The Best View?

“There’s no better angle, for sure, than the one from behind.”

Chris ‘Geeter’ McGee, The Net Live podcast.

The angle ‘Geeter’ is referring to here is the best angle for watching a volleyball match.  As all volleyball ‘experts’ know, the best position from which to view a volleyball match is from behind the court.  When I go to a match, I will always head to the back of the court.  During training, I will always wander in that direction.  That is the view I, and ‘Geeter’, feel gives us the best view of what is really happening and therefore provides us with the greatest understanding.

However, this view is not complete.  It provides the whole width of the court, but does not show the subtleties of depth, especially watching on video.  It is essentially a two dimensional view of a three dimensional game.  It is the best of all possible two dimensional views, but still not complete.  From time to time it is very valuable for a coach to check out a different view to improve his understanding of the game. Despite these weaknesses, we all agree that it is the best view.

But is it really the best?  The market says no.  When actually buying tickets for the biggest events, the tickets at floor level, behind the court are the cheapest and slowest selling.  The most expensive, fastest selling tickets are those along the sidelines, closest to the middle, in the first level.  So while volleyball ‘experts’ agree that the best place to understand the game is in one place, volleyball ‘fans’ understand that the best place to enjoy volleyball is a completely different place.  The view from the side definitely gives a much better impression of the dynamism and athleticism of the game.

So when hear that the TV coverage of volleyball is bad because of the camera angles, specifically the lack of a camera behind the court, I am not so sure.  I personally miss the level of understanding that I might normally have, but maybe I am in the minority, and maybe TV producers shouldn’t cater to my needs anyway.

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5 thoughts on “The Best View?

  1. John Forman

    I was sitting in on an AVCA committee meeting at the last convention where the camera angle was a topic of discussion. Apparently Karch, in his broadcast analyst, role had conversations with the folks at ESPN on the subject, trying to push them toward an end line view, but as soon as they showed him what it looked like on camera he backed down.

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    1. markleb Post author

      Hahaha, they should tell that story on The Net Live! I will say from my experience that behind the court, you get a great view of the movement of the players, but you get almost nothing of the dynamism and athleticism of the game. From the side view you get a much, much better feeling for those things and the speed of the game. The game is much more entertaining from there. The best TV coverage, includes the behind the court view in the replays where it works.

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    1. markleb Post author

      The best coverages have up to 8 cameras, I think. But you can do a pretty good one with 3. The point is what is the standard camera angle. The current standard is above the court on the net line. From there you can easily pan to see the whole of the action at the net and the backcourt. The really good coverages, use that as standard then one of 3 or 4 others as the replay because the structure of volleyball is such that you can replay at least part of every rally.

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  2. Alfredo Cabero

    I tried some time ago to try to explain my point of view on this about the communications officer of the FIVB. My argument is similar to yours and also made ​​him such analogy with Tennis. It is a sport where there is a net and two players similar to volleyball so they move across the field trying to make the point passing over the net the ball. As a volleyball player, I also sit in a back corner to see the game, the TV signal only shows a very biased part. FIVB Unfortunately the answer was no to my comments, they insist to show the game from the midfield is the best choice!

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