Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NASCAR Images And Very Old Footage

Last week, I wrote a column about the ESPN2 program called Chasing Glory. It is a below the radar show on Wednesday afternoons that is produced by NASCAR's official TV production arm, called NASCAR Images.

This same company produces the Survival of the Fastest series for SPEED. Each of these shows is an NFL Films style mix of announcer voice-over, natural sound, music and sound bites from many NASCAR types.

The product is fun to watch, in the same way that it is fun to watch the old NFL Films programs on ESPN and the NFL Network. Unfortunately, I forgot how up to date Daly Planet readers are on the NASCAR TV scene.

Comments began to pour in that what I thought I was seeing on these two series was not exactly correct. Some readers were a little more blunt than that.

Apparently, NASCAR Images has been re-using old footage from months and even years ago and re-labeling it as current. In the TV world, this use of older footage is called re-purposing, and it is normally done with no problem. The older footage is used for reference or background purposes, and makes sense to the viewer.

On the Chasing Glory series, fans pointed out old footage that was labeled as new in the Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart episodes. Some of this was over a year old. That certainly was a surprise to me.

The poor old Survival of the Fastest series took it right on the chin from the fans. They pointed out the Denny Hamlin and JD Gibbs clips were from last year's program series called 7 Days. In this Survival of the Fastest episode, NASCAR Images had re-labeled the footage as being from Huntersville, NC four days before the race at Atlanta.

They also showed JJ Yeley at the beach supposedly four days before the race. Unfortunately, viewers had the same Yeley footage from the same beach from the previous year in another TV series called NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop.

Survival of the Fastest showed us Carl Edwards starting his record company because of his love of music. Viewers quickly pointed out that was footage from two years ago on a ill-fated program called NASCAR Nation.

Driver Martin Truex was shown on a fishing trip preparing for the upcoming race. The program said it was a way to relax before the big race. In fact, Truex had done that relaxing over a year ago, a fact that was not relayed to the viewers.

Chasing Glory airs once again Wednesday on ESPN2 at 5:30PM Eastern Time. There is no doubt that the rabid NASCAR fans will have those TiVo's and DVR's running. Survival of the Fastest airs each weekend on SPEED, with some occasional re-airs.

If fans have any additional opinions about NASCAR Images and their use of footage, this is the place to post your comments. This issue has not been a pleasant one to write about, and I think we will eventually find some explanations for these problems.

NASCAR Images does not have a Media Relations person, so perhaps we will hear from a company representative about this issue. Hopefully, there will not be any more problems for the remainder of the season.

To add your comment, simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion on The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

The shows from NASCAR Images have been very good--well-written, well-shot, well-produced, and even award-winning.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching them and felt as if they gave me a look at the drivers behind the scenes and a solid post-race wrapup.

Until this year. Now, the remaining season-long show, Survival of the Fastest, is sloppily-produced and based on difficult premise: focusing on one team before you know the outcome of its qualifying and raceday can easily lead to boring shows.

The use of file video is insulting to fans who've been watching all along, not to mention somewhat misleading, and I can't see it as anything but a cost-cutting measure.

What the heck's happened between the end of last season the the beginning of this one?

Anonymous said...

Great column - thanks for the update, especially for those of us who noticed this trend. Thanks for citing a nice summary of examples.

Survival of the Fastest moves around on the weekends as you noted, but since the chase, they moved it to premiere the new episode on Thursdays after The Chase is on (with a repeat later that evening). So the new Texas episode is on tomorrow.

One poster in the the previous column comments said if they're using so much 7 Days footage on these new shows, maybe they should just go back and start filming a new and original season of 7 Days (which was a SPEED program). I totally agree with that suggestion.

Tripp said...

Repurposing footage has its place.

When creating a DVD of a large sailing race, I had to repurpose footage of generic post race activities (parties, restaurants and bar scenes) from previous years events because I couldn't stay to shoot them. I have no problem with repurposing that sort of "b-roll" footage.

To mislead the viewers into thinking that old footage is current is just wrong. But no NASCAR driver is going to want a camera crew following them 24/7, especially on their day off, so NASCAR Images has to use what they have. To a degree, that's fine.

Where things start to go all pear shaped is portraying the footage as current when it actually isn't.

Perhaps NASCAR Images views this as "creative license".

Newracefan said...

