Fox Sports promises that Rinkside View will be smoother, slower
Hockey fans have spoken. Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket have heard you and reacted.
The networks have gotten considerable criticism about the herky-jerky sensation caused by switching among its robotic cameras. Fans also fretted about the difficulty of following the puck from its behind-the-net angle.
On Thursday, Fox executives said that they will turn Sunday's Prime Ticket telecast of the Kings-Ducks game at Anaheim into a hybrid that will incorporate elements of the rinkside view and of traditional camera work.
The executives urged viewers to offer feedback and promised to use reactions to help shape the format of remaining Kings and Ducks games scheduled for Rinkside View treatment.
"We have listened to the fans and we care what they think," said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and general manager of FS West and Prime Ticket. "We're going to embrace the traditional and add innovation."
The main change will be a slower-paced broadcast and smoother cuts among robotic and hand-held cameras. "We got lots of comments about seasickness," Fox Sports Executive Producer Tom Feuer said.
And not only that.
"People said they lost a little bit of perspective on what was going on, where the puck was in relation to the rink and where the players were in relation to the rink," Feuer said. "We relied on hand-held cameras and robo-cameras to bring intimacy and project the speed and athleticism of the game. The idea was to get the best arena experience possible.
"The thing you always hear from hockey fans is that the game doesn't translate to television. The main thing for us is to translate it as well as possible."
The behind-the-net robotic camera angle will be reserved for exclusive use on power plays. A wider angle lens might be added to it that would show more of the ice. The robotic cameras might also be moved up along the blue lines to provide a side view of players instead of an on-top action shot.
Simpson said the Rinkside View idea was conceived to enhance the game for exisiting fans and grow the fan base, and that it's still evolving. He also said Fox's goal is to have every telecast of all the local pro teams available in HD by April, if production capabilities and HD capacity allow for it. Every Lakers home telecast is in HD, but the Kings and Ducks each have only 10 in HD.
"The bottom line is we've heard what the fans have to say," Simpson said.
Send your feedback on Sunday's telecast to this Fox Sports email address.
Don't be shy.
-- Helene Elliott