ABC Network: WTF? Get your act together!

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m trying to watch ABC’s broadcast of the NBA game: Phoenix vs. San Antonio (my hometown - GO SPURS GO!) on the east coast.

Several times when they cut back from commercial breaks, I’ve noticed the opening shots are fuzzy and out of focus.

This isn’t an isolated incident. I watch Jeopardy! on ABC every day, and usually when they’re doing the intro for the first (or sometimes second) contestant, the picture is fuzzy.

What’s up with this? Does the cameraman have glaucoma or what? It happens on ESPN sometimes as well. (Maybe they ought to give him something, eh? :wink: )

These networks are all under the same umbrella corporation - at least, I think they are. So there’s got to be some common factor why all these networks go “fuzzy” every once in a while.

I suspect there’s a cameraman out there who’s some bigwig VP’s dad that they can’t fire. So they just deal with him.

Does anybody else notice this or am I just going barking mad?

…woof woof…

I’ve never noticed this.

If Jeopardy is coming in fuzzy, it means the local station is having the problem. What city do you live in? ABC only owns stations in the largest cities. In most towns, a separate company owns the television station and has a contract with a network to broadcast their programming. The station is responsible for buying its own broadcasting equipment.

It also may be your cable company, many of which still aren’t equipped to send a signal in true HD. A lot of commercials on cable channels are placed on by the cable company. What may be happening is that it takes a few moments after the guy sitting in front of a bunch of monitors who flips the switch that switches the channel from commercials to regular programming for the signal to warm up.

The game is just about over, and it’s been doing it the whole time. I don’t think it’s my cable company (Comcast - PTUI! <splat>) I think it’s ABC.

I believe Disney (aka The Mouse) owns ESPN, ABC and some other channels. I don’t know them all.

It’s the same thing on all these networks.

Moving thread from MPSIMS to Cafe Society.

Jeopardy is produced by Merv Griffin Productions at NBC Studios. I guarantee you they aren’t sharing any equipment or staff with ABC Sports or ESPN.

ETA: Actually, it looks like they moved from NBC Studios to Sony Pictures sometime in the last two decades. I should pay more attention. :stuck_out_tongue:

Regardless whether it is Sony or ABC, I still don’t think it’s just me. I see this all the time. I especially don’t like it when they do it during sports events. They do it on Jeopardy! every day, and I can’t figure it out. I just don’t like it.

I didn’t watch the Spurs, but this happened throughout the Nuggets/Lakers game that followed. It was maddening. Never noticed it on ABC before.

Thank you for the verification! I knew it wasn’t just me! I knew I wasn’t going crazy!

… actually, I think I’ve been crazy for quite a while, but that’s quite beside the point.
The POINT is: ABC network has been doing this forever, and nobody else notices it. That’s all I wanted to say. I guess I also want to say to ABC that they should fix this.

That’s enough out of me.

ABC owns stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Fresno, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco-San Jose,

Since the switch to digital TV some stations have had trouble with their codecs and configuring the signals. It can also be caused by running too many channels at once. Usually two high def channels at 720p are OK, but one 1080i and is usually it for high def. You can add some SD channels in there.

But it really depends on the codecs the stations are running whether or not they compress and decompress fast enough.

Or if you have cable you also have the cable company compressing the signal as well.

I think UBW is describing individual shots sometimes appearing blurry, as opposed to the entire broadcast.

There are a few reasons for this. One, the cameraman is looking through a (usually) black and white 3" viewfinder. Sometimes, if someone is moving a lot, like in a basketball game, they can move out of the focal distance of the lens. The cameraman needs to be aware of this and adjust focus accordingly. Normally, even on the tiny viewfinders, this is easy enough to notice and correct, but if someone just barely moves out of focus, the cameraman might miss it.

A second reason is that the camera might be set to autofocus. Autofocus generally works very, very well - as long as the camera decides to focus on what you want. However, the camera might focus on the floor three feet behind the player, and he’d appear a little bit soft.

So, why does the technical director still take a fuzzy shot? He might not notice it’s soft either in the control room. Generally, you might be splitting an input between several channels on its way to the preview and program monitors. For instance, I work in a control room where camera 3’s feed is always sent to 3 different monitor windows; it looks fuzzy and out of focus on all three of them as a result of being split. Because of that, I’m used to camera 3 looking fuzzy on the preview monitor, and expect it to look fine when I actually take that camera’s shot. Sometimes it actually is a little out of focus, so I take another shot and remind my camera operator to check their critical focus.

There’s no reason for this to be happening on a show like Jeopardy, though. Their cameras are most likely robotic and controlled from the control room, and the contestants don’t move around, so once you set critical focus, you should be fine for the entire show. Sounds like somebody just messed up if you saw an out-of-focus shot there.