Can anyone see the yellow ball on red clay on TV?

TonyB

Hall of Fame
Just wanted to throw my voice out there on this topic.

Monte Carlo coverage on the Tennis Channel == unwatchable


The ball is actually impossible to see. My TV is decent and I can't see it at all. It makes the tennis unwatchable.

Very disappointing.
 

daddy

Legend
I realize that, and know well about speed and size of tennis balls. (?) I don't understand this comment. I've watched many matches in stadium on red clay both in Germany and France. It's what I grew up playing on.

I was just asking an opinion question for those who happened to be watching on TVs at the moment and complained of the low visibility.

Well you asked if green would be better. I told you that given all the facts no colour will help - that is my opinion. Btw the fact I emphesized is 'if you set up a wrong camera angle' ... So what exactly dont you understand ?

Btw - I play on clay and grew up on it. I see the ball well when I watch form stands or play. This morning I could not see the ball in some matches as well as in RG for example.
 
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Well you asked if green would be better. I told you that given all the facts no colour will help - that is my opinion. So what exactly dont you understand ?

Btw - I play on clay and grew up on it. I see the ball well when I watch form stands or play. This morning I could not see the ball in some matches as well as in RG for example.
I didn't understand why you mentioned speed of ball and size of ball because I would think most people who post on this board know what size a standard tennis ball is, and that if its hit with any type of force it will have speed. Not trying to be silly or anything, I was just puzzled in case you meant something else.
 

Fedace

Banned
I am looking at the Ferrero match right now and i Can't see the ball either. Sit about 3 feet away from the TV, it will be little better. I think we all should send a request to TTC to put on a tracer on the Tennis ball. Like the NHL hockey does with the puck.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
I'm going to guess that TTC isnt using state of the art equipment and technology and that the signal they are presenting us with is pretty low quality even for hi def. that seems to make sense based upon their quality of programming and everything else about the network seems cut rate to me.
I am watching this on a 47" 1080p lcd and TTC is indicating a hi def broadcast, and the balls comes in and out of visibility on my tv. they seem to keep parts of the court watered and it is darker there so there is some contrast between ball and court and i can see the ball when passing thru those areas...where the court is dry it is very light in colour and the ball gets lost in those areas
as far as lcds having slow refresh rates...that was in the good old days.
 

daddy

Legend
I didn't understand why you mentioned speed of ball and size of ball because I would think most people who post on this board know what size a standard tennis ball is, and that if its hit with any type of force it will have speed. Not trying to be silly or anything, I was just puzzled in case you meant something else.
Well it was just a figure of speech so to say. I know you know the size and speed of the tennis ball, why else would you be here. ;) Misunderstanding.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
TTC is using the European feed, ergo their equipment. I believe TTC is scheduled to go HiDef for the tournaments they cover and when they do, the broadcasts will be as HiDef as anyone else's.

They are also, thank the Good Lord, using Eurpean announcers.

The high angle above the court makes it impossible to see the ball. When they use a closer angle, you can see it. I have been watching Grosjean/Karlovic this morning and they are using a good angle.
 

pound cat

G.O.A.T.
I'm watching on ESPN Internatonal and it's just fine & I'm sure camerawork has a lot to do with it. Sounds as if TTC bought the ESPN broadcasts.
 

dubsplayer

Semi-Pro
Every year it's the same thing. The ball is always hard to see on CC in MC. I've been watching this tournament on TV since the early 90's when ESPN broadcast it. I've watched it on plain 28" color TV to a flat screen to a 42" plasma.

It is slightly better then in the olden days.

Pound Car - TTC broadcasts the ATP's international feed - the one with Jason Goodall, Doug Adler, Robbie Koenig commentating.
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
that's the only good reason for U.S. Men's Claycourt Championships.

The camera is like BAM right there.
Exactly. That is where the camera should be. Monte Carlo is a joke, totally unwatchable. Do they not watch their own feed?
 

TheShaun

Hall of Fame
glad i'm not the only person who has this problem. i think if the camera angle was changed that would help.
 

DJG

Semi-Pro
I have to agree that a lot of it has to do with the (crappy) camera angle. Hopefully it gets somewhat better as the week progresses. (Or hopefully we just get used to it...)
 

tzinc

Semi-Pro
so what colour should they change to: dark blue, green, neon green, black - what would work day AND night?
 

surfvland

Semi-Pro
I have a fifty inch plaz. and am experiencing the same problem. Funny when I think back on watching the Federer Gasquet final a few years ago, I remember seeing the ball fine. Someone should email the production department at the T Channel with a link to this thread.
 

dubsplayer

Semi-Pro
I have a fifty inch plaz. and am experiencing the same problem. Funny when I think back on watching the Federer Gasquet final a few years ago, I remember seeing the ball fine. Someone should email the production department at the T Channel with a link to this thread.
.

