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(Mental Floss)   Everything you ever wanted to know about the magic yellow first-down line on the football field, including why a player doesn't turn yellow when crossing it   ( mentalfloss.com) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Super Bowl, first-down line, Super Bowl party, yellow first-down line, Super Bowl XXI, New York Giants, John Elway, Disney World  
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2688 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Feb 2018 at 5:05 PM (23 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



35 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2018-02-03 03:30:07 PM  
Thanks subby
 
2018-02-03 03:40:18 PM  
An older article: "An Oral History of the Yellow First Down Line"

Worth reading if you're interested in the topic.
 
2018-02-03 04:53:11 PM  
I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.
 
2018-02-03 05:18:38 PM  

Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.


No love for the "Kiss Cam"?

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-02-03 05:19:54 PM  

Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.


Pft, FoxTrax is clearly the greatest thing for televised sports ever.
 
2018-02-03 05:39:01 PM  
A yellow line on the grass has its source in golden showers.
 
2018-02-03 05:47:57 PM  
...now if they can only do something about those pesky, difficult-to-see hockey pucks...
 
2018-02-03 05:50:51 PM  

Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.


It's neat but it used to be more exciting when the chains came out
 
2018-02-03 06:09:21 PM  
This is an article about nothing?
 
2018-02-03 06:17:43 PM  
I told my kids that there were millions of LEDs planted in the turf. I think they still believe that.
 
2018-02-03 06:29:43 PM  

IHadMeAVision: ...now if they can only do something about those pesky, difficult-to-see hockey pucks...


Don't start.
 
2018-02-03 06:34:28 PM  

IHadMeAVision: ...now if they can only do something about those pesky, difficult-to-see hockey pucks...


I swear I saw something a while ago (maybe it was just on a replay?) that gave the puck a kind of tail.

It does amaze me how cleanly they're able to get that key to work on the football field. It's hard enough to get a clean key in a studio and they have a ton more variables to deal with on a football field.

/not a sports person
//just a TV production geek
 
2018-02-03 06:43:28 PM  
The TLDR version is that they 3D model the field before the game and sensors on the cameras allow them to estimate every camera's position within the 3D which allows them to get the perspective of the line to look correct in the shots.

The reason why the line doesn't appear to turn the players yellow when they cross it is because they use the  colors on the field (the grass/turf) as a green screen and they tell a computer to replace the color of the field where the line should be with yellow. (This method requires that players don't wear uniforms that match the color of the field, which isn't a big deal because sports teams don't wear uniforms that are the same color as the field anyway, doing so would make it harder for the both the live and at-home audiences to make out individual players)
 
2018-02-03 06:44:14 PM  

Sunidesus: I swear I saw something a while ago (maybe it was just on a replay?) that gave the puck a kind of tail.


They did it for an All-Star game years ago. People hated it.
 
2018-02-03 06:45:16 PM  

MugzyBrown: Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.

It's neat but it used to be more exciting when the chains came out


They still use the chains.
 
TWX
2018-02-03 06:48:50 PM  

Sunidesus: IHadMeAVision: ...now if they can only do something about those pesky, difficult-to-see hockey pucks...

I swear I saw something a while ago (maybe it was just on a replay?) that gave the puck a kind of tail.

It does amaze me how cleanly they're able to get that key to work on the football field. It's hard enough to get a clean key in a studio and they have a ton more variables to deal with on a football field.

/not a sports person
//just a TV production geek


They tried something back in the day, they basically embedded a transmitter inside of a hockey puck and superimposed a color-halo around it, adding about five seconds of delay to the broadcast so that the computers could do the calculations. Unfortunately the transmitter was embedded by cutting the puck in-half flat-wise, hogging out the inside, placing the transmitter, and then gluing the thing back together, so it had this nasty habit of coming apart during play.

I think it required every camera to be motion-control too, which gets kind of expensive, and apparently there were a lot of hockey fans that didn't like it.
 
2018-02-03 07:00:58 PM  

Sunidesus: IHadMeAVision: ...now if they can only do something about those pesky, difficult-to-see hockey pucks...

I swear I saw something a while ago (maybe it was just on a replay?) that gave the puck a kind of tail.

It does amaze me how cleanly they're able to get that key to work on the football field. It's hard enough to get a clean key in a studio and they have a ton more variables to deal with on a football field.

/not a sports person
//just a TV production geek


We had a thread about it not so long ago.
 
