Sunday 23 April 2023

Rally - Watching the telly

Unable to travel to Elgin for the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally I thought I would tune in to SRC TV Live on Friday evening and during Saturday. It was the first time I had watched the new championship live streaming service. A big difference from being there and in amongst the grit, glaur, excuses and the banter. It was a different experience. Very different.

I also learned a new skill. How to ‘mirror’ my mobile phone to the telly. That was another first. As someone who can better cope with points and spark plug gaps rather than ECUs, this ‘mirroring’ business was initially a most frustrating mental and patience testing kerfuffle. Somehow I managed it and the relief was enormous. The feeling of triumph was as satisfying as a pie sandwich on the way home from the in-laws’ salad lunch. Simple success amuses simple minds, eh?

On Friday evening, I settled down with an eight pack of dark chocolate Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers and a big pot of tea. First off were the interviews in Fochabers prior to the start (I thought Ashleigh was, and is, a star!)  then the action in the forests as dusk descended.

Being used to watching the WRC action on television with its variety of summarisers, commentators and interviewers plus the use of multiple cameras and camera angles both on board, outside and up in the air, there was something of a culture shock experience as I heard but didn’t see the SRC TV commentators (is that deliberate?) and there was just the one camera.

I don’t know what the set-up reminded me of but it did conjure up an image of ‘Still Game’ meets Barrie Hinchcliffe (youngsters, ask your Dads) and the result was the best bits (or the worst?) of ‘It’ll be alright on the night!’ Simple, but effective.

Thus sated, there was a repeat performance on the Saturday with a bit of stage action and end of stage interviews. Once again, the art of ‘mirroring’ was mastered. And you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mind you I can understand that there are two schools of thought on this live streaming service. There are those who don’t like it and those who love it, with very few in between. I put that down to those who don’t understand it and those who do. I suppose subtitles are out of the deal?

Oddly enough I switched over to the live coverage from Croatia on Saturday morning after the Speyside coverage and here I must admit to an ever so slight bias. Jon Desborough is a friend, so I just happen to think he’s an excellent summariser, but the professional commentators left me cold. We have to accept that those who are broadcasting on world wide television have to be politically correct these days and able to inform the sporting uneducated and the unknowledgeable while imparting news and information about the teams and crews, but it didn’t excite me. For sure the speeds are mind bending and the pictures mesmerising but the end of stage interviews reflect the professionalism of the sport at its highest levels. At times like this you miss the pithy remarks of the likes of Craig, Petter, and of course, Colin.

So it was back to the afternoon coverage of Speyside and to heck with Croatia. Back to the simplicity of one camera angle and the two curmudgeons (plus the one in the background correcting them all the time) and I loved it.

However, over the next few days the Becksport Media team will be producing more professional looking video reports from the weekend as they have done in the past and these will be worth a watch for sure. Having said that, I still like the live streaming coverage.

For sure we’d all like more cameras and more information but would we then lose the simplicity of the format? If I don’t make the next round of the series in Duns I’ll be at home with the feet up watching the telly, but I’ll be watching and listening to SRC TV, not the BRC offering.

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