Replay video in Michigan Stadium

Submitted by Section 1 on September 9th, 2012 at 6:27 PM

After a full year of our big new scoreboards, some of the problems are more glaring than ever.

Stadium sound = improved.  It couldn't be anything other than an improvement, over the 1950's technology that previously existed until 2008, and the "pardon our dust" inadequacies in '08 and '09.

Video quality = nice.  They are big boards.  We have two.  Nice.

The rest leaves a lot to be desired.  I am beginning to have a hard time believeing it is just me, when I find the stats column so hard to read; I used to think that I was just so used to the old boards with analog-lit digits, that it was just old habits.  After a year-plus, I no longer think so.  They really ought to be thinking about a redesign.

Which brings me to my big gripe - video replays of football action.  They are about as bad as they could possibly be.  I don't know how much of it is deliberately bad; some of it certainly is.  The specific complaints:

  • No replay of plays under review or controversial calls.  This is "deliberate" insofar as it is in large part B1G policy.  A completely crappy policy that ought to be reviewed and promptly reversed.  (If anybody can find the citation to the official conference rule, I'd be grateful.)  The SEC (whose refs are 1000% better than B1G refs) has reversed its old policy on the subject: 
  • Replay that is essentially a kind of isolation-view on individual players.  Lots of smart football fans complain about standard television video, which never shows all 22 players on the field, as is the case with game film used by coaches.  Michigan Stadium video replay actually goes in the opposite direction, with video that shows almost nothing more than one player carrying the football.  A nice Wall Street Journal writeup on "All-22 film": 
  • Inefficient use of the boards.  Our new scoreboards, all-digital of course, were supposed to be a big advantage in that they could show monster-sized HD video and then switch back to score-and-stats at the click of a mouse.  And so they do.  If it were up to me, I'd do more split-screen views, with the numbers column remaining up and part of the screen doing video and replay.  You can save the monster-view for big replays on disputed calls, etc.



September 9th, 2012 at 11:06 PM ^

From where I sat, I thought it wasn't a catch, but I agree with Section 1.  There is a real paucity of replays and I found myself looking at the scoreboard for down and yards to go info and it does not stand out.  At the very least, use different colors. for down and yards to go titles.

snarling wolverine

September 9th, 2012 at 6:38 PM ^

1.  They actually did replay the Gardner pass/drop multiple times.  That surprised me; I didn't think they were allowed to.  I have no complaints there.

2.  I think they get the same feed as the TV networks.  Not sure if they've got a different one (other than the "Big House Cam," which probably isn't in position to show replays of the game).

3.  I agree completely with this one.  They should keep it on the split-screen with the stats at all times during the game.  That split-screen still reserves about 75% of the screen for video, anyhow.

BTW, I'm not sure if it's been noted, but there seemed to be a lot less RAWK played yesterday, which I liked.


September 9th, 2012 at 8:20 PM ^

I think this is your answer.  I'm not sure what they installed when they built those screens and suites, but I don't remember hearing anything about any sort of video production rooms.  To do their own replays, Michigan would need to staff around 15-30 video production personnel for a football gameday -- camera ops, spotters, production assistants, directors, tape ops, video shaders, engineers, etc.  Not to mention, they'd need around a million in camera/video equipment to make use of all of those people, and then you've got pay them all.

So...rather than shelling out millions so they can show a few extra replays, they probably just go with whatever TV gives them, and have a couple of students roll back whatever TV shows.  And the one-replay is standard practice across all sports/leagues.  Its so it doesn't create an unfair/hostile environment for the refs.

Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 8:55 PM ^

That was a specific part of the Stadium renovation and the inevitable scoreboard replaecment.  With at least some Stadium-produced video content.  (Celebrity/honoree guests, fans with painted faces in the front rows, pregame flyovers, rocketmen, eagles, parachutes, etc.)

The Michigan Sports Television Production Studio is on-premises.



September 9th, 2012 at 10:22 PM ^

they have alternate feeds. I just purchased a fanvision and paid for the UM service. I felt it was a reasonable purchase as I can use it at a number of other venues, but it had the TV feed, the scoreboard feed, 50 yard line feed, high endzone, 25 yardline cart  etc. So if a small handheld LED device can pick up that broadcast, doing the same on the scoreboard should be a no brainer.


September 9th, 2012 at 6:34 PM ^

I was pissed yesterday when they were recognizing everyone that was invovled with the flyover. Except, how do you recognize them, without saying their names! I was upset by that.

Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 7:16 PM ^

If I am wrong (I looked for and could not find a link to any B1G source), so be it.  All that does, is add to the pressure directly placed on Michigan Stadium staff over this issue.  If indeed we are not getting all of the replays, and good replays, because Michigan Stadium staff aren't giving it to us, then there is all the more reason for this thread.  And to put pressure on them to change.

Having been to games in East Lansing and Madison, I know that they show a lot more replay than does Michigan.  OSU and Northwestern only a little more.  I can't think of anywhere in the conference that does less video replay work than Michigan.


September 9th, 2012 at 6:37 PM ^

Pipped in music was limited to non existant, only played seven nation army once or twice.  No Eminem, Sweet Caroline, Pop Evil, Journey, or random techno beats.

Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 7:17 PM ^

My rule is, whatever the MMB plays is fine.  The Michigan Marching Band can play Led Zepplin, or Glen Miller, or R.E.M., and it is fine by me.  Neil Diamond singing  Sweet Caroline in Michigan Stadium makes me want to shoot out the speakers.

I Heart Huckleby

September 9th, 2012 at 6:38 PM ^

It is apparently much safer and just as exciting to show fireworks on the screens during the MMB halftime show. I especially like when the fake fireworks audio drowns out the band. Super patriotic!!


snarling wolverine

September 9th, 2012 at 6:59 PM ^

Hilarious.  But there were many people around me who noted this.  The scoreboard would go to full-screen mode and keep it there for literally 2-3 minute stretches, during which no game information (score, time, down, yardage, timeouts, etc.) was visible anywhere to spectators.  That's not a good use of technology.  


September 9th, 2012 at 7:06 PM ^

Moreover, most people attend the game in person for a reason.  I don't need pictures of what is currently occuring on the field, I can see it with my own damn eyes, thank you very much.  Replays are good in some circumstances, but I don't need to see a two yard gain on a run between the tackles three times over.  They need to keep the same information up, in the same places on the screen for the whole game.  I always lose track of where the relevant information is because the screen keeps changing their position too quickly. 


Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

There is actually too much of what you don't like -- video of nondescript plays just running on like the boards were great big television sets tuned into the game we are watching live.  (Except they get turned off on all of the good replays.)  I don't like that any more than you do.

And there is too little of what really is meaningful for people there, live -- full screen, hi-def video replay of disputed or controversial calls, and video that does anything other than spotlighting one single player doing something obvious that everybody already saw.  People watching their tv's at home get that.  Why should Stadium patrons not get that?

The kind of video that I am talking about, is the kind of video that I think Stadium officials, for unclear reasons, do not want to show us.

Last year in Spartan Stadium, we did not see the video of Gholston wrenching Denard Robinson's face mask.  And there were no replays of Marcus Rush's injury-producing personal foul on Denard.  I suppose that I wouldn't expect any different there, in their building.  But if those same plays happened in Michigan Stadium; well...

And that raises another technical point to be introduced and that is whether, and how, the Stadium boards might be able to show video from the television feed, or whether they are constrained to use Stadium-originated content.  That's really a much bigger deal, that we haven't yet discussed.  There is a technical answer on that one, that I won't pretend to know.


September 9th, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

  • To your first point, I agree. I wish they would replay plays once the review of the play was already under question. I understand that you don't want to do it if there hasn't been a challenge or an official review because you don't want to prompt the other coach or officials to do so. But I do with they would show us more replays of important events.
  • I haven't noticed a huge problem with the plays they do show. During the game, if I can't see well enough, I find the video screens provide a great alternative.
  • I disagree almost 100%. I wish they would make the video larger and the stat column smaller. As it stands, a huge portion of the screen is essentially wasted space. They could take all of the stats and put them in the smaller boards underneath the big boards and have enough space to show what is needed. If they wanted to take up a small bar at the bottom of the screen + the lower one, that would be fine as well. They could even increase the size of the font they use so it's easier to see. There's a ton of space that's just simply wasted in the graphic they currently use. Why have huge HD video boards if you're going to waste them on fairly static graphics? You could do that with a non-digital board for all I care.


September 9th, 2012 at 8:15 PM ^

The stats/ score needs to have it's own dedicated board. Whether it be video or like the old boards, something should be done. If a new board can be put in outside the stadium and point at Stadium Blvd, then something can be done to make it a better viewing experience