Thursday, March 24, 2011
TV Police: Sprint Cup Series From Bristol On FOX (Day Four)
Sheriff Buford T. Justice is on the case. Some further investigation seems to be needed judging from the comments, tweets and emails already arriving.
The first conflict arose when the Bristol Motor Speedway again had hyped-up driver introductions with each driver picking their own theme song and making a brief statement over the PA system. SPEED helped the problem along by ending RaceDay with reporters talking about these introductions as they were about to happen.
Then Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond appeared on the FOX pre-race show without being able to address the topic. Instead, fans got upset because what had just been teased by SPEED was not followed-up by FOX. The pre-race show was a jumble of topics. The situation was exaggerated by the fact that FOX moved the outside pre-race set to the head of pit road.
Either the FOX program had been recorded earlier or somehow the entire speedway reacting to the chosen driver music and comments was magically muted. It made for a wild TV transition for those who had been watching RaceDay.
After several hours of SPEED and ESPN2, it's still a rough change to the act Chris Myers does on FOX. Like it or not, Myers has adopted a "goofy guy" approach and repeats it on every pre-race. It is a complete and total act.
FOX proudly uses its philosophy of shooting NASCAR races in a "hyper-tight" style. This is the style the network team has used all year and it appears that they will run it all the way through the FOX portion of the season.
At Bristol, there was no opportunity for TV viewers to have a perspective of the racing on the track. Rarely under green was the entire track or even half the track show on-camera. "Hyper-tight" shots and in-car cameras dominated the day.
At one point of the race, under green, FOX actually had split-screen views of two in-car cameras on drivers. There they were...driving. The philosophy of jumping from one tight shot to another and just identifying the cars on the screen is certainly an interesting one.
As we spoke about in the live blog post, the pit reporters and the Hollywood Hotel gang disappeared early on in the telecast. Green flag racing with super-tight shots of only two cars made field recaps and updates on big name drivers non-existent.
Fan attendance is not an issue for this blog, but FOX certainly took every precaution to not show the grandstands. We all know hotel prices, tough economic times and gas prices are affecting the sport. That is one reason TV coverage needs to be so focused on telling the stories of all the teams in the race.
Mike Joy is having a tough time because he must react to the pictures on the screen as the primary source of his commentary. Jumping from one two-car battle to the next just loses the flow of the race and makes him look out of the loop.
The big crash was with about 60 laps to go. FOX was on a tight shot and when the large crash began to unfold chose not to cut to a wideshot. Instead in-car camera angles caused TV viewers to miss virtually the entire incident. Literally, the commentary from the announcers did not match the pictures for a good ten seconds.
FOX immediately began to flood viewers with replays. This is the primary way that the network offers information on what has transpired on the racetrack. It is a direct result of the "hyper-tight" coverage philosophy.
After choosing to show only the winning car cross the finish line in the first few races, the FOX director was forced to cut back to one race among three cars in the field when Mike Joy called out for coverage. Those three were the only other cars shown finishing. This "single car finishing" appears to alwo be a part of the new FOX production philosphy.
There is no doubt that the technical folks are producing good pictures and sound. There is no doubt that Mike Joy and the pit reporters can offer solid and accurate information. There is also little doubt that this style of production will continue through the end of the FOX portion of the season.
We welcome your comments on the FOX production of the Sprint Cup Series race from the Bristol Motor Speedway. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.