I don't mind the use of old footage as long as it is labeled correctly or used with follow up. For example they used Jimmie Johnson fishing in Alaska from last year. Use it just don't lie, his taking a vacation last year helped him win the championship, so what is he doing to help his fight for the championship this year. PS: He actually went to Mexio this week and they could have referred to that plan for vacation.

Anonymous said...

Chasing Glory today was focused on Martin Truex Jr.

The first several minutes of the show, including interviews with Truex and his father, was taken almost directly from the 2006 NASCAR Images program "Driven to Win" on the Biography channel; the Martin Truex Jr. episode.

They came back from commercial and the narrator said something like "even though Truex is from a small town he knows how to make himself at home in the Big Apple". They showed him getting ready for an appearance on a TV show. I had to rack my brain to figure out where I'd seen this before -recently - and I'm rather sure this original footage was from one of the DEI episodes of Survival of the Fastest. That episode showed Martin doing PR in NYC before the Chase started. Kind of ironic that Chasing Glory would use new Survival of the Fastest footage.

Finally, they used the Bono/Truex fishing footage from 7 Days again. The narrator was talking about blown motors and said something like, "the motors may be blown at the engine shop but the bass boat motor works just fine, so Truex and his crew chief can get away."

BTW, the program completely forgot about Truex after 15 minutes. Then they concentrated on both Dale Jr and Chad Knaus (going all the way back to footage and interviews to Martinsville 2004, which I didn't understand). Then they focued on Dale Jr in the recent Atlanta race. When Truex wrecked in the Atlanta race, they went back to him for a minute, but the end focus was all Jr, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Chad.

If that sounds confusing, that's because it was. (Very.) Besides the issue of re-used footage, NASCAR Images needs to sit down and look at these episodes and say "what is the point of this show?" to help them in the future. If a show doesn't have a point, don't bother to go forward with it.

Anonymous said...

JD, I don't think there is a problem here. I have seen this done before on many shows. It would not be logical the shot new footage every time you need that one shot when you already have the shots you need in a video library.

John said...

It does seem that someone said "we need another NASCAR show and all we have to do is throw in some current race footage and use previous footage to fill it in".

While they didn't directly imply that the boat and New York footage was new,They didn't imply it wasn't either. There was no "on a visit to New York in August".

I guess the casual viewer would never notice. I wouldn't have had I not read this article prior to watching.

Anonymous said...

John @7:02 makes a good point in that (in my opinion) Chasing Glory is more likely to imply the footage is new, using it in scene transitions without spelling it out. Survival of The Fastest is more likely to label the footage as new, as with the '4 days before the race' labeling mentioned above. They like to use that a lot.

NASCAR Images could make things really easy on themselves by ceasing the "reimagining" of old concepts and just going back to those old concepts. By that I mean bring back a new season of Beyond the Wheel for Speed, and a new season of NASCAR Drivers:360/NASCAR Drivers NonStop (same show, different title) for ESPN2. Those are the tried and true programs that many people still talk about and would like to see again. Film new episodes of those seasons; Beyond the Wheel runs after every race week; Drivers 360 was usually eight episodes but could perhaps be expanded to 12-15 episodes.

Most importantly, they need to promote, promote, promote, these shows so the audience knows they're on. Promoting a new season of 360 premiering on the weekend of the Indy race would be perfect.

If I'm being greedy, I would say that next season would be the perfect time to bring back NBS 24/7 because you've got some interesting drivers at smaller shops: Brad Coleman (Brewco), Jason Leffler(Braun), Steven Wallace, Chase Austin (RWI), Marcos Ambrose (Wood Brothers). See if those shops would be willing to alternate filming during a season.

All those shows managed just fine without repurposing footage. Hopefully NASCAR Images can get back to that level.

Anonymous said...

Good idea to go back to the old shows (NASCAR Drivers 360, 7 Days, Beyond the Wheel) for new seasons. I don't think viewers could be tired of them yet, they all only were on TV for one or two seasons. For many recent fans they would probably be new shows to be introduced to (that doesn't mean NASCAR images should use old footage on those if they return.)

AnnOminious said...

This week's Chasing Glory episode was about chasing a storyline.

It started out focused on Martin Truex Jr. We got some new stuff, then we got Martin and Bono fishing again and then Martin not liking tv make-up again.

Then we got the Dale Earnhart Jr as Dale Earnhardt Sr's legacy story. Maybe the Earnhardt Nation like hearing that story over and over again, but it's now a broken record to me.

So I didn't watch the rest.

I've only seen the last 2 episodes and they have me scratching my head wondering why JD gave it so much praise after the first show.

