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Soccer's Bermuda Triangle Of TV Camera Angles


Fans of association football will have all experienced this at one time or another. When watching a match on TV, there’s a specific camera angle that’s diagonal to the goal where it looks like the ball is going near the net, only to find out that the ball goes up and is sent in the opposite direction away from goal.

I’ve watched more than a thousand matches on TV in my lifetime and I still find myself jumping up for joy at what looks like a clear shot or header on goal only to sheepishly turn away and hope that no one saw how silly I was. The ball actually heads up and slightly to the camera, not away from it.

It’s what I call the Bermuda Triangle of soccer TV camera angles where strange things happen. It’s so annoying and happens once or twice in every three to four matches I watch.

A perfect example of this phenomenon was in the 51st minute of the Croatia against Turkey game when Olic raced in to the box to head the ball past Turkish goalkeeper Rustu. The ball went up into the air and over the goalie’s head. It looked to be heading into the net only for it to go straight up and slightly away from goal.

Can anyone explain this phenomenon and why it happens?

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  1. England Fan

    June 21, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Do you notice the effect more when you are willing the ball to go in the net? i.e. When you want you team to score????

  2. the guy with the thing

    June 20, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    The camera, being a single lens, effectively eliminates your depth perception; it’s the equivalent of covering your non-dominant eye and watching a game live that way.

    Thus, the only way you can tell if the ball is going towards or away from you is based on its size (if it’s getting bigger, it’s obviously moving towards you.) Since the camera is so far from the pitch, you can’t discern at that speed which direction the ball is going.

    The same thing happens often in baseball, even to players on the field; because the ball is so small, hard fouls backwards often look like line drives / hard ground balls forward.

  3. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    yeah, the ball being round and not a certain shape also affects this because you cannot see it turning and changing angles for you to view it. sux, but hey what can you do? does an hd feed do the same?

  4. LemmusLemmus

    June 20, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I think the simple answer is that TV’s two-dimensional. This never happens if you watch a game in the stadium.

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