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(How Stuff Works)   That simple yellow first-down line you see on TV NFL games? Yeah, that takes four people, eight computers and a truckload of equipment. Here comes the science   (entertainment.howstuffworks.com) divider line 97
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7420 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Oct 2007 at 8:32 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-10-16 11:31:37 AM  
fotodevil: The yellow line is great, but can they come up with a better and faster way to measure for first downs? Like a frickin' laser beam that shoots out from the chain markers and extends across the field?

it seems like with RFID chips (or another technology) and an extra official in a booth they could implement a system to work a little better than two guys on opposite ends of a 10 yard chain.
 
2007-10-16 11:35:38 AM  
Doc Daneeka: I appreciate trying to reach out to new fans, but if you can't see a black puck on white ice, if that's not enough contrast for you, then there's no helping you. You shouldn't be watching hockey games, you should be at an optometrist.

That little bitty puck can be pretty hard to see when it is going 100 mph even without a crappy TV.
 
2007-10-16 11:35:46 AM  
Rodeodoc:
And we don't have the sissy catch rule on kicks, either.


Yeah, but it's not like there isn't a 10-yard rule before he catches it. Get rid of THAT, and maybe I'd watch some more CFL. Mayhem is fun!!

And I never understood why they got rid of the puck you could see through the boards. The tail was annoying as hell (wow, it turned red, that was a FAST shot) but being able to see the puck when it was hidden behind the boards was pretty cool.
 
2007-10-16 11:37:00 AM  
You have to get the ball down the field to score points
 
2007-10-16 11:38:31 AM  
I'd love to see them put some kind of sensors in the ball so they can tell exactly how far the ball went up on the field. No more poor spots!
 
2007-10-16 11:40:16 AM  
Gig103: Regarding the Hockey puck - not only did fans tend to hate it, but the puck itself had to have electronics in it, making it very expensive to replace, and stadiums had to start taking them back from people who caught them in the stands (most would give a souvenir one, but still..)

Not only that, but if I recall correctly, the electronics inside also meant that the pucks could not be frozen before the game as is customary for normal pucks. As a result, these pucks were much bouncier than normal. Many players complained. Bouncy pucks make for crappy play.

Gig103: I don't watch much hockey, but I did like how it would light up when obscured by the boards.

I just found that disorienting more than anything else, to have a big glowing dot superimposed over everything in front of it. It would be like if the first-down line in football was drawn over all the players as well as the field. It confuses the eye.

Anyway, there is no need to always see the puck's exact location when it is behind the boards. If you are watching the players and what they are doing, you automatically know where the puck is, without having to see it.
 
2007-10-16 11:42:52 AM  
Rodeodoc: What about those arrows that analysts draw on the screen, and then the players follow the arrows!! Amazing technology.

And 4 tries to make 10 yards? Pussies. Canadians do it in 3.

And we don't have the sissy catch rule on kicks, either.


Yes, but we have that silly no-yards rule instead. (the XFL used that as well)

Both rules are designed to protect the receiver from serious injury. The receiver has to wait, still, where the ball is going to land. 250 lb men are running at top speed trying to tackle him. This is seriously dangerous to the receiver.

Options: (Tackler refers to the End, Tackle or Back trying to flatten the RB)

Fair Catch: Receiver says "Ok, you got me. Let me catch it and I'll go quietly"

No Yards: tacklers try to stop dead 5 yards from the receiver, wait for him to catch the ball, and then try to get him.

Neither is optimal, but they are necessary rules. No Yards often leads to some funny rulings. Often if the ball hits the ground instead of being caught, and bounces oddly as only a football can, you'll see tacklers running backwards to get away from the play.

I actually once saw (Ottawa, 93/94?) a botched kick bounce off the helmet of a downfield player, fly another 20 yards into the receiver's hands (at least 10 yards from the nearest opposing player) and receive a no yards call.
 
2007-10-16 11:45:04 AM  
rumpelstiltskin: You mean, like those stylized Gillette razors between the forties at Gillette Stadium?

Uh, do you mean the logo for the stadium?


www.massacademy.com



/That's great, but who are the Chefs?
 
2007-10-16 11:45:28 AM  
Supes: I'd love to see them put some kind of sensors in the ball so they can tell exactly how far the ball went up on the field. No more poor spots!

It's not the ball position that matters as much as the position of the ball carrier.
 
2007-10-16 11:47:23 AM  
Incredible farting cat: must be an old article - they're still using SGI computers. Those things used to be the shiat, but they've been equalled and surpassed by desktop PCs in recent years. Even Autodesk dropped support for SGIs with their Flame/Smoke/Inferno systems.