2018-02-03 07:03:34 PM  
If you want to see a player with the line going across their body, you just need one wearing a green jersey the same color as the grass, though I think they have adjusted the team colors over the years so that no one is that exact color anymore.

The advertisements behind home plate during televised baseball games work in the same manner when you see them on TV. When the Red Sox wear their green St Patty's uniforms, they occasionally clip the ad.
 
2018-02-03 07:07:16 PM  
It's an inspirational story.  They make the glowing puck, and everyone hates the glowing puck.  But without it, we wouldn't have the technology to make the yellow line, and everyone loves the yellow line.

There are no failures, only learning experiences.
 
2018-02-03 07:21:37 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-02-03 07:49:16 PM  

davidphogan: MugzyBrown: Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.

It's neat but it used to be more exciting when the chains came out

They still use the chains.


Yes but you almost always know the result because you can see the line
 
2018-02-03 07:53:50 PM  
Each blade of grass has a sensor embedded in it and has a MAC address.
There is just one guy in a truck connected to the Router's log in page and he just filters the grass by MAC address to make them either Green or Yellow.

pretty simple really.
 
2018-02-03 07:54:13 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size


  They really should let FOX do all the sportsballs.
 
2018-02-03 07:55:45 PM  
That's the line that's a few inches further downfield than where they call a 1st down for the Patriots, right?
 
2018-02-03 08:37:23 PM  

davidphogan: MugzyBrown: Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.

It's neat but it used to be more exciting when the chains came out

They still use the chains.


And an index card...
 
2018-02-03 08:43:33 PM  
That line was the birth of augmented reality. At the time it was a moonshot; IBM made a big deal of how much processing power their old mainframes delivered to make it happen (quite a bit, even by today's standards). But - the line looked real, and it looked real on live TV, not just in playbacks.
 
2018-02-03 08:56:34 PM  
A couple of random observations:

* If you want to see the first-down-line system do some fun things, watch a snow game. Then the field is white and there's a lot of whites in player uniforms, so you do get to see the line bisecting people sometimes. (And as a bonus, the more advanced version of this system can actually overlay a ghost of the entire normal field -- the yard lines, side lines, numbers, etc. -- on top of the snow.)
* The reason you don't see the chains as much anymore is that in the past couple of years the league (or at least many of its officials) have switched to a new spotting system. Basically, unless a first down or touchdown hangs in the balance, the officials will almost always spot the ball on a yard line or (less often) on a half-yard line -- for example, they'll spot the ball right at the 38 instead of the 38-and-five-inches, or at the 14-and-a-half instead of the 14-and-15-inches. This means that the line to gain (the point the offense has to reach to get a first down) is almost always on a yard line too, which makes it a lot easier to tell at a glance whether a first down has been made. You could argue that some precision is lost in the process, but let's face it, spotting the ball was never a precise process to begin with.
 
2018-02-03 09:07:57 PM  
There was a New Yorker article on this a few years ago, and IIRC, it's one company that provides these types of graphics for every sport.
 
2018-02-03 10:29:24 PM  

kendelrio: Gubbo: I want to nominate the yellow line as the greatest thing for tv sports since instant replay.

No love for the "Kiss Cam"?

[img.fark.net image 850x478]


img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-02-03 10:56:19 PM  

flamark: [img.fark.net image 425x282]


I call this one "sunny" and this one "stormy"
 
2018-02-03 10:59:56 PM  

thornhill: There was a New Yorker article on this a few years ago, and IIRC, it's one company that provides these types of graphics for every sport.


There is an article on it now, and IIRC it is linked to this thread. It's one company called Sportvision.
 
2018-02-04 12:25:09 AM  
Old news.
But they need to figure how to project it onto the field with lasers or something so the players can see it.
Maybe then my team will stop throwing 8 yard passes on 3rd and 9.
 
2018-02-04 12:29:11 AM  

Mr. Fuzzypaws: Sunidesus: I swear I saw something a while ago (maybe it was just on a replay?) that gave the puck a kind of tail.

They did it for an All-Star game years ago. People hated it.


It was awful.  It lagged quite a bit when they first introduced it and made it harder to see the puck.
 
2018-02-04 01:29:57 AM  
One reason I don't watch hockey is that I can never see the puck. It just looks like a bunch of big skaters swinging sticks at one another.
 
2018-02-04 02:23:39 AM  
Do they use the field as a giant green screen?

Yup, they use the field as a giant green screen.
 
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