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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

What’s your perspective?

There were two reasons why I enjoyed watching today’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. First off, as truly one of the most important races in the world, it was no surprise when the mid-summer classic drew the deepest cast of talent seen so far on the turf this year. The running of the Group 1 Ascot affair did not disappoint either, as two of the stars, Danedream and Nathaniel approached the wire in a heart-pounding, head-bob of a finish. Yes, it was a great race, but what made it even more of a pleasure to watch was the fantastic camera coverage given to us by British television.

 

Starting with the first shot, giving us a birds-eye view of inside the starting gate as the jockeys readied their mounts for the break of the huge race, it occurs to me how much better the camera work is in this race than what we are accustomed to in America. With the traveling camera staying just in front of the horses, we are afforded a constant and telling look at each horse furlong after furlong. It’s really easy to tell how your favorite is traveling from this perspective.

 

While this moving camera is paramount to the early race coverage, other views, including head-on, side-view, from behind, and even a ground level camera shot, only add to the overall experience of race watching. Then as the race nears the exciting conclusion, a more traditional view from the grandstand takes us home. But it is not just one view from the grandstand, like any well produced sporting event on television, it seems the English know how to pan in and pan out to better capture the unfolding story.

 

After watching it again, I wonder why we can’t do it this well here in the States. 

  

 

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Older Comments about What’s your perspective?...

Little known fact: Woodbine has two separte camera crews, one required by the government for race review by the stewards which is up on the roof with the photofinsh cameras, and a second in house camera group that can be mor artsy. The track has huge photo towers (separately for grass and for the poly)...It can get really scarey up there in the late fall with the wind blowing however.
Woodbine does an excellent job of that.
I was a photo patrol camera for years and TV should do a single thing: give the public the upper pan and lower pan split screen the entire way around for CONTINUITY. One cannot keep perspective otherwse. European courses, since the part we see is usually on the straigh do not have the luxury of a single perspective
Wow! We need more of that here.
I have been saying this for years (I wrote a paper on it in journalism school in 2003, hehe!), that the camera work on US horse races needs to be brought into the 21st century. The angles used overseas are wonderful & put you right in the race, increase the drama and add to the beauty of the sport. I believe if we had the cinematic broadcast of the race, combined with Trakus chicklets at the bottom to show where each horse in relation to each other, we would have a right fine visual product!
one of the things i noticed as a fan and as a artist, is that the light is different in europe too. the colors look brighter without all the glare from the sun. but i agree with you. our filming of races is rather perfunctory. not a bit artistic
My only problem with it is its hard to tell exactly where the horses are in relation to each other, other than that its eye candy
I most enjoy the ground level travel shot; camera is on a vehicle tracking the horses. I wonder at times if this would ever distract or disturb horses, but have not ever seen it happen.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.