Not neccesarily.. once constant in TV broadcast and post production is the attempt to squeeze every cent you can out of a piece of equipment... Plus these are dedicated systems, so as long as they do the job, no need to replace. Hell, we just got rid of 3 Onyx's for our Fires/Inferno this year. There's still a Tezro and O2 floating around here somewhere...

/Sitting in front of 3 machines... 1 OSX, 1 Win2000, 1 DOS
 
2007-10-16 11:47:57 AM  
Tobin_Lam: That little bitty puck can be pretty hard to see when it is going 100 mph even without a crappy TV.

Let me ask you. When you watch a football game for instance, do you watch the game constantly following where the ball is at each moment? It would be difficult to watch a football game this way. Most of the time, the football is tucked away, obstructed in a mass of bodies, or in the air, while the camera is on the field.

No, most people I know watch football by watching the players, watching the running back run (who they know whether or not he has the ball based on how the play develops), watching what the blockers do, watching what routes the receivers run, watching the pass rush, watching good tackles.

Hockey is the same. You don't follow the puck. If you try to just follow the puck, you will miss 99% of what is happening on the ice. Instead, follow the play. Watch the players and what they do, and you will know all that you need to know about where the puck is.

The only time you need to know exactly where the puck is, is in very specialized situations, such as disputed goal reviews.
 
2007-10-16 11:55:16 AM  
does anybody else miss those "FoxTails" (or foxtrax) from hockey?

I loved those things

www.virtualmuseum.ca
 
2007-10-16 12:12:14 PM  
Strange coincidence. I actually got my wife to sit down with me for a bit and watch the Giants-Falcons game. Somewhere in there we started talking about how great the yellow-line was for the observer.

I still hate some of the odd camera angles though. I'm man enough to admit it's a get-off-my-lawn thing.
 
2007-10-16 12:16:29 PM  
Waitasec...you mean the yellow line isn't actually on the field?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2007-10-16 12:16:45 PM  
The yellow line is great, but can they come up with a better and faster way to measure for first downs?

Radio transmitters under the field. The ball explodes when it crosses the first down line. Wait. That would prevent long passes or runs. Let's fill the ball with a bank robbery dye pack that starts spewing smoke when it crosses the line. Maybe add a pressure sensor so it doesn't trigger until it is firmly in the grasp of a player.
 
2007-10-16 12:17:52 PM  
Blink: I still hate some of the odd camera angles though. I'm man enough to admit it's a get-off-my-lawn thing.

I'm not... I was watching the Bears-Vikings game over the weekend, and the angle was so severe and the picture so zoomed out you couldn't see a damn thing.

FOX always has to be different, quality be damned I guess.
 
2007-10-16 12:34:39 PM  
Fox still has the damn dancing robots. These days it's the dancing Ray Lewis-bot every time they come back from a commercial and are showing the sponsors.
 
2007-10-16 12:40:29 PM  
GrooveMonkeyZero: Incredible farting cat: must be an old article - they're still using SGI computers. Those things used to be the shiat, but they've been equalled and surpassed by desktop PCs in recent years. Even Autodesk dropped support for SGIs with their Flame/Smoke/Inferno systems.

Not neccesarily.. once constant in TV broadcast and post production is the attempt to squeeze every cent you can out of a piece of equipment... Plus these are dedicated systems, so as long as they do the job, no need to replace. Hell, we just got rid of 3 Onyx's for our Fires/Inferno this year. There's still a Tezro and O2 floating around here somewhere...

/Sitting in front of 3 machines... 1 OSX, 1 Win2000, 1 DOS


Yep, we've got an old 386 running our closed captioning software. Even has Win 3.1 on it!
 
2007-10-16 01:08:49 PM  
The best sports TV graphic invention is the little chart that shows you runners on base.

Although, hopefully when we all have 70" HDTVs they'll give us a wider angle again so we can see the runners and infields ourselves, and not just the pitcher and batter.
 
2007-10-16 01:14:31 PM  
jake3988: If your kickers range is only 37 yards, you need a new kicker.

Yes, pretty much it's because people are stupid. Things like touchbacks migrate towards the 20 :)


Maybe I'm blind, but I have NEVER seen them electronically paint the 20 yard line red to show people at home its the 20 yard line.

The only times they use red is to indicate their kickers range (maybe pandabears kicker sucks) or some stations will it to indicate the first down marker when its fourth down.
 
2007-10-16 01:22:18 PM  
MugzyBrown: Doc Daneeka: I appreciate trying to reach out to new fans, but if you can't see a black puck on white ice, if that's not enough contrast for you, then there's no helping you.


I liked the highlight of the puck when it was behind the near-boards and invisible to the camera, that's all.


curious... does anyone know if they actually still use this technology but they just don't broadcast it?

i can see where this could be VERY handy to the cameramen when the puck was not actually visible to them.

