In my part 1 post, I discussed how clever lighting had made huge improvements to the way Fencing Came across on TV at the Rio 2016 Olympics. There are another few factors that are gradually improving the sports appearance on TV.
Did Rio mark a new dawn for televised fencing or is this the start of a raft of changes that will improve the sports appeal to a wider audience?
High definition cameras and HD TV's -
In Rio, I stayed in an air b and b that had an HDTV of epic proportions. It was a 58 inch curved behemoth of a TV with stunning picture quality. I currently don't have a TV, in fact, I am living in a tent but that is another story, so this giant may have made more of an impression on me than it would have on you. With that said it really was spectacular and made watching sport on TV entirely different to the experience in the past. When flat screens first came out you would have ghosting and colour issues and the picture, if you were not dead straight on would be significantly dull. Newer TV's at higher resolutions and greater size have changed all of that and you now really feel immersed in the action.
The screen in our flat was so large and the resolution so good that you could concurrently watch 16 channels of sport.
The fencing itself in part due to the lighting mentioned in the last post but also due to the quality of the cameras was captured in incredible detail. This detail is only of any use if you can actually show it and that is where the new generation of HD and UHD TV's make all of the difference.
The image was so crisp that you could literally see the hairs on the back of the hands of the technicians as they adjusted the two pin bodywires ;-).
This level of detail means that you can now see the blades and blade movements which before were only discernible for those that already knew the sport.
Slow motion video:
Now that the venues are properly lit it has become much easier to capture slow motion video. This is absolutely essential as when it is combined with good commentary it allows people to really see the complexity and skill of the fencers actions.
Watching a flick hit land perfectly in slow motion is awe inspiring regardless of whether or not the viewer has any understanding of the sport.
I think that all of these factors brought together are the start of a potential new age for the sport on TV. But more can be done. In the third and final part of this series of posts, I will discuss what I think the sport needs going forwards.