Monday, February 2, 2009

Picture imperfect

I told you last week that I haven't watch a Super Bowl game since I bolted from the sports department in 1983.

OK, I have grabbed peeks at parts of some of the games, like last night's, when I tuned in too soon to see Springstein and caught the 100-yard interception return for a TD at the end of the half.

Anyway, it sounds like this game was a keeper, so I'm sorry I missed it, particularly because I won a hundred bucks in the office pool (which, as publisher, I feel obliged to turn into a pizza party in a few days).

But here's where I'm going (and I may have written about this subject before):

If you go to a sports event, when you're sitting in the stadium, what are you watching? The field, of course, not the crowd or the sky.

Same with a concert or play. You're in the audience. Do you look around at the others who are enjoying the show, or do you watch the stage? Obvious answer, no?

So why do TV directors insist on crowd shots, or scene-setters, or whatever else one of their cameras pick up, instead of the main event?

When Springsteen and Co. perform, you're watching The Boss, or The Big Man, or Steven or Max. That is, you're watching them unless they're performing at halftime of the Super Bowl, in which case you're not seeing much of the performance, because the MTV-like camera switches barely give you time to realize what you just saw.

When Howard Cosell was doing Monday Night Football, people were said to have lowered the volume on TV and listened to Jack Buck and Hank Stram on the radio.

In the case of Springstein at the Super Bowl, your best bet was to turn off the picture and simply listen to the music.
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