Sunday, March 22, 2009

Softball: Maryland Terrapins vs Gardner Webb


After returning home from a trip to the University of Virginia I headed over to Robert E Taylor Stadium the following afternoon for a softball game between Maryland and the visiting Gardner Webb crew. Maryland hosted a tournament this weekend and all told I believe there were 5 or 6 games played over the course of 3 days. It was quite a lot of softball from what I hear.

Dave and I did some synchronized shooting for part of the game. We used PocketWizards to synchronize our cameras and I brought handheld radios so that we could communicate. During baseball my brother and I relied on some primitive hand gestures to signal each other and agree on the subjects to track. I thought that handhelds would work better. It's a toss-up...

The handhelds emit an awkward blip noise when you finish talking. The noise is very disruptive and obnoxious. I'm sure that fans around us wouldn't appreciate the distraction and I'm doubly sure the players and coaches wouldn't take kindly to it. It was also difficult to grab Dave's attention over the radio because he often tucked it into his camera belt. Visual signals were much more effective.

If we had earbuds, vox, and microphones it would probably work much better. But if we jumped to those accessories we'd have the wires that we'd have to deal with. After a post-mortem after the game we both came to the conclusion that hand signals were probably the best bet.

We also talked about how best to manage the media produced by synchronized shooting. Regularly when 2 people photograph a game both sift through their photos and send 12-13 individual shots to whomever is designated as the "gallery publisher". The gallery publisher integrates the other person's 12-13 shots and then uploads the gallery to the site.

However, when you are synchronized you have to consider who is going to do the photo merge of the synchronized shots. Additionally, how are you going to handle that in post-production if the shots are on the same media as the rest of the other shooter's photos? Despite having our timing synchronized our focus isn't always sharp, the shot isn't always interesting, and the exposure isn't always right. In post production you have to go through the 15 or so synchronized "setups" and then pick 1 or 2 that actually worked out. Doing so requires access to the photosets from both photographers.

We're thinking that before we do any additional synchronization we're going to assign mashup responsibilities with merging and publishing. Whoever is the person that's going to merge will give a card to the secondary shooter to be used whenever we do synchronized shooting. After the game the second shooter can take their own card home and return the synchronized card to the merger for mashup in PhotoShop.

The game this afternoon taught us a lot of things and I believe that after another few games we'll have a nice process down that will offer us some incredible shots!

You can't find more photos of Maryland softball's win over Gardner Webb on the DC Sports Box.

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