A lesson in how to direct a motor race

Today’s MotoGP championship decider has itched out all emotions, ranging from jubilation to disgust, depending on which side of the fence you are on. But that is not the subject of this blog, there are many writers out there that will no doubt discuss the ramifications of past three weeks across the winter months.

This post is about one topic: the direction from Dorna. On many occasions, I have typed up words about the lack of coherent direction from multiple racing series, whether it is a battle for the lead that has been missed, or angles that served no purpose. It is important also to recognise when the pictures are spot on. Today, was that day.

You had Jorge Lorenzo at the front. You had Valentino Rossi at the back, looking to carve his way through the field. A near impossible job for the director was made to look easy. As a motor racing fan, at too many points this year have myself and others been shouting at races, for directors to focus on the right bit of the action. Dorna seamlessly went from shot to shot in Valencia, like a musical that hit every note pinch perfect. They displayed a master-class, from the first corner right through to chequered flag.

The helicopter cut as the bikes made their way off the grid would have been ridiculed under normal circumstances. But today was no normal circumstances. What the helicopter shot showed was the progress that Rossi had made in a short period of time and was used effectively throughout the first couple of laps. Dorna captured the majority of Rossi’s moves live, whilst also keeping one eye on the action at the front of the field. The graphics helped put the action into context: the live championship standings, plus the gap between Rossi and Lorenzo, later Rossi and Pedrosa. I thought Dorna were close to faultless today, handling the first portion of the race extremely well.

It was a pleasure and a relief to be shouting at the TV, not at the poor direction for once, but at the characters on the track telling the story.

Other series, take note.

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4 thoughts on “A lesson in how to direct a motor race

  1. When you see poor directing there are normally 1 to 4 key reasons for it.

    1. Incompetence.

    2. Self indulgence – Some directors like to visually pleasure themselves above the importance of the output and will shoot what they want, when they want it. If you ever question this they’ll imply you have no creativity and their vision is everything.

    3. Commercial Considerations – These could be anything from getting in a certain ad board in shot, to showing the exec producers kids in the stand. Often at large events directors are given a huge list of dos and don’ts that ruin their output.

    4. No Passion – This is probably the biggest problem with motorsport coverage. Unlike many sports, especially ball sports where you just follow the action, motorsport fans are highly knowledgeable and expect to see the full story.

    Unfortunately far too often motorsport is covered by ‘jobbing’ directors with no passion or understanding of the sport. They might do F1 one week and darts the next, the ability to cover darts (one of the simplest sports to cover ever created) and the insight required for an F1 race are worlds apart.

  2. As a side note, you know I love you David, but that’s not the correct use of the term ‘on point’ which is used inappropriately daily and makes me weep.

    On point doesn’t mean accurate, focused or exceptional it means ‘to be at the front’.

  3. If you’re interested, ‘on point’ is a military term for the infantryman at the front of a formation. If you can’t transpose ‘on point’ for ‘at the front’ then a sentence is bobbins.

    So when some stupid fashion blogger says Emma Watson’s handbag colour is ‘on point’ then obviously if you write, ‘Emma Watson’s handbag colour is at the front’ it sounds like you’re a moron, which you would be!

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