Towards Gliding on TV
I have seen the future, and it is on Google Earth.
The 2013 European Gliding Championship is broadcast live at http://www.livetrack24.com/tasks/1005 although this is not the first time this has happened, it is a good example of where we should be heading in gliding.
Gladiators of the Sky set the example of what was possible in 2007. Now we can see this the same system in the comfort of your own home. A few more elements are needed to bring the whole package together. And we should take inspiration from other long distance sports already popular on TV, specifically Formula 1 and Cycling.
- Commentators: gliding needs to be accessible, and that means we need people to explain what is happening. This can easily be done. It also allows the duller moment to be interspersed with analysis.
- Mini documentaries: a series of 1-2 minute mini documentaries which can be played when not to much is happening.
- Helicopter Filming: this should come later once funding has been secured, but video from helicopters looks fantastic, as Gladiators of the Sky showed. These should include interviews with pilots, team, etc and short explanations of gliding theory relevant the the competition.
- In glider video: cheaper than using a helicopter, and almost as good, this would provide the pilots eye view.
- Improved Graphics: the bulk of any gliding competition is going to be virtual. Gladiators did a better job than Google Earth on smoothing the traces so they look more natural. But the mess of tracks can still be confusing. Seeing the traces also misses some of the interesting comparisons regarding rates of climb and relative positions.
I’m pleased to see the progress being made on making gliding completions more accessible. And I hope to see more in the future.