Author Topic: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values  (Read 534 times)

Offline NormaJ

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 224
Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« on: April 12, 2017, 12:12:55 PM »
It's great that our sport has gotten some outside coverage...

http://compete.kotaku.com/13-year-old-prodigy-wins-pinball-world-championships-1794172650

...but I mostly appreciated the author's unfiltered commentary on the overall "incomprehensible production set-up". Someone needs to say it! We as a sport do a crappy job of involving viewers in the action.


A lack of stream overlays, brackets, or even discernible results marred the overall presentation. Commentators rarely formally announced the name of competitors, much less which division they were competing in or what the consequences would be of a good or bad run on the table-at-hand.

Cameras covered the angles well (love the overhead shot!), but the lack of actual pinball noises felt a little strange. Even just a shotgun mic next to the machine itself, trying to capture some of those mechanical sounds and ringing bells would have elevated the experience—pinball flippers have a nostalgic aural feedback, like the crack of a bat or the swish of a net, and that’s crucial to getting a stream audience hooked.



If basketball was announced and called the way these high-profile pinball tournaments are being announced then the sport would have never left the playground.

Watching the tournaments is fascinating. I love trying to predict what the players will shoot for next, seeing the mistakes as they happen, etc. But I just want to mute the announcers and just have graphics and listen to the games. I wish there was a setting for that!

Online Ron Donohue

  • Level 7: Khaaaan!
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2008
  • Location: Palm Beach Gardens
  • Posts: 1545
    • My Gameroom
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 12:35:49 PM »
Lots of ways to improve on coverage.  I wish pinball had 1/1000 of the financial resources basketball has to broadcast games.  My experience is that many people have ideas about how to improve coverage, but relatively few have ideas about how to get resources together to improve coverage. 

Five years ago, there was no chance of seeing coverage, then PAPA and others did Kickstarters and fundraisers and got some equipment.  I have seen progress and there have been definite improvements in video quality.  But, there is always room for improvement, and everyone I have seen from the broadcasts recognize that.

I participated in the previous funding drives, and will do so again.  I hope that those with significant issues with what is being broadcast will do the same to help fund the improvements.  In the meantime, I am glad that the volunteers are doing what they are doing with very limited resources.  I am sure they would love to do better.

Ron

Offline yesimbrandon

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2015
  • Location: Jacksonville
  • Posts: 182
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 12:41:45 PM »
My biggest problem with watching pinball streams is always the commentators. Every time I watch the events, it's whoever they can seem to throw together and it's always people who are already knocked out of the tournament so I have to listen to an hour of basically how their event went relative to what game they are currently playing or the person who is currently playing. Give me commentators who are actually going to talk about what's happening in the game.
Pins: TWD Pro, The Shadow, Demolition Man, Space Mission, Hook

Offline pinballcorpse

  • Level 9: Grid Champion
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2008
  • Location: Probably in the tournament area
  • Posts: 3711
  • Flipping the Dream
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 01:03:44 PM »
We are getting there...slowly.   It wasn't *that* long ago that the only way to watch was to stand on chairs.

Regarding streaming commentary, it is a mixed experience.  Sometimes there are very thoughtful insights as to what the player is doing on the game and discussions of strategy for the match in general; other times the comments are off topic ramblings, inside jokes, and lack of knowledge of the game. 

Finding knowledgeable people who are not directly involved in the tourney, to do the commentary is going to be tough. In a way those who are knocked out have some great insight as to why players are trying for a shot/setup or are doing something different than would normally be done.  But yes, hearing tales of woe about a different game during a live in progress match is unnecessary.   

Lastly, I'm with Ron.  I've supported fundraising efforts in the past at the local and national level and will continue to do so to help grow competitive pinball.
"It's better to make it to the finals and play like sh*t than to not make it to the finals at all"-Josh Sharpe, pinball pro and IFPA president

Offline NormaJ

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 224
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 01:07:24 PM »
My biggest problem with watching pinball streams is always the commentators. Every time I watch the events, it's whoever they can seem to throw together and it's always people who are already knocked out of the tournament so I have to listen to an hour of basically how their event went relative to what game they are currently playing or the person who is currently playing. Give me commentators who are actually going to talk about what's happening in the game.

Completely agree! I think the equipment is not the problem now. It's amazing what can be done with off-the-shelf video production and streaming hardware these days. (I was doing digital video in the late '90s/early 2000's and it cost a mint to do anything decent.) Entire independent films have been made with iPhones.

