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Tag Archive for technology

Sky Sports 3D behind the scenes, voiceover stars, Soccer AM’s Steve and Jonty

I love a good behind the scenes video. Yes I pick up a lot of work making them (really wish I could have done this one) but watching them brings out the geek in me; I really want to know how things are done. So when I saw @cinescopophilia tweet this today I had to check it out…it’s a pretty in-depth overview of how Sky Sports put together a 3D sports OB:

A few points I noted in particular which may or may not be of interest…firstly it’s always music to my ears hearing the great Bruce Hammal on a voiceover. Now that certain people have…ahem…departed Isleworth, there’s certainly an argument to be had that he should be crowned King of Sky Sports for his long and distinguished service. I had already been a fan, having watched TransWorld Sport for years, so when we started using him for voiceovers on Soccer AM it was an honour. Robbie had the good fortune to be producing him on his sessions and I don’t think he ever got used to hearing that voice behind everyday conversation…so you’re thinking “THE TITLE DECIDER….TWO GIANTS GO HEAD TO HEAD…MANCHESTER UNITED VERSUS CHELSEA, LIVE, ON SKY SPORTS 1 AND HD 1″ and you’re getting “Ah, Robbie, feeling a little worse for wear this morning?” There’s a half decent sketch about living with a voiceover guy – this one the equally great Peter Dickson – here actually:

Sorry, I digress. My second point about the 3D video is that an accusation often thrown at technology is that it cuts jobs; 3D has done the opposite. In this case, Sky Sports now have two separate teams broadcasting two different feeds, and completely new roles have even had to be created; it’s someone’s job to calculate the perceived depth on any particular shot, for example. On a slight tangent, the video explains why the shots chosen on the 3D feed are often very different to those on the standard feed…

…which brings me onto my final point. Soccer Am viewers should notice another familiar voice, if not face, from the piece. If you didn’t, go back and listen to it again when they’re at the OB…

The match director wearing the specs is Steve Smith…of Steve and Jonty fame. We’re going back a long, long time, and I only joined the team towards the end of the Steve and Jonty run, but it has gone down as one of the most fondly remembered items. Top blokes who went on to become two of the most senior football producers and directors in Sky Sports. Anyway, if you fancy a dip in nostalgic waters…

The Badgers v Williams F1…I’d forgotten they used Colonel and Ginger as mascots because we weren’t good enough to play for them. Seem to remember having a decent day out though; had a random love note posted on my car (planted I’m sure by someone on the team), met Dean Whitehead who then was just a young pup making his name at the mighty Oxford United, and then, as always with Badgers matches, had a few drinks with the boys. I do seem to remember this one ending very abruptly when a few local lads turned up to cause trouble but that’s another story, mainly because I can’t remember what happened.

I think I started this talking about 3D technology and ended up talking about a ruck in Didcot but that’s my career for you.

Edit: It almost completely slipped my mind to mention Mr Lovejoy’s hair, more accurately Steve and Jonty’s description of it looking ‘like an onion’, and that penalty miss…think it marked the very start of the ‘Lovejoy’ penalty cry we would hear often over the next few years…

The Next Big Thing: Facebook Places

Another first in a series, this one’s called ‘The Next Big Thing’ because if you’re even vaguely into your digital media you’ll know how we’re constantly bombarded with new technology which we’re expected not only to embrace but also master.  I love it; part of the reason I’m doing this is because I’m excited by it all, and I’ve learned not to fear change, unlike some people I used to work with who will remain nameless.

Joe Sheephead Worsley fears change

I’m still not naming him.

Change is good.  And once you accept that you don’t have to master every new innovation and you don’t have to add every new app, it can be liberating.

So yeah, Facebook Places; last week’s Next Big Thing (I have been busy you know), or for those who don’t like change but who will remain nameless, ‘not another thing I have to get my head around; why can’t we just talk to people like we used to?’  The world’s tech bloggers have been hard at work debating the pros and cons of the social networking giant’s massive step onto the geolocation map since the launch a few days ago.  For my two penn’orth, I’m excited by it.  I’ve been reading that geolocation is the next big thing for a year or so and I love the idea of the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla, but until they pick up significant traction over here, they’re pretty limited in what they’re going to offer.  If none of my mates are telling me where they are (or maybe there’s a different reason for that), if brands aren’t bothering to offer check-in ‘specials’ or recommendations there’s nothing really ‘social’ about it.  I don’t particularly want to broadcast my location on Twitter for the sake of it because that’s dull for everyone else, but it would be a different matter if I had people in my network who might be interested.  I’m sure it’s a different case in USA where these sites have picked up a lot more traction, but over here at least, we have a way to go before geotagging becomes the norm.  Facebook have the clout and the members to bring this technology to the masses and I’m confident that Places will mark a new shift in the way we communicate.

If you’re not as geeky as me and you don’t know what it’s about, it’s Foursquare for lazy people.  And if you don’t know what Foursquare is about, check it out (and check-in) here.  I’m on there…here.  I have one friend which kind of makes my point about traction.  If you can’t be bothered to do the research, here’s the glossy promo video for Places.  All well and good, we get the idea, it looks nice but have you seen anything as cheesy as this since the 70′s?   The acting and directing are shocking; whoever thought that real, 21st Century tech-savvy Californians behave like this needs to take a long, hard look at themselves.  Check it out at about 30 seconds in.  Have you and your mates ever ‘hung out’ in a park like that, without attracting weird looks from Police Community Support Officers?  And how’s your baby going to benefit from using Facebook Places?

Maybe I’m being unfair.  Anyway, whatever the merit of the promo video, Facebook Places is huge news.  Perhaps predictably, many people chose to focus on the privacy aspects surrounding it but I really can’t be bothered with all that whingeing.  In fact I so can’t be bothered with it, I’m going to write a blog specifically about privacy issues when I get round to it.  And when I find the article I read in Wired about Facebook and privacy.  In a nutshell; get over it.  If you’re a member of social networking sites then I’m sorry but your privacy as you knew it no longer exists.

I was going to watch the footage of the official launch from Facebook’s HQ until I found out that it’s almost an hour long.  I did get about 10 minutes into it and gave up, but if you’ve got time to watch it, it’s here; let me know what it’s like:

Watch live streaming video from facebookinnovations at livestream.com

Aside from the launch itself, one of the interesting things to come out of this was the way the UK side of things was handled.  As usual, the technology has been rolled out in the US before we’re able to get our grubby mitts on it, so Facebook’s UK PR had a job on their hands answering initial questions from keen Facebookers over here.  These were expertly handled in a very modern and supremely efficient way on Twitter by their PR @sophysilver – and I’ve got to thank TNW’s Martin Bryant for bringing that to my attention:

The Next Web – Facebook Places story

Ok so I’ve waffled a bit but I’m new to this blogging thing.  The question is: is Facebook Places the new Facebook or the new Google Wave?  Let the debate begin…