Use of Flash During NBA Finals

First, I don’t watch a lot of NBA basketball. I only watch the playoffs.

Tonight I was watching game 3 of the Finals, and I started noticing that my TV picture was glitching every time someone shot the ball. Portions of the screen were going pixelly, and the screen was splitting and freezing.

Then I realized it was coinciding with camera flashes. Then I became aware of all the camera flashes going off during high action scenes. The flashing is huge and obnoxious. It feels the entire screen, and I have a 52" Samsung LCD.

Where were they coming from, and why have I never noticed this before? I watched all of March Madness and never noticed it. I’ve been watching the NBA Playoffs this year and never noticed it.

If you look at the pro photographers sitting on the floor under the baskets, you won’t see them using flashes. ($10,000 cameras don’t need them, and anyway a head-on flash would wash out the subject.)

It can’t be cameras in the audience. When you see the crowd, you never see a camera flash, and, anyway, no little point and shoot is going to have a flash that is going to wash out my TV, much less light up the action from so far away.

During slow motion replays, the flashes are extremely obvious, and they appear to come from overhead because the tops of players’ heads are lit up.

I called a friend and talked about it. He wasn’t home, but said he’d check it out. As soon as he got home and turned on the game, he called me and said he had never noticed the flashing, and now it was all he could see.

I couldn’t even concentrate on the game! I also noticed during the Spider Man movie commercials, they showed NBA clips, and the flashing was going on then, too. Has this always been occurring, and I only now have noticed it?

I had this problem as well last night but I didn’t even think of it being cameras flashing. My conclusions were it had something to do with the ABC HD broadcast, someone told me that they ABC HD re encodes to 60fps and something about their bit rate being low compared to TNT HD. Then I also thought it might have something to do with the fact that I use a TV tuner in my PC and I watch TV through there and the fact that ABC HD doesn’t come from from my cable provider but from the QAM tuner inside my TV which then has to travel from HDMI to PC to somehow synchronize with Media Center and the rest of my cable channels on the TV tuner… I think at least, I really don’t know how it actually works.

I do remember one part where it pixelated real heavy and even froze the picture\broadcast where I had to change the channel and come back to watch it again. I do agree though, it was especially bad last night. I wonder if cameras flashing had anything to do with it as well since you mentioned it.

Missed the edit time sorry…

I always have noticed the flashing too in slow motion but I’ve always thought they were just from cameras in the crowd or even something in the broadcasting (why do we only notice it in Slo-Mo?)… The crowd is pretty much overhead of the players anyway and if you visit and view all the pictures taken from them, most (if not all) come from the sideline photographers.

My understanding is they generally use strobes mounted in the rafters, triggered wirelessly.

More info here.

Yes, trying to capture action indoors without the aid of overhead flash is a frustrating endeavor. Indoor arenas are much darker than people realize. I’ve done it (I shot sports for a newspaper for 5 or so years), but you sacrifice a lot of quality in the photo to get the shot that way. Now that cameras can shoot really high ISO values, it’s getting easier, but still tough.

Blinding the players with head-on flash is frowned on for obvious reasons, and it wouldn’t get you the shot you wanted anyway. You’d get your subjects in light, but it would look like they were playing the game in dusk conditions otherwise. If you’ve ever seen hockey photos from the 60s likethis, you know that’s what’s happening. You blast out the foreground and the background stays dark.

Well, that explains it. I don’t see how I possibly could’ve missed strobes firing during basketball games.

And I don’t know how I could ever watch a game again.

I know this is an old thread. I’m having this same problem currently in all 3 games with the heat v.s spurs in the finals. How are we suppose to watch the game? How can someone watch the game with white flashes in your screen every 2-5 seconds. I have tried many optimal settings on my tv and nothing has made it better. I got a 43 samsung plasma tv. Once i noticed these flashes i haven’t watched a game yet because its impossible.

Turkey chits. Left at Ashburn.