Seeing the ball against red clay on TV - horrible!

nb1234

New User
Tracking a tennis ball on TV against the European red clay (Monte Carlo, RG, etc...) is really horrible. There is such little contrast between the ball and court, the ball is practically in camouflage.

No other court surface has this issue.

I really wish the tennis powers-that-be would recognize this as a real issue and do something about it. After all, TV and advertising revenue is what drives the economics of the sport.

While the blue clay experiment was a fiasco, (and really wasn't the fault of the blue top dressing, after all), at least Tiriac was onto something there.

The FoxTrack system that was created back in the late '90s for NHL ice hockey was a horrible implementation (way to gaudy, distracting, intrusive), but it had the right basic idea to make the puck more visible on TV. It's now over 20 years later, so I'm sure somebody out there can do something along these lines, albeit 100 times better, for tennis. Just a simple, subtle contrast enhancement would be great. It might not even be "noticeable" except for the fact the ball is easier to see for TV viewers. No change would be needed to the balls or court surface, so the players should have no complaints about this at all.

Thoughts?
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Bring back some blue clay. I preferred it visually, yes, but I still want some red clay. The ball was easier to see against the blue clay and it was a refreshing change-up which looked spectacular as well as being practically better for most viewers (I'd suggest). We have different coloured hard courts so why not clay. Black grass please.

And RG should always have red clay.
 

Slice'n'dice

Hall of Fame
Don't think it is a real issue personally, I only really find the ball hard to see if you've got a low quality stream. A good stream or proper TV and I don't have any issues personally and I don't think my eyes are that good.
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
Don't think it is a real issue personally, I only really find the ball hard to see if you've got a low quality stream. A good stream or proper TV and I don't have any issues personally and I don't think my eyes are that good.
Colour blind and normal eyesight not what it was. Clay is the most difficult surface to see the ball. Much better now on HD. I can still see if I'm close enough to the TV, but it is not the best if I want to relax.
 

nb1234

New User
It's not the quality of the stream as if the day is cloudy or the court has been recently watered, the contrast is much better. It's the bright sunny days where the contrast sucks. I've got a decent 42" HD (abeit not 4k) TV, with a solid feed in.

Even my 17 yr old son with the eyes of an eagle says it sucks watching on red clay on a bright day.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Tracking a tennis ball on TV against the European red clay (Monte Carlo, RG, etc...) is really horrible. There is such little contrast between the ball and court, the ball is practically in camouflage.

No other court surface has this issue.

I really wish the tennis powers-that-be would recognize this as a real issue and do something about it. After all, TV and advertising revenue is what drives the economics of the sport.

While the blue clay experiment was a fiasco, (and really wasn't the fault of the blue top dressing, after all), at least Tiriac was onto something there.

The FoxTrack system that was created back in the late '90s for NHL ice hockey was a horrible implementation (way to gaudy, distracting, intrusive), but it had the right basic idea to make the puck more visible on TV. It's now over 20 years later, so I'm sure somebody out there can do something along these lines, albeit 100 times better, for tennis. Just a simple, subtle contrast enhancement would be great. It might not even be "noticeable" except for the fact the ball is easier to see for TV viewers. No change would be needed to the balls or court surface, so the players should have no complaints about this at all.

Thoughts?
Couldn't agree more. I have broadband cable ... not streaming ... and Monte Carlo is not worth watching because of this. I'm part of the tiny demographic that actually wants to watch tennis ... and even smaller audience that wants to watch Monte Carlo. I gave up and changed the channel. If they could do the nhl thing without the halo ... they should.
 

PeteD

Legend
It's not the quality of the stream as if the day is cloudy or the court has been recently watered, the contrast is much better. It's the bright sunny days where the contrast sucks. I've got a decent 42" HD (abeit not 4k) TV, with a solid feed in.
.
I have 4k. Still sucks. Red, Green clay all suck. Madrid blue was the last time clay tennis was properly televised.
 
What's up, though. Some sports are just ready-made for broadcast. The arrangement of the field/court of play, the movement of the action, etc. The backdrops for their games haven't really changed all that much. I still don't get why tennis balls are uniformly colored. They were white. They are "optic yellow." The end. What's the opposite of "rust" on a color wheel? Dip the ball in a bucket of that color for clay season.
 

MsDeb

New User
i have a 55 inch 4k tv and i was having a bit of difficulty watching the ball. i just assumed the camera angle was bad (too high)
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
fyi ... with my DVR, I have a feature called HD Zoom.

Normal -> expand -> stretch -> zoom

I find if I do max zoom, it helps some following the ball @Monte Carlo. It is interesting where visibility is the worse. Opponents baseline corner ... not bad. Near your service line ... terrible.

