Friday Night Lights Forums

The 101 (ended 2011)

Does the camera work ever improve?

  • Avatar of mattyg1306

    mattyg1306

    [1]Jun 3, 2011
    • member since: 05/01/05
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    I just watched the first couple of episodes of "Friday Night Lights" for the first time during the show's very brief stint on ABC Family a while back. Although the show seemed like it might be good, the EXTREMELY crappy camera work was so distracting that it removed me from the show on several occasions. Now that the original run of the series is over, maybe someone could let me know if the camera work changes and improves as the show moves on, or is like this for the entire run? I am considering buying the DVDs, but if the camera work stays so horrible, I doubt I would ever finish season one, let alone the other four seasons.


    I will add that I make YouTube videos with MUCH better camera work than this and I'm a total amateur and taught myself everything I know (like USE A TRIPOD, HARNESS, DOLLY, AND/OR CRANE!)...what was the point of making it so rough? It certainly doesn't add any effect to the show (and, in this case, I don't buy that the camera was "another character" in this show...if it is, its on crack...BAD crack!)...it only takes away! Had they only filmed it like "Everwood" or "One Tree Hill", this would be so much more enjoyable. Even most reality shows I've watched have better camera work!

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  • Avatar of TVGord

    TVGord

    [2]Jun 8, 2011
    • member since: 06/16/05
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    The camera work is a stylistic choice for the show, and no it doesn't change. Personally, I love it. It's meant to make us feel as though we're another person in the room, observing what's going on (simulating a head that would be looking around the room while things are going on). I'm sorry that you don't enjoy it, because you're missing out on one of the best shows on TV.

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  • Avatar of mattyg1306

    mattyg1306

    [3]Jun 9, 2011
    • member since: 05/01/05
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 163

    TVGord wrote:


    The camera work is a stylistic choice for the show, and no it doesn't change. Personally, I love it. It's meant to make us feel as though we're another person in the room, observing what's going on (simulating a head that would be looking around the room while things are going on). I'm sorry that you don't enjoy it, because you're missing out on one of the best shows on TV.



    You wouldn't happen to be Gord from tvshowsondvd would you? Cool The fact is, I did see the show during its brief stint on ABC Family, but I actually purchased Season One when it was first released in 2007 and just came across it the other day (if you really are Gord, you might have caught me up in a little white lie above because I wrote to you to tell you about the "Wal-Mart Exclusive" First Half/Second Half Season One box sets back in '07). I had stopped watching after the first couple episodes because of the aforementioned camera snafu. I'm sorry, I think the "stylistic" camera work excuse is a cop out that the producers made...they could have done better...at least like the movie version. However, now that I have actually taken the DVDs out of storage and sat down and watched season one, I do have to say the camera work did improve-to some extent, at least-from the initial episodes. My real "problem" is when members of the cast are in some really important dialog, but you can't see their faces because the camera is shaking and shaking and shaking and pointlessly out of focus etc. I can understand them switching the shot back and forth and looking at different objects in the room and what not to add to the setting, but the shaking and bad focus is unnecessary.


    Anyway, after watching the whole first season of episodes, I did decide to look past the camera work and go ahead and purchase the rest of the DVDs. I am actually desperately waiting for them to arrive in the mail...I'm excited to see how they get Coach Taylor out of his contract with TMU and back to coaching the Panthers. I will agree with those who compared it to one of my favorite shows, "Everwood" (football is to "Friday Night Lights" what medicine is to "Everwood"; and THAT show had truly BEAUTIFUL photography!) from a writing/directing/acting standpoint. Someone at NBC must have REALLY loved this show, too, because decent shows like this really don't normally last past their initial seasons on network TV (I can't imagine the talks that must have taken place for NBC Universal to shop their own show to DirecTV in order to save its life rather than turn their back on it). I'm glad that at least one underdog show got to be saved and run its course. I've always wondered what that would be like...now I can find out.


    "Friday Night Lights" is great, but I think you will probably agree with me that it is definitely one of those shows that you must watch without constant interruption (commercials etc.). I had actually watched the series premiere during its original broadcast, but couldn't follow it...it really is all of the critical praise and fan testimony that made me take a second look at all. It is so well written and woven together that you have to pay full attention and can't "half watch" it while doing something else.

    Edited on 06/09/2011 6:53am
    Edited 5 total times.
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  • Avatar of mattyg1306

    mattyg1306

    [4]Jun 26, 2011
    • member since: 05/01/05
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    Well, I just finished watching the final episode, and must say that this show now goes down as one my all-time favorites. I'm glad that I got past the camera work and continued to watch and get interested in the characters and their unique storylines. Although it was a little hard to watch the first few episodes of season four with all the changes in both casting and in the setting itself, I did get used to it for the most part, although I did kind of miss the old cast and was disappointed that so many were written out and never seen again. However, it is realized that the producers probably did that intentionally to give the viewer a "realistic" feeling that we have in life...people DO graduate and move on with their lives, and people we once saw every day completely disappear from our daily lives. I did appreciate that they at least made some references to the prior characters in the later episodes (i.e. footage of "Smash" Williams on TV; one time guest spots of Lyla Garrity and Jason Streets, etc.).


