Posts Tagged ‘Mark Bowden’

The Hardest Job in Football

February 18, 2009

Here’s a meaty read from this month’s issue of The Atlantic: an interesting piece about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the orchestral dance of directing cameras and choosing which view will appear in your TV screen during NFL football games.  It is by Mark Bowden, a great narrative and investigative writer, whose books Killing Pablo and Doctor Dealer I have read (I currently own and will soon dig into his Guests of the Ayatollah, about the Iranian hostage crisis).

The article gives a really interesting inside-look at things.  You get a feel for the mechanics of the cameras and what they can do, a larger survey of the evolution of the sport and its marriage to TV, and an appreciation for the role Fish plays as the conductor in the orchestra that produces the drama unfolding for you at home.

These are the basics, cameras one through five, that are used to cover every televised football game, college or pro. The rest are specialty cameras. Six and eight are mounted on three-foot-high platforms behind each end zone, to one side of the goalposts…Fish will sometimes instruct these cameras’ operators to focus on specific players—in this game they were Justin Tuck, the Giants’ gifted pass-rushing end, and Bengals receiver Chad Johnson—in order to put together a video package that summarizes those players’ ups and downs during the game.