It's the people!

I will continue the basketball analogy... I barely know the rules and player positions in basketball, so you won't see me sitting next to Marv Albert calling Knicks games. But it's amazing how many of the pinball announcers don't know the basic goals of the games being played, don't know how to start multiball, don't know where the jackpots are, is there bonus hold, etc. I'm no rules expert, but it's not hard to get that information together and put it on cue cards next to the microphone. It's only like a dozen machines.

Tell me who's playing. Tell me where they're from, a little about their history, when they started playing, what their basic philosophy of pinball is, what games are their strengths, what games they own, etc. Just give the players short questionnaires to complete before the tournament and read from those cards. It would really enrich the experience. Not hard. No extra tech needed.

Put the bracket on-screen often. That's what people care about. Who's in first? Who's challenging? What would it mean for this player to beat that player?

The banter is pointless. I don't care how poorly you or your fellow announcers played today. If you were more successful, you'd still be playing! Stand back and give the remaining competitors their glory.

I would volunteer to do announcing, but I can barely stand to listen to my own voice much less subject others to listen to it for hours! LOL

Offline Rich Jax

  • Level 7: Khaaaan!
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2009
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
  • Posts: 1230
  • ...and sometimes the baar eats you.
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 02:48:11 PM »
Who is going to pay for all the pre-production work for what you are asking for? 

I did television and radio production in college (Telecommunication Degree) and I worked at both tv and radio stations before getting out of the field.  I can attest to the amount of behind-the-scenes work required to present a professionally produced piece of footage.  It ain't going to happen unless more money starts coming into televising these events or you get ahold of a bunch of trained volunteers.

Offline yesimbrandon

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Sep 2015
  • Location: Jacksonville
  • Posts: 182
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 08:17:36 AM »
To start taking a step in the right direction, I don't think they need to go over the top with super professional production or anything, but just try and have some dedicated commentators who are casting the matches.

For example, a couple months ago I tuned in to one of the papa events and there was this young kid who was competing. In between his plays he was running back to make sure he could get back on stream and watch and "commentate." This was very frustrating as a viewer because I wasn't actually getting commentators telling me what was happening in the game, but some kid who was more concerned with being on stream and reading chat comments.
Pins: TWD Pro, The Shadow, Demolition Man, Space Mission, Hook

Offline owlnonymous

  • Level 8: Psi Corps
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2010
  • Location: St Petersburg
  • Posts: 2715
  • BEWARE, OWL LIVES!
    • Owlnonymous: Pinball and Arcade Streaming
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 12:51:28 PM »
I've help setup a few PAPA events on the tech side. You guys have no idea how much work goes into setting up multiple games for a stream. Heck, with me streaming one game a week, there is at least 30-40 minutes of setup. For example, I traveled over and hour last night to stream and help setup a RBION with a color dmd. I had 10-12 viewers for the night. That's a lot of work, handful of viewers.

Now the bigger tournaments have more coverage, but that's even more work. It would be great to have dedicated commentators, but who is going to want to travel to a tournament and not participate. With the current model, there is no financial support or incentive to do so. If you guys want better coverage in Florida, I could do it. I would need the funds for at least 8 overhead playfield camcorders, 8 dmd cams, 8 mic stands, a faster dedicated computer, hundreds of foot in hdmi cable, several hdmi splitters/amps, and three high end HDMI switchers. And that's just for the setup. If a tournament wanted coverage, I would want a minimum for travel expenses and setup. THEN, I would need dedicated volunteers to help for the commentary.

You may ask yourself why I haven't just gone and done this all on my own? When you take a hobby like pinball/arcade collecting, and make it a choir rather than a hobby, it stops being fun. Heck, just by streaming every Wednesday I get burnt out in on pinball. What is my point of typing all this up? I'm trying to tell you to be thankful for the coverage we have. There are only a few handful of people that have the tech and desire to help cover pinball. I thought this last PAPA coverage was great. They improved the overall quality with a higher bandwidth 60fps, more coverage, etc.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 01:09:11 PM by owlnonymous »

PINS: Breakshot, BOP, Target Alpha, Spectrum, Paragon
WTB: NGG, CQ BOP/2.0, The Hobbit, Tron, Andromeda, Cyclops, Argosy
TWITCH: http://twitch.tv/owlnonymous

Offline NormaJ

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 224
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2017, 01:40:25 PM »
PS: I was one of your 10-12 viewers last night and thought you did a great job!

