Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Speed Not Captured Well On TV

There's a lot to be said for being present at an F1 track to truly appreciate just how loud, imposing and above all FAST the cars move. The reason I mention this is that TV very rarely catches this sense of speed and as a result the true spectacle of F1 is not captured for us to enjoy. This might not seem like a big deal but if it could be captured well it would do so much to compensate for any boring races that come along because you simply engross yourself in the technology on show instead. It's often said that F1 is at the leading edge of technology so how come the audience doesn't care about it? It's because unless we can sense this technology in action all we care about instead is the racing spectacle alone and when this is sometimes not so great we say the sport is "boring". It is difficult to judge how fast a car is going on the television unless it produces a spark at high speed or hits some track debris. How many times have you watched an F1 car coming head on down the pit straight as it seems to sit perfectly still in the middle of the setting only for your eye lids to begin getting heavy. I feel it is a duty of the F1 taskmasters to use their technical skills to really shake us up when see the cars in action. But how? At the moment the best angles for capturing speed are either on board as the scenery goes by (especially narrow track or ones with trees nearby) or else overhead shots via helicopter which show just how much distance is being covered so very quickly. But these are typically punctuated by scenic long range shots where frankly its hard to decipher whats going on, especially at the start of a race when we have a head on shot of the grid meaning we can only see the two front row cars and then a whole load of obscure movement in the background. As always though there will be ample views of the 50x50 foot Marlboro poster to cover up half your screen! My thoughts turned to the recent Tour de France coverage and also athletics for the solution where they use a camera on rails running adjacent to the road/track at the same speed as the riders/athletes. This really captures the sense of acceleration and exhilaration experienced by those taking part. Of course having a crash helmet won't help motor sports in this regard but you get the idea! But imagine if you will having such a camera running the length of the pit straight racing along with the F1 cars. As you see the hive of activity flash by you would begin to realise that racing at 200mph is a lot faster than you thought. For example; if you've ever been karting people tend to say "they seem to be going so much slower" once they've had a go. And that's just my point we need to shine the spotlight on the expensive "go faster" part of motor sports which are so often hidden beneath the engine cover so that we can not only balk at the speeds achieved but also at the talent used to race them.

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