    There are some aspects of the show that I question the realism of. I don't live in Texas, and, for that matter, have never even set foot there, but having attended high school in a middle class town like most Americans, I have to wonder if there really is such a place that is THAT centered on High School football. I mean, college football and the NFL have fans all over, but when I was in HS, fans of the football team were usually limited to just the parents and friends of the players, as well as some (but most definitely not all) of the teams' classmates. Never was it talked about constantly on the radio or on TV, and never was there a day where the football team was all that anybody talked about in the hallways or at the bar (also, it seemed the underage drinking was completely glossed over in the show...like it was normal for people like Tim Riggins to show up to practice drunk and for that to be okay). If this were about a collegiate team, it would be totally believable, but being high school, it seems a little exaggerated. Another unrealistic aspect is how when the schools split at the end of season three/beginning of season four, the financial standing of the new school seemed to be a little less than realistic. Granted, there are places where money is harder to come by than others, but usually high schools that are within the same district receive equal...or at least, nearly equal...funding for all of their respective programs (I actually live in a town that is a LOT like Dillon...we do have two high schools, one East, the other West, and they do usually seem to get equal funding, and even have similar athletic and fine arts programs. Each student has about the same opportunities regardless of which school they attend). Also, there was some recruiting done in one of the earlier seasons that occurred on the high school level (they went recruiting middle school students), which TOTALLY doesn't make sense because the students' high school is decided by where they live...in fact, it doesn't even really jive with the same laws that are forefronted in the early season four episodes where Luke is forced to move from the Panthers to the Lions! I think product placement was extensive but still done tastefully for the most part, making the show seem more real for having it (I must admit that I almost missed seeing an Applebee's scene in every episode after they dropped their sponsorship for seasons four and five!Tongue out ).


    Moving on, I really feel that I enjoyed and followed the series much better having watched it on DVD rather than on TV, as, no matter what anyone says, some of the story is lost on viewers when they have to sit through commercial breaks and weeks-and sometimes months-long breaks between episodes. I ragged on the rough camera work in an earlier post, and it IS ridiculously rough sometimes, but I did end up answering my own inquiry and the camera work DOES improve some as the first season progresses (there are more pan shots and group shots and fewer shaky ECU's). Picture and sound quality was great for the most part, although I will say that the picture quality of the final season DVD is lacking greatly and is very grainy (it looks like it would have if I recorded it myself from TV). Since I didn't watch the original broadcasts, I didn't really notice any music replacement that may have occurred, but it didn't really seem to be a very music driven show like some others that I have seen...only maybe one or two "real" songs per episode--if that.


    The series finale itself did seem to tie up most story lines well, and it ended really in a predictable way. It was sad that the storyline between Landry and Tyra was not addressed at all (Jesse Plemons, in fact, only appeared in one short scene, and the scene wasn't even about him but rather he was helping Matt rehearse how he was going to approach Coach about marrying his daughter). Although I didn't totally "buy" the Landry-Tyra storyline to begin with--especially the way they ended up together with the murder and all--they still were the couple that most viewers probably rooted for the most (personally, I think it would have made MUCH more sense if Tim would have ended up with Lyla Garrity, and Tyra with Landry...Tim and Tyra don't really make sense together). I also don't understand why Coach was so down on Matt marrying his daughter Julie...Matt is really the kinda guy that most fathers DREAM would marry their daughter...he's very responsible, doesn't seem to do drugs/drink/smoke, and never really cheated on Julie that I can recall (in fact, it really didn't seem that he even dated anyone else while away in college!). I can understand why he would have been against them marrying so young, but it would have made more sense if he would have said "I would be okay with you marrying her once you are BOTH out of college", not that he would NEVER support them even if 'the sun burned out'.


    Anyway, overall, a GREAT series that I do agree is even better than the early seasons of "One Tree Hill", and does share a parallel with "Everwood"'s style as I wrote in a previous post. In fact, I will say that "Friday Night Lights" was much less soapy than most teen dramas...heck it only seemed like someone kissed once in every other episode. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The WB lineup of olde...it is the closest any major network will ever come (actually, the ratings were even similar to those that The CW now receives...to the point the show would have been cancelled if they wouldn't have reached a shared production agreement with DirecTV).

    Edited on 06/26/2011 10:37pm
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