TC doesn't have anything to do with where the camera is placed. It isn't their production. It also has always been this way. And every year there is a thread about it.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Exactly. That is where the camera should be. Monte Carlo is a joke, totally unwatchable. Do they not watch their own feed?
Dude, think about it...it's Monte Carlo....only the "little people" watch their tournament on TV... ;)
 

Sentinel

Bionic Poster
Was just first watching the Seppi Calleri match - fine angle, ball v clear.

Then they shifted to Djoko-Lubricic and the angle went higher, and ball hard to make out. Can't figure who won a point often if the ball was on other side.
 

quest01

Hall of Fame
I was watching some of the Monte Carlo Masters coverage on TTC a little earlier today and I was having some difficulty seeing the ball also. The behind camera angle makes the court look about a mile long. Also trying to see the ball is like watching some of the Tennis clips on You tube.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I have to strain my eyes to catch the ball against the background. The ball disappears while in flight and shows up at the bounce. The camera also seems to be positioned too far.
 

TNT16

Semi-Pro
The broadcast from Monte Carlo has historically been the worst of the clay court season. Older SD cameras + bad camera position + standards conversion (PAL to NTSC) could be the problem(s)...
That's the answer I think - all makes sense to me - and the ball can actually be seen when the camera angle changes (on courts other than center court).

Agree with all that watching the center court matches is a game of guessing where the ball is (except for the replays which provide some relief).

Having said all that - thank God for The Tennis Channel - and them covering the tournament (even though ATP website does not show that in their worldwide TV listings) . . . I would much rather see these matches and try to guess where the ball is than not to be able to watch them at all!
 

coloskier

Legend
It was a little better today, because of the cloud cover. You could actually see the ball about 75% of the time. As soon as the sun comes out and brightens up the clay, all bets are off.
 

CEvertFan

Hall of Fame
The camera angle combined with the sun makes it extremely difficult to see the ball, no matter what type of TV you have. It was a bit better today watching the Federer/Hidalgo match only because it was overcast.
 

Ocean Drive

Hall of Fame
I realize that, and know well about speed and size of tennis balls. (?) I don't understand this comment. I've watched many matches in stadium on red clay both in Germany and France. It's what I grew up playing on.

I was just asking an opinion question for those who happened to be watching on TVs at the moment and complained of the low visibility.



Why would one make the comment that one has an eye problem because one can't see the ball well on TV? "The universe is full of dead people who lived by assumption." As mentioned above, its the type of TV that's giving the problem, not eye problems by the viewers. Of course directors wouldn't change the colour of the balls to suit viewers...who suggested that? One merely asked a question.
I am using the same kind of television and see the ball perfectly fine, people complain of this every year, DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT TELEVISION SETS, same thing, every year...new day, same problem. I have seen the ball clearly on 5 different set's in the past few years.

They have eye problems, they may need to check out the opticians.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
I am using the same kind of television and see the ball perfectly fine, people complain of this every year, DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT TELEVISION SETS, same thing, every year...new day, same problem. I have seen the ball clearly on 5 different set's in the past few years.

They have eye problems, they may need to check out the opticians.
So do you also wear a tight top with a big "S" on the chest and a cape? ;) :lol: LOL
 
TTC is using the European feed, ergo their equipment. I believe TTC is scheduled to go HiDef for the tournaments they cover and when they do, the broadcasts will be as HiDef as anyone else's.

They are also, thank the Good Lord, using Eurpean announcers.

The high angle above the court makes it impossible to see the ball. When they use a closer angle, you can see it. I have been watching Grosjean/Karlovic this morning and they are using a good angle.
I've noticed that when there's cloud cover, you can see the ball a lot better since the sun isn't reflecting off the clay (this is my theory).

By the way Rabbit, I've been reading your string reviews. Very good stuff. I'm going to be copying your Gut/Xtreme hybrid soon. Hope you're no longer forlorn.
 

canta_Brian

Rookie
Quick bump for this to celebrate the start of the clay season. I can see the players moving so I assume there is a ball there somewhere.

I know some players hated the blue clay. Any reason there couldn't be blue balls (fnar fnar)
 

canta_Brian

Rookie
If they're happy with neither Nadal nor Djokovic showing up, they could always change the colour of the clay to blue.
That's what I meant by some players not liking the blue clay. Is there any reason that tennis balls have to be yellow? I think so long as they play the same and you can get the same read of spin then it shouldn't matter what colour they are. This would allow a ball/court contrast on any tournament courts.
 

nb1234

New User
This is a real problem.

