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Paul Haigh: Apologies to cameramen, but itOs time directors got it right for once.

Byline: Paul Haigh

LAST week this column included an attack on TV coverage (no change there then) that suggested cameramen were to blame for the practice of focusing on the leader, or sometimes two leaders, at the end of races, in such a way that all other runners were excluded and the interest therefore minimised.

Bob Vickery of the RaceTech team, which is responsible for providing pictures to both RUK and ATR, and, although the terrestrial channels also have their own cameras, for most of those used by the BBC and C4, phoned to say this was very unjust; the cameramen are just as true racing people as anyone else and just as aware of whatOs vital and whatOs just arty- farty nonsense that might win them promotion or awards.

After listening carefully to what Bob had to say IOm very happy to correct the injustice.

RaceTech has the not unreasonable basic rule that whatever else is shown, the winner must be in shot as he or she passes the post. RaceTech, which also has to provide pictures the stewards can use, always has two cameras focused on the finish [ETH] one the wide-angle, which should include the other runners, although even that may not be possible, particularly in the jumps season, when a winner may draw 30 lengths clear; the other the close-up. The decision on which of the two shots to transmit is taken not by the cameramen but by the director.

Okay, IOve got it now. Understanding has dawned. The cameramen are therefore excused their lines, and by way of compensation can have an extra ration of tuck. The directors, however, can all write out not 1000 but 2000 times: OI must not close in on the front one or two at the end of a race if I can possibly help it because arty-farty shots of this nature do nothing to increase the interest, and in fact diminish it because, even if you do choose to ignore the each-way punters, whatOs important in a finish is how quickly horses are travelling in relation to the rest.O

On my desk by four oOclock please, and any smudgings or crossings out, especially by the terrestrials, and you can all jolly well start again.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2005
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