Chasing Glory is just a hodge podge of footage (a lot of it old) strung together with an announcer reading a rehash of old scripts.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments,

The reason I first spoke about this show is because there was so little of this type of NASCAR product out there.

I had no idea that this much of the content of these shows was old footage. It was great when the readers spoke up.

NASCAR Images is a nice group, and I have dealt with them many times. As soon as we get some info from them on these issues, I will post it here and add it to the column.

Thanks again for the comments, keep them coming.

Sal said...

One of the problems with shows like this is that ESPN and Nascar seem to think that the audience os going to be largely composed of 'new fans' who wouldn't know that much of the video is 'repurposed' from previous shows. Unfortunately for them, I believe that the majoirty of the people who watch these 'in depth' shows are the hard core fans. We expect to see something new, and know when it isn't because we have watched most of the previous programming that originally used the footage. I'd guess they still don't understand their audience.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Good idea to go back to the old shows (NASCAR Drivers 360, 7 Days, Beyond the Wheel) for new seasons. I don't think viewers could be tired of them yet, they all only were on TV for one or two seasons. For many recent fans they would probably be new shows to be introduced to (that doesn't mean NASCAR images should use old footage on those if they return.)

November 7, 2007 8:34 PM

The fact that these shows were on for only 1-2 seasons (as mentioned in this quote) and yet fans can still recall scenes and situations from them demonstrates how vivid an impression the shows made on fans. It also demonstrates how much of a loyal audience there is to see this kind of NASCAR programming again.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems I see here is that true NASCAR fans will watch any show relating to NASCAR and the driver(s) they follow. When NASCAR Images is "re-purposing" video, we fans are going to know it. It is rather insulting to think otherwise.

Last week when you spoke about the Chasing Glory episode on Tony Stewart - you mentioned a video clip of Mark Martin talking to Jack Roush about Stewart’s cars. Now, one would think it should obvious that was file video as Mark Martin no longer drives for Roush and to insinuate otherwise would be patently stupid. I did not see the show, so I can't comment on how that clip was used.

However, in the Survival of the Fastest episode about DEI, they used a video clip of Mark Martin working out at his home. We were led to believe the video was from that week as it was labeled as such. Problem is, it was a clip from last year.

Again, almost all NASCAR fans catch these fundamental errors because we do actually watch NASCAR programming. We like to follow NASCAR and the drivers. We remember the old shows, video clips and whatnot.

I have to wonder if these “new” programs are geared toward the newer fans, who may not have seen these wonderful old shows. I also have to wonder why NASCAR Images cannot update their library of video a little more often.

Anonymous said...

I first cought this trend a couple months ago on "Suvival of the Fastest" when they followed the Wood brothers team for a couple weeks. They had footage of Bill Elliott and his son chase from thier home in Colorado. This footage was from at least a year ago from one of the other NASCAR images shows. Like others have said, I think it's dishonest to label a clip a certain time frame and use footage that is over a year old and has already been used before. I wouldn't have minded as much if it was footage that had hit the editting room floor and never been seen before, but to take clips that have already aired on national TV and use them over again is pretty cheesy.

Ally said...

Daly Planet Editor wrote...
'NASCAR Images does not have a Media Relations person, so perhaps we will hear from a company representative about this issue. Hopefully, there will not be any more problems for the remainder of the season.'

I appreciate you calling further attention to the repeated footage. Based on yesterday's Chasing Glory and tonight's Survival of the Fastest, I'm guessing NASCAR Images has decided they'll continue this practice for at least the rest of the season. Hopefully -if they want to keep their viewers - in the offseason they will reconsider.

A lot of posters have mentioned the repeated footage in yesterday's Chasing Glory. Tonight's SOTF was at Hendrick Motorsports covering the Texas race. After showing the caption 'Race Day, Fort Worth Texas', they went to two scenes in Jeff Gordon's hauler, with Jeff getting dressed and the team saying a prayer. Those scenes were from Jeff's 24x24 special/DVD that was on TNT in July. They mixed in new footage too (like the basketball player who was the grand marshal) so it WAS race day in Ft. Worth, just not all of it.

They also used old footage from the Casey Mears episode of NASCAR Drivers Nonstop, as did Chasing Glory a few weeks ago. This time they just labeled it 'Charlotte' and did not give it a time/day label.

So no changes in NASCAR Images approach that can be seen yet. But thanks again for following up on this issue!