(PPS: Yes, I would travel to broadcast and not play, so please sign me up for that. I would also help set up things technically because I used to do that for my own cable TV show and helping out the local cable station. I love doing that stuff, and I work with computers for a living so I know which end to plug into what. :) )

Offline Redfox

  • Level 7: Khaaaan!
  • *****
  • Join Date: Aug 2011
  • Location: Miami
  • Posts: 1208
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 12:04:13 AM »
Ditto, I would gladly commentate and not worry about competing, and help you set up. If I'm ever at an event you're at and you need help please do not hesitate to speak to me. I'm there for you (or anyone from here who needs a helping hand or commentary on a stream).

And ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you I know rules and strategy ;)



PS.
Quote
When you take a hobby like pinball/arcade collecting, and make it a choir rather than a hobby, it stops being fun.

Amen! I know EXACTLY what you mean heh!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 12:06:55 AM by Redfox »
Pins: AC/DC, RBION, Bad Cats, Fast Draw, LOTR, Stargate, Jack·Bot
Past Pins: Solar City, The Shadow, Johnny Mnemonic, Half of a Tron

Offline mandelbloom

  • Level 7: Khaaaan!
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Location: Lake Worth, FL
  • Posts: 1328
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2017, 08:42:30 AM »
You all have to realize are still a very very small community. Id love to proven wrong but pinball will never be a main stream sport, not even at the level of bowling. Be thankful for the technology we have things like laptops, webcams and twitch have made for some great coverage in my view. I think the commentary will get better if you could have someone dedicated who would study the rules of every game before going on air. This could be someone like you Norma or RedFox who seems to love to watch but is not competing in the main tournament :-)

Most of the streaming I watch is of new games that haven't seen want to see the rules, etc... the competitions I enjoy for a short time but they cannot hold my attention all day.

I will admit somehow competitive video games are on national TV now, its beyond me how someone can enjoy watching that. Last I saw it was a bunch of out of shape guys sitting in chairs playing NBA 2K17. :-)

« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 08:46:49 AM by mandelbloom »
Have - HUO NGG, HUO IMVE  , HUO MET Premium DD "Special Edition" ,  56 others on pin cab

Want - Super nice to CQ Funhouse or a really nice EM/early SS with lotsa drop targets!

Offline FourFlippers

  • Level 2: Villager
  • **
  • Join Date: May 2013
  • Location: Lake Mary, FL
  • Posts: 92
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2017, 09:02:37 AM »
Interesting point Mandelbloom just raised.  Unlike other sports that are commentated where the rules are always the same game after game, in Pinball the rules are unique for each game!  That's a lot of leg work for a commentator, you'd not only have to know which games are being played ahead of time but be able to know the rule sets for each game.  Wow!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Pins - TZ, NGG, AF, IJ-TPA, TOTAN, AFM, EBD-LE, Centaur II, Orbitor 1, FH, PF, FIRE!, AGG, FBC, F-14, Medusa, Centaur, BK, DW, FBC, MMR,
Vids Rockin Bowl-O-Rama, Hyperbowl, MAME Cocktail, Sky Shark

Offline ratsflif

  • Level 8: Psi Corps
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2008
  • Location: St. Pete
  • Posts: 2151
  • All your base
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2017, 09:46:04 AM »
This is pretty ridiculous.  Do you really need a commentator for a pinball match?  Why not make pinball its own thing instead of trying to shoehorn it into the cookie cutter format of a sports broadcast.
No children were harmed during this forum posting.

Offline NormaJ

  • Level 3: Hologram
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 224
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2017, 10:35:30 AM »
This is pretty ridiculous.  Do you really need a commentator for a pinball match?  Why not make pinball its own thing instead of trying to shoehorn it into the cookie cutter format of a sports broadcast.

I agree. Most matches can be "called" with near silence. Sometimes viewers just need a little refresher on what's going on, who is leading, etc. Maybe a little about the players to give it a human touch.

I just don't want to hear people eating, people talking about how bad they did today, comments like "How do you play this game again?" Sometimes less is more. I feel right now we have a lot of "more is more" in these webcasts.

Offline RussG

  • Level 8: Psi Corps
  • *****
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Florida
  • Posts: 2316
Re: Pinball: A great game with substandard production values
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2017, 10:40:07 AM »
This is pretty ridiculous.  Do you really need a commentator for a pinball match?  Why not make pinball its own thing instead of trying to shoehorn it into the cookie cutter format of a sports broadcast.

+1

That will most likely ruin the experience and has anyway.