I've been speaking to a colleague of mine who deals with imaging systems (not TV for broadcast, but close enough). His opinion is that the relative reflectivity ("albedo" is term he used) of the ball is actually very close to that of the court, particularly in areas where the clay has been disturbed by foot traffic. So, even though the color of the ball isn't identical to that of the court, there's a real component of camouflaging going on (there's a hint in there for what my friend actually does). Combine this with the fact that the ball is moving over a backdrop of an irregularly reflective surface, makes it objectively harder to track.

Things that compound this are the bad camera angles at Monte Carlo and RG, and it's also worse in the bright overhead sun that you get in the middle of the day. I notice it's often easier to track later in the day or when it's cloudy. (Which by the way eliminates bad TV resolution or poor eyesight as the problem here.) I have no problem tracking balls at the US Open while sitting over twice the distance from my TV, for what that's worth.

Solutions?

I think different color balls would not fly well with the players.

If the blue clay experiment wasn't so poorly run, that might have some promise, though I'd imagine places like Monte Carlo and RG are so tradition bound they'd never change anyway. It wasn't the blueness of clay itself that was the problem, but more due to installation and salting.

I personally favor a technology based approach to augment the image of the ball via image processing. No, not the garish, gimmicky effect they tried with ice hockey back in the 90's, but a much more subtle enhancement of the ball's image rendering as it travels over the court. I'd imagine that this is easily within the possibility of mainstream TV image enhancement technology. Ideally, it'd still look just like a tennis ball, but maybe with a touch more "pop" so as to be easier for our eyes to track on the screen. This must be possible. No change to the actual ball, no change to the court. Just an improvement for the majority of us who are watching on TV.
 

canta_Brian

Rookie
This is a real problem.

I've been speaking to a colleague of mine who deals with imaging systems (not TV for broadcast, but close enough). His opinion is that the relative reflectivity ("albedo" is term he used) of the ball is actually very close to that of the court, particularly in areas where the clay has been disturbed by foot traffic. So, even though the color of the ball isn't identical to that of the court, there's a real component of camouflaging going on (there's a hint in there for what my friend actually does). Combine this with the fact that the ball is moving over a backdrop of an irregularly reflective surface, makes it objectively harder to track.

Things that compound this are the bad camera angles at Monte Carlo and RG, and it's also worse in the bright overhead sun that you get in the middle of the day. I notice it's often easier to track later in the day or when it's cloudy. (Which by the way eliminates bad TV resolution or poor eyesight as the problem here.) I have no problem tracking balls at the US Open while sitting over twice the distance from my TV, for what that's worth.

Solutions?

I think different color balls would not fly well with the players.

If the blue clay experiment wasn't so poorly run, that might have some promise, though I'd imagine places like Monte Carlo and RG are so tradition bound they'd never change anyway. It wasn't the blueness of clay itself that was the problem, but more due to installation and salting.

I personally favor a technology based approach to augment the image of the ball via image processing. No, not the garish, gimmicky effect they tried with ice hockey back in the 90's, but a much more subtle enhancement of the ball's image rendering as it travels over the court. I'd imagine that this is easily within the possibility of mainstream TV image enhancement technology. Ideally, it'd still look just like a tennis ball, but maybe with a touch more "pop" so as to be easier for our eyes to track on the screen. This must be possible. No change to the actual ball, no change to the court. Just an improvement for the majority of us who are watching on TV.
Like it. You could choose the level of effect from the "red button" menu. (does that exist outside if the UK?)
 

TearTheRoofOff

Hall of Fame
That's what I meant by some players not liking the blue clay. Is there any reason that tennis balls have to be yellow? I think so long as they play the same and you can get the same read of spin then it shouldn't matter what colour they are. This would allow a ball/court contrast on any tournament courts.
Agreed, but the blue clay DID look amazeballs.
 

nb1234

New User
Where's Waldo?

Here's what it looks like on my TV (HDTV from DirecTV here in the US, but not 4K). You can find it by looking near the ball-boy's hands, but that's some pretty effective ball camouflage. This is an un-retouched photo of my TV's screen taken with a Pixel 2 phone camera. I promise, that's about what it looks like in real-life.
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
I'm watching the matches from the Masters Monte Carlo and I can't see the ball at all because the yellow ball just blends in with the orange colored court. All I see are two guys swinging their arms and hearing the thud of the ball when it hits their racquets but I can't see where the ball is going. I have the same problem with all the European red clay tournaments, not just this one. Very frustrating.

Who else thinks they should change the color of the ball to purple or a dark blue or maybe even black so they it contrasts the color of the orange colored clay on TV much better?
I know - that's a big reason why clay is my least face surface to watch by far. Very frustrating.
 
C

Cenarius

Guest
HD and tv settings should fix the problem otherwise you should check your eyes.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
This, my friends, is why Tiriac is a billionaire and you're not. HIs idea for blue clay a few years ago in Madrid was a terrific thing that should have been continued and been an example for other tournaments.
 
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