down to the ASO and owners of the races to sort out getting better graphics and extra cameras on bikes. We could do with a universal graphics set that is used for all world tour races, the ASO ones work fine,not changing on a race by race basis.

    More details on what speeds the riders are doing would be great, you could have a mph \ kph logo everytime they show the time gaps so you can see the speed of each group or individual rider
  • afx237viafx237vi Posts: 12,630
    The America's Cup coverage was great, especially the wind direction overlays and the real-time speed graphics. But I expect that stuff is easier to do when all the action is taking place in a relatively small location with all the equipment staying in the same place for a whole week.

    Cycling, in my opinion, doesn't really need as many bells and whistles as sailing. Most people, even if they've never watched cycling in their life, understand the concept of a bike race without resorting to an overload of superfluous data. Whenever I've watched American races on the Tour Tracker web app, I've almost always turned all the info graphics off within about 5 minutes.

    The only graphics you need:

    1. KM to go and time gap between groups. On screen all the time. I'm looking at you Tour of Poland.
    2. Stage profile shown every 15-30 minutes.
    3. Riders in break, their names, teams, and position on GC. The last bit never gets shown for some reason, despite being important.

    Don't agree with the archive footage bit suggested by Rich. Eurosport did this a bit during the Tour and invariably something exciting happened as the commentator was waffling away about woollen jerseys and iron bikes or whatever. It gets in the way.
  • afx237viafx237vi Posts: 12,630
    Watching the U23 Worlds RR... only the UCI could devise an on screen graphic that counts the kilometres ridden instead of the kilometres to go.
  • afx237vi wrote:
    Watching the U23 Worlds RR... only the UCI could devise an on screen graphic that counts the kilometres ridden instead of the kilometres to go.

    Pat's revenge.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 22,914
    afx237vi wrote:

    The only graphics you need:

    1. KM to go and time gap between groups. On screen all the time. I'm looking at you Tour of Poland.
    2. Stage profile shown every 15-30 minutes.
    3. Riders in break, their names, teams, and position on GC. The last bit never gets shown for some reason, despite being important.

    Don't agree with the archive footage bit suggested by Rich. Eurosport did this a bit during the Tour and invariably something exciting happened as the commentator was waffling away about woollen jerseys and iron bikes or whatever. It gets in the way.
    To the second point - there's plenty of dead time in cycling - we generally know when it is. That is when I proposedto use it - not when action is likely. And it ties in with using split screens more.
    As to the graphics - I don't envision that they would be there all the time like the Tour Tracker, just for them to pop-up once in a while.
    In cycling, most of the time nothing much is happening - it's that time you need to fill.

    (Also shorter races and smaller teams - but that's not a TV issue)
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • The most likely change Sky or ITV4 would make would be to put in more frequent and longer ad breaks.
  • The Tour of Britain was one long ad break. When they weren't in commercials they were dropping sponsors names every 2 seconds. Apparently they can't just say "Gold Jersey" or "King of the Mountains" or "Sprint Classification", gets annoying after a very short while.
  • I like what Sky have done with names over players during the football. They had an excellent one the other week showing West Ham's flat back four.

    Would help with sprints when trying to find riders etc
    My Men 2020 - Mark Cavendish, Ben Swift, Fernando Gaviria, Alejandro Valverde, Edvald Boassen Hagen, Zdenek Stybar, Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas.
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    Again, just watched the Woman's Road Race, and the Italian TV not showing anything of the sites of Florence. The race could have been anywhere. You got a long race so there is a little time for the odd nice shot. I saw a lot of Flats, Railway lines and Industrial Parks.

    I am slightly envious as I have been to Verona when the Worlds was on. Getting there early in the week you can see the Junior,Under 23 and mens and womens races and TTs. Good way to spend a week off (Monay to Monday.)

    :)
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    RR world champs is terrible. Not showing time gap between break and peloton, and not showing kms to go - occasionally shows kilometers ridden FFS! Ridiculous!
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  • I gather the lack of timing is due to the organisers?

    The f*cking awful commentary though - well, that's just the BBC as usual.
  • As I understand it, race organisers award the contract for providing live images to a host broadcaster. I don't know whether the organisers aren't asking for information overlays or if the host broadcasters are failing to provide them.
  • The criticism of the BBC commentators is a bit unfair. After all if you were casually walking past the studio, got dragged in to stare at a screen with a poor picture and dodgy graphics, would you do any better?

    One of them even managed to sound a bit like Chris Boardman. It fell apart when he didn't sound as well informed as the original.
    'fool'
  • Cutting off at the end of the race was a disgrace by the BBC today, completely lost the emotion of what was a titanic tussle for the rainbow jersey. Leave it to Eurosport in the future.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    I told you, Carlton is a god...
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Cutting off at the end of the race was a disgrace by the BBC today, completely lost the emotion of what was a titanic tussle for the rainbow jersey. Leave it to Eurosport in the future.
    Too right. They did it with the women's race yesterday too. No post-race interviews, no podium ceremony. Fu**ing ridiculous!
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