The Art of the Foul Ball (view this story)

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Rep: 87
Michael Fagans Aug. 11, 2010, 8:43 p.m. permalink


Again, nice project and, pun intended, nice teamwork.

There were a number of things that caught my attention: I liked the fact that you charted section, row and seat (a very baseball approach in and of itself), I liked the portraits and I liked the fact that you had help from the staff and apprentices.

My 2-D design professor from RIT taught me that boundaries or restrictions are there to help or force us be more creative. You used the restriction MLB has for video to your advantage. I would agree with you that the stills feel good in this piece and the portraits of everyone give the piece a nice feel. Your piece pulls different faces of a crowd out while keeping a common denominator. Nice work.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 11, 2010, 9:07 p.m. permalink

Thanks man,

You are a reviewing machine the past couple of days, on vacation?  I need to catch up this weekend reviewing more :-)

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans Aug. 11, 2010, 9:16 p.m. permalink

I do volunteer work for the Presbyterian Church, so I had two meetings, a family reunion/vacation in between and then another meeting. We have also had two wildfires in our county, my boss on vacation and a new intern, so my time has been pulled in many directions. I may be headed to Liberia and Sierra Leone in the fall, I should know more soon.

Keep up the good work man. I really just try to review from the bottom up ;)  The pool of stories that is, not talent or content.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 11, 2010, 9:17 p.m. permalink

Big team effort on this. We had 22 people from the paper working on this on this game July 22nd. Two reporters. 3 sports photographers doing foul ball stills, me doing interviews and producing this piece, 2 picture editors organizing everyone and many interns with point and shoot cameras watching, charting and shooting portraits of the fans who caught a foul ball.

If your interested in seeing the project on line

and how we did it check this


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 11, 2010, 9:19 p.m. permalink

LOL Michael.  Hope you get to go to Liberia and Sierra Leone, that would be a amazing trip

Rep: 6
Andrew Satter Aug. 12, 2010, 9:30 a.m. permalink

Hi Eric, you're done such a great job reviewing my videos it's time I return the favor! Great idea for a piece. With 162 games in a season you've got to find new ways to be creative and I've never seen anything like this before. Foul balls are baseballs most fleeting moment for the players, but for the fans who get one it can make even a blowout more exciting (although glad to see your Tigers pulled this one out).

I thought the execution was pretty good considering how many people you had involved and how complicated it must have been to find all of the fans and get shots of them. However, I felt the piece came across a bit too slow. I think it was starting out with narration that set the wrong tone for me. I wanted the very beginning to bring me into the action, hear the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd and then a few quick cut photos of the fans smiling with their prize. You could have slowed it down from there since you only had so many action shots, but that would have given it a nice jolt at the beginning.

One other issue I had was with your use of the Ken Burns effect. It became a bit too repetitive and predictable as the piece progressed. The first picture would zoom in, the next would zoom, then the third would zoom in, the fourth out and so on. If you are going to do Ken Burns you need to vary it up, throw in some pans and tilts and even vary the pace of the effect. But you also need to make sure that you are zooming or tilting for a reason. Ken Burns is meant to evoke a feel or add excitement or suspense and I didn't feel like the elements in the image you chose to zoom in or out on really helped tell the story.

But those are pretty minor points and over all it was very good. Looks like you have all of your stuff on Vimeo so I can go check out even more of your work.


Rep: 3
Brian Tankersley Aug. 12, 2010, 5:41 p.m. permalink

Hey Eric,
I really liked the approach to this story, great idea! What a commitment by all the photogs, and the station for letting you do this. The action shots of the players catching the foul ball are very impressive.

I thought that it was bit slow in narration and pace and I wanted to hear more from those who got the foul ball.

I think your tracks could be edited down. I don't know how important the date of the story is.  How about starting with fans yelling and screaming "yeah we won" "5 to 2" Track: Leaving fans happy. More nats. Track: But some fans left with more than a win. Fan: "A foul ball!"

I think you could set them up to tell the story. If the surprise is that they caught the foul ball, let them say it. Maybe string a couple quick " I got a ball" to quicken the pace. The picture montage revealed the surprise before we heard it. Would that have worked better later in the piece when you mention 32 balls being the average? Maybe have them say the section, row, and seat. The guy at :47, I thought you were going have your track about him making a call to the bullpen. At 1:18, to tighten it up, cut "one way to get a foul ball."  You've already established the theme, and it seemed redundant at that point. The brother and sister were great, you got a real "moment" with them.  At 2:08 I thought your track was setting up the man for a bite, and then you go to Ricky. It felt odd to me. How about sliding some nats under the entire piece, there were sections that had none. Personally, I don't like ending with seeing an on-camera interview, how about a ball?

I hope this doesn't come off as sounding to critical...just my 2 cents.
I thought it was a really cool idea!


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 12, 2010, 6:50 p.m. permalink

Thanks Andrew and Brian, good points all around.

I edited it several different ways before going with this as the final.

Your comments didn't come off critical at all guys. That's what great about this site and the reviews, so many different ways to do an edit and people bringing in how they see it and would do it if it were in their hands.


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