Show us the damn dead people!

Academy Awards viewers get a little taste of the kind of coverage sports fans loathe.

Topics:

Welcome, movie fans, to the world of television sports fandom.

I’ve been reading the letters section of Heather Havrilesky’s Oscars recap and it seems the commenters are up in arms about the hyperactive camera work during Sunday night’s tribute to filmmakers who died in 2008.

In case you got tired of watching previous winners toss verbal air-kisses at the nominees in the major acting categories and tuned out, the usual series of clips and still photos of the departed flashed in sequence on a giant screen onstage, but rather than showing that montage to us great unwashed, the Oscars producers treated us to a swooping, diving camera zooming in and out on the actual onstage screen.

You Might Also Like

On a TV screen smaller than the side of a jumbo jet, it was impossible to read the captions and see who was what. We all recognize Paul Newman, but who was that cinematographer?

Movie fans, this is known around here as “Show us the game!” Also known as “Point the camera at the ball!”

We’ve been shouting it for years at sports broadcasters who give us arty shots of ballgames, ground-level shots from which you can’t tell who’s doing what to whom or where, long shots from the rafters that really put you, the viewer, right there! At the game! In the crowd! In the worst seat in the house! From which you can sort of see that some ant-like figures are running around willy-nilly in the neighborhood of the horizon line.

If it’s any comfort, movie fans, you should know that while you hate this technique, the people in the TV business love it because it’s edgy, which is a magic word in the entertainment biz, and because it’s probably hard to do. That swooping trick shot of the giant screen, for all its uselessness, was quite the technical achievement.

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap, Dolly Parton once famously said. It takes a lot of skill to make television that bad.

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>