/inquiring minds and all that
 
2007-10-16 01:25:18 PM  
My girlfriend now understands football. Well, she doesn't UNDERSTAND it, but she gets it a little more with the yellow line.

Based on the article though... why then wouldn't all the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets have yellow lies running through their jerseys?
 
2007-10-16 01:27:25 PM  
Tyrone Biggums: Also, as some have already mentioned, this opens the door for more advertisements. I remember a couple of years ago when they would make the area between the goal posts an ad during PAT's or FG attempts. It was so bad that I couldn't even see if the attempt was good or not. That didn't last long, but I am sure they are thinking of more ways to use this technology to cram more advertisements down our throats.

What if it limited the number of commercials shown during the game? I've often thought it would be better if they could just take out the commercials and put them on the field between plays. Its not a perfect solution, how would radio get their commercials in and when do we go and refill our beer? But its something I've pondered.
 
2007-10-16 01:29:32 PM  
Incredible farting cat
must be an old article - they're still using SGI computers. Those things used to be the shiat, but they've been equalled and surpassed by desktop PCs in recent years. Even Autodesk dropped support for SGIs with their Flame/Smoke/Inferno systems.


Still using Flame on an Octane MX, everyday. I wouldn't be surprised if the trucks still had them too.
 
2007-10-16 01:32:11 PM  
aglet123
why then wouldn't all the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets have yellow lies running through their jerseys?


It's based on a chroma key sampled off the colour on the field, with tolerances for sunshine and shadow. Not necessarily all the shades of the colour green itself
 
2007-10-16 01:39:06 PM  
You_mean_Im_gonna_stay_this_color: ...and it's one of the best innovations of televised sports...ever.

I concur. I love it. Now if they can just make hockey watchable on television.
 
2007-10-16 01:54:13 PM  
Shocktopus: I concur. I love it. Now if they can just make hockey watchable on television.

Bettman can't even handle the "watchable = visible, available" definition of the word, let alone "visually appealing, interesting, well-produced".
 
2007-10-16 01:56:02 PM  
You people actually liked the farking superpuck?

IF YOU CANNOT SEE A BLACK PUCK ON WHITE ICE YOU MAY HAVE A shiatTY TELEVISION OR BAD EYESIGHT.

In all seriousness folks, jerseys have names and numbers, announcers are there for a reason, listen to them, make note that the camera is pointed at the action, etc.


fark the superpuck.
 
2007-10-16 01:59:13 PM  
larsinio: does anybody else miss those "FoxTails" (or foxtrax) from hockey?

I loved those things




Yeah, they were pretty cool.
 
2007-10-16 01:59:55 PM  
during the summer olympics, watching the swimming events, my sister got a confused look on her face and asked "how do they change the flags at the bottom of the pool so fast?"

she still hasn't lived it down. every time we watch football, we ask her how they paint a yellow line across the field so fast.
 
2007-10-16 02:05:24 PM  
Tobin_Lam: That little bitty puck can be pretty hard to see when it is going 100 mph even without a crappy TV.

But it's even harder to see when it has a big blue halo surrounding it and a giant red tail coming off it for 50 or 60 feet.
 
2007-10-16 02:12:04 PM  
PoochUMD: jake3988: If your kickers range is only 37 yards, you need a new kicker.

Yes, pretty much it's because people are stupid. Things like touchbacks migrate towards the 20 :)

Maybe I'm blind, but I have NEVER seen them electronically paint the 20 yard line red to show people at home its the 20 yard line.

The only times they use red is to indicate their kickers range (maybe pandabears kicker sucks) or some stations will it to indicate the first down marker when its fourth down.


Some stadiums actually paint the 20 yard line a different color. So perhaps you are seeing a 20 yard line that is painted red for real, not digitally.
 
2007-10-16 02:29:36 PM  
I want to watch a game while strapped to the skycam rig. You can put the camera on my head.

I love the first down line, the line of scrimmage line, and especially the down and distance graphics on the field. When they use the graphics for highlights on SportsCenter, that's when I appreciate it the most.
 
2007-10-16 02:45:14 PM  
Yes, the first & ten line is a great innovation.

The next wave of that will be even better though.... they are supposedly developing an astroturf field that they could change the color of the individual blades on the field, so, the field would just change color at those points to create the first down line. Although it wasn't mentioned, I'm not sure why at that point they might not just "paint" the whole field that way, with it otherwise being green if not "on".
 
2007-10-16 02:48:57 PM  
JetpackJesus: Some stadiums actually paint the 20 yard line a different color. So perhaps you are seeing a 20 yard line that is painted red for real, not digitally.