Problem with full zoom is you lose much of the viewing ... score, sometimes the top of heads. :p
 

DRII

G.O.A.T.
Tracking a tennis ball on TV against the European red clay (Monte Carlo, RG, etc...) is really horrible. There is such little contrast between the ball and court, the ball is practically in camouflage.

No other court surface has this issue.

I really wish the tennis powers-that-be would recognize this as a real issue and do something about it. After all, TV and advertising revenue is what drives the economics of the sport.

While the blue clay experiment was a fiasco, (and really wasn't the fault of the blue top dressing, after all), at least Tiriac was onto something there.

The FoxTrack system that was created back in the late '90s for NHL ice hockey was a horrible implementation (way to gaudy, distracting, intrusive), but it had the right basic idea to make the puck more visible on TV. It's now over 20 years later, so I'm sure somebody out there can do something along these lines, albeit 100 times better, for tennis. Just a simple, subtle contrast enhancement would be great. It might not even be "noticeable" except for the fact the ball is easier to see for TV viewers. No change would be needed to the balls or court surface, so the players should have no complaints about this at all.

Thoughts?
so true!

although i hope its not just me getting old, because I'm noticing its hard to read writing on notes on TV now! its like they are making the words extra small...

 

mmk

Hall of Fame
But many others 'did' injured themselves. :cool:

Ball color could be interesting
Not so much this year, but last year (well, maybe two or three years ago) people were hurt playing on the red clay at Monte Carlo, and I saw a number of people falling there this year. Reportedly the blue clay problem wasn't because it was blue, it was the salt that was used. IIRC, the Monte Carlo problem was ruts.
 

JohnnyMac Fan!

Hall of Fame
Not so much this year, but last year (well, maybe two or three years ago) people were hurt playing on the red clay at Monte Carlo, and I saw a number of people falling there this year. Reportedly the blue clay problem wasn't because it was blue, it was the salt that was used. IIRC, the Monte Carlo problem was ruts.
The problem with the artificial Blue clay is that although similar to red, it was more slippery whether it was salt or other compounds it was a safety hazard, hence many players fell.
 

tenisdecente

Hall of Fame
I have 4k. Still sucks. Red, Green clay all suck. Madrid blue was the last time clay tennis was properly televised.
As far as I know, there are not live events broadcasted in 4K, let alone 1080p. They usually are broadcasted in 720p
 

Sereger

Hall of Fame
The problem with the artificial Blue clay is that although similar to red, it was more slippery whether it was salt or other compounds it was a safety hazard, hence many players fell.
I'm disappointed that they still havent overcome that issue, in the current era of countless synthesized materials and modern technology. Or did they?
 
C

Cenarius

Guest
If with a good tv and nice stream/cable the ball still isn't clear enough, you better get your eyes checked.Even in a sunny day.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
It's not the quality of the stream as if the day is cloudy or the court has been recently watered, the contrast is much better. It's the bright sunny days where the contrast sucks. I've got a decent 42" HD (abeit not 4k) TV, with a solid feed in.

Even my 17 yr old son with the eyes of an eagle says it sucks watching on red clay on a bright day.
Viewing distance is a huge factor with HD. For 42 you should be under 8 feet and as close as 5 feet for 1080p image.:confused:
 

marc45

G.O.A.T.
What's up, though. Some sports are just ready-made for broadcast. The arrangement of the field/court of play, the movement of the action, etc. The backdrops for their games haven't really changed all that much. I still don't get why tennis balls are uniformly colored. They were white. They are "optic yellow." The end. What's the opposite of "rust" on a color wheel? Dip the ball in a bucket of that color for clay season.
black balls
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
It's not an issue with the surface. It just needs to be shot and angled correctly.

Some tennis tournaments are shot at a fatiguing angle, and the mixture of camera placement and (in the case of clay) the surface colour makes the play harder to follow.

Barcelona and Acapulco both have this issue on some courts, but in this age of High Definition broadcast it's not nearly as much of an issue as it was in the past.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
It's hard to see.

Sometimes I'll get an older match on youtube and it's near impossible to find the ball.

Maybe the blue clay was a good idea after all, I didn't mind it at the time.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Eh, grass is the worst in this regard.

Court is bright green, so is the ball.

Maybe we need blue grass, that way all courts look the same.

Rebound Ace at the AO was terrible as well.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
It's not the quality of the stream as if the day is cloudy or the court has been recently watered, the contrast is much better. It's the bright sunny days where the contrast sucks. I've got a decent 42" HD (abeit not 4k) TV, with a solid feed in.

Even my 17 yr old son with the eyes of an eagle says it sucks watching on red clay on a bright day.
Strange that they can't change the color of the balls...

The color of balls was changed to what it is today a long time ago, and the purpose was to make the ball more visible. For me it just doesn't work on red clay. So I agree. White balls might show up better when they are new, but the moment they get coated with the clay, same problem...
 
Top