April 23, 2007

Adventures in broadcasting

It isn't enough that we have to put up with Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver in these nationally broadcast games, now we've got to deal with bizarre technical problems. One of the irritating parts of these games in the first place is those green-screen ads behind home plate that hover artificially over the background and bleed into the uniforms of surrounding players. In the spectrum of life's annoyances these things come in somewhere in between used straw wrappers and the slightly reduced stickiness of tape that required additional effort to tear. Some weird phenomenon in the later innings of yesterday's game was more interesting than irritating though. Ordinarily, the ad takes up only its designated rectangular area, which is a distinctly lighter shade of green than the wall. But some glitch caused the camera to view all of the backstop as it's target area, and while it showed a black SportsCenter ad, the entire wall behind home was dark black. It isn't so easy to see in the picture, but I assure you, when they contrasted clips from before they went to these black ads it changed drastically. It wasn't lighting or anything like that, it ought to the same color as the dark grass. I have never seen this happen before, the only mistakes I've ever seen with these devices are when someone happens to be wearing exactly the same color, but that is clearly not the case here. Somehow the "color sensitivity" got reduced really far without affecting anything other than the backstop. I also guess that the frame of reference for the banner has nothing to do with borders and relies on something totally different, probably some type of software that can tell the orientation of camera. Of course, with the way the Sox were hitting last night, they could have avoided all this trouble by simply pointing the stupid thing at Lansdowne St. and going out for a pizza.