Monday, August 18, 2008

Opinions on Canadian Nationals and the live finals feed

Instead of watching more Olympics, I tuned into the Women and Open finals at CUC in Calgary. The low-bandwidth feed was courtesy of our main Ultimate media provider UltiVillage.

The first game put Montreal's Storm against Ottawa's Stella. This was a turnover filled game where both teams had trouble going upwind and downwind, and the game seemed to move in runs of two. I was going for Storm since Ottawa has won Nationals in the past, but even with Storm's lead at half, Stella made a strong move in the second half to take the gold medal. Both teams had many chances to take the game.

Similar to the commentators perspective, I couldn't understand why Storm wasn't punting deep going downwind. More than once, they threw cross field swings that ended in turns close to the endzone.

The next game had the B.C. Nomads vs. Montreal's Mephisto. Many Furious players filled the ranks of Nomads, and that experience proved to be the difference. This was another game that was filled with turnovers due to the wind. The first half was tight, but Nomads pulled away at the end. Again, Montreal had chances to close the game, but couldn't convert on their chances.

I was thrilled to be able to catch the action live even though it was a small format that was useless during the uncommented Jr. Women Allstar game. Hopefully, these internet events will continue to happen with more frequency, and events like this weekends Chesepeake Open will be shown. It would be nice if UltiVillage released some info on the technology used, and maybe opened up their technology so other tournaments, which Rob can't attend, could also be filmed. I'm sure there's some sort of market here.

As for the commentating, it wasn't bad. It is the area that we need the most improvement in for this media format. I've had experience doing the same thing the year before in Toronto on an audio feed of CUC, and it isn't easy. The first thing that needs to be done is more preperation ahead of time. Unfortunately, people who play in the tournament make poor commentators. A little bit of time is needed to be spent research the teams playing and learning the names of players. The problem is, the video is very poor, and the viewer can't identify players. A simple player to player call (similar to radio commentating) would add significant quality to the stream. Also, simple errors such as "Stella is from Toronto and Ottawa" or "Shaggy is Mike" should be avoided.

Next, the colour commentating needs to be left for game stopages and the play call is meant for game action. The quality of these comments should feed a range of Ultimate knowledge levels. For this broadcast, there were too many simple comments on basic rules and Ultimate knowledge. This is fine for some, but the more knowledgable viewer needs a little more such as Alex Hughes interesting reasoning on the early foul call by Nomad's when they were close to the end zone. The Women's game lacked Ultimate knowledge since one of the commentators wouldn't get into coaching strategy. Where's the colour?

Just like the improvements in the Ultimate DVDs, I expect we'll improve in Ultimate live broadcasts. Maybe one solution is to feed the video and audio seperately so that multiple audio feeds will allow different people to try their hand at commentating.



Sport Management Steven said...

The commentators were an embarrassment. I watched the men's final online with several people new to ultimate and they commented on the following about the commentary:

Biased to certain teams (Nomads), Completley ignorant of players Unprepared, Lack of insight, and cutting one another off in mid sentence as play was on.

I agree with your points and I will be venting about this on my blog as well.