The Best Cricket Camera Angles

Rewatching that slow-motion Michael Holding footage, I was struck by how often the producers cut to a shot from behind the batsman (that is, facing the bowler). You very rarely see that point of view nowadays, except in replays. It’s usually accepted that the best angle is the one behind the bowler’s arm. Does anyone know when this change happened? And does everyone think it works aesthetically?

A few observations: 1) I’ve grown used to the angle, so much so that I resented (as did J.Rod) the off-kilter “free hit” camera angle that the World Cup producers used. Didn’t understand the logic there. I also didn’t much like it when broadcasters used a running camera that trailed the bowler’s run-up from the side. It was fun, initially, but it seemed more like a gimmick than anything useful. 2) One problem, however, is that the bowler-arm-view makes it harder to understand why batsmen do what they do. Watching a ball from a batsman’s angle, I argue, gives you a better sense of the effect of a ball’s line and length.

There’s a bigger issue here, of course: how do representations of cricket affect/mediate the game’s reality? As a youngster, I remember facing a faster bowler and constantly failing against him. I could barely see the ball before it inevitably hit my stumps. It made me think about how different it seemed when I watched cricket on TV and I could track the ball and its movements. What would a cricket match feel like if we cut out all slow-motion replays?

7 thoughts on “The Best Cricket Camera Angles

  1. pavops says:

    The behind the bat angle is terrific, somehow making play seem much faster even though half the time I’ve seen it it’s with Boycott or Tavare at the crease. I suppose its demise may have been due to the fact you struggle to see much of a ball pitched up on or outside middle/leg, but I think that’s a small price to pay for the way slashing off side shots look so exhilarating.

  2. Russ says:

    The change happened when Packer came on board, famously because he didn’t want “to see the batsman’s arse”. Before that, public broadcasters would save money by having a single camera, so they’d alternate from the bowler’s view to the batsman’s. The reverse view is probably under-used today, but moving away from it was a good thing; you can’t see the ball pitch a lot of the time.

  3. I’m not sure I like the idea of removing slow motion. It would probably give a more accurate portrayal of the game, but many watching today don’t play the sport and would probably find it harder to relate without the slow mo.

    These can serve to show just how much a ball swings or changes direction on bounce with spin and enables the viewer to really understand what the batsman is facing, thus making the whole experience that much more personal.

    Personally, I think removal of slow mo, camera’s in stumps, cleverly added in graphics, etc. would detract from the understanding of the difficulty of the sport for those who don’t play.

    Oh, and stump shot is surely one of the best as, at full speed, gives a great representation of what the batsman is likely to be seeing – 100mph bowls take on a whole new dimension!!

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Definitely, Jon. I don’t think removing slow-motion completely would be best; I just was trying to conceive how differently I would “see” cricket if it was taken out. Silly abstract question, really.

  4. testdomain says:

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  5. Cricket says:

    People will surely have different believes, as all over. But for sure this is surely something that is now all over changed also.

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