I know they paint the 20 yard line a different color. I was responding initially to someone who was biatching about the yellow line and how he didn't like them adding an electronic red line to show the idiots at home where the 20 yard line was. There is an electronic red line, pandabear, just didn't understand what it was being used for.
 
2007-10-16 04:08:43 PM  
fotodevil: The yellow line is great, but can they come up with a better and faster way to measure for first downs? Like a frickin' laser beam that shoots out from the chain markers and extends across the field?

No way. The few seconds that pass as they are stretching the chains on a really close measurement creates a great dramatic effect.

PoochUMD: Maybe I'm blind, but I have NEVER seen them electronically paint the 20 yard line red to show people at home its the 20 yard line.

They do it all the time when they refer to it as the "Red Zone". Sometimes they highlight all 20 yards in red.
 
2007-10-16 04:19:41 PM  
FTA: In fact, the line is computer generated

LIES!
 
2007-10-16 04:53:03 PM  
Using the same tech to put rotating ads in the endzones and 50-yd line is pretty damned clever also...
 
2007-10-16 04:54:19 PM  
I couldn't help but laugh at the panda person near the top of the thread. I had NO idea that there were even "First Down Line Snobs"! I mean, there's a snob for every farking occasion on Fark! That's special, it really is.

I personally think the First Down Line is amazingly convenient. You know why, Mr. Elitest Dick? Because long gone are the days when the camera was stationed at a single point that just swivelled up and down the field to follow the plays. Now there are many, many cameras at many, many angles! That means that the sidelines and your precious goddamned chains aren't ALWAYS in view! No longer do we have to wait until the camera pans back out, or until the network switches to a wider angle to tell if the play got the desired yardage! Amazing, isn't it!

/Good God, I bet you're insufferable at parties
//"Tostitos!? Tostitos are for farking mouth breathing idiots, and I'll tell you why..."
 
2007-10-16 04:58:50 PM  
They could probably outsource the operations somehow and save a bunch of money on their operating cost per game.
 
2007-10-16 06:10:21 PM  
Doc Daneeka: Anyway, there is no need to always see the puck's exact location when it is behind the boards. If you are watching the players and what they are doing, you automatically know where the puck is, without having to see it.

This.

When I'm watching hockey, I rarely look at the puck. I think that is one of hockeys biggest problem, is that people (new fans) don't know what to watch for, and get lost easily.
 
2007-10-16 07:57:51 PM  
I remember when I took a girl I was dating to her first live football game. She gave me a confused look about twenty minutes in and asked why she couldn't see the yellow line. The guys and I had a pretty good laugh.

/didn't last too long...
 
2007-10-16 08:05:03 PM  
DECMATH: FAIL. They can easily, but they don't.

What, did you not get the joke?

rumpelstiltskin: You mean, like those stylized Gillette razors between the forties at Gillette Stadium?

You mean, the stadium logo?
 
2007-10-17 12:40:25 AM  
nyihockey
When I'm watching hockey, I rarely look at the puck. I think that is one of hockeys biggest problem, is that people (new fans) don't know what to watch for, and get lost easily

Agreed. I personally don't like to watch hockey, but I understand that it's not because it's a bad sport, just that I have no idea what's going on.

If I may, people need to understand this about soccer:
When I'm watching hockey soccer, I rarely look at the puck ball. I think that is one of hockey's soccer'sbiggest problem, is that people (new fans) don't know what to watch for, and get lost bored easily

/also a football fan that likes the first down marker
 
2007-10-17 01:43:51 PM  
Now, can we come up with some technology to remove that awful zit-face advertisement?
 
2007-10-18 03:05:07 AM  
what about a technology that will superimpose the entire screen with something that i'd actually care to watch?

//ducks
 
2007-10-19 09:45:27 PM  
mightybaldking: Supes: I'd love to see them put some kind of sensors in the ball so they can tell exactly how far the ball went up on the field. No more poor spots!

It's not the ball position that matters as much as the position of the ball carrier.


Erm. No.

The ball is spotted where it was when the player touched the ground with a part other than his hand or foot. The location of the player's head, foot, knee, elbow, and groin don't enter into it.

Wholly unrelated tip for watching football:

How to know where the ball is going to be spotted:
Watch the refs doing the spotting. This will always be decided by the guys coming in from the sidelines (HL, LJ, SJ, or FJ), never the Umpire (guy in the middle) who actually places the ball. They always go upfield with the play, then straight in towards their spot of the ball and parallel to the goal lines. If it's close, they'll spot it at their downfield foot. If the official's coming in from the sideline with one foot on the yellow line, he's probably got the first down. A stationary ref on the sidelines either winding or stopping the clock with his arms is also marking the spot of the ball with his downfield foot.

/tmyk
//funny the things you see once you learn to look for 'em
 
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