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02-24-2015, 07:10 AM   #1
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Question: Arena-wide fill-flash?

So the other evening I found myself at a professional hockey game, and I noticed something strange ( to me at least ) and also rather annoying.

Every once and awhile, during play, a "flash" lightbulb would go off that seemed to fill the entire arena. After looking around a bit, I saw that the lightbulb(s) were actually located in the rafters above the arena. Further investigation and observation seemed to reveal that the flashes were in fact working with the professional photographer on duty, who had a nice spot to shoot between the two team's benches.

Arena-wide flash? Is this a "thing"? How do the flashes communicate with the photographer's camera?

02-24-2015, 07:34 AM   #2
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A setup like that was almost certainly hardwired in when they built/upgraded the stadium itself. I can't imagine a photographer being allowed to climb the rafters to set his gear up, and that sounds like it was a LOT of work.

My guess is its wired (or wireless) and controlled remotely by whoever is the arena's photographer at the time.

Which stadium was this, if I may ask?
02-24-2015, 07:35 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by oculus Quote
.......Arena-wide flash? Is this a "thing"? How do the flashes communicate with the photographer's camera?
With Pocket Wizard wireless (radio) triggers. Take a look at the camera ...you will see the Pocket Wizard in the hot shoe.
02-24-2015, 07:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by oculus Quote
Arena-wide flash? Is this a "thing"?
Yes... quite a common thing for these type of events.

QuoteOriginally posted by oculus Quote
How do the flashes communicate with the photographer's camera?
Radio triggers.

02-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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Many thanks for the replies. Useful for the photographer, but quite annoying for the spectator!
02-24-2015, 07:59 AM   #6
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Were you actually distracted by the flashes? With all the other flashing lights and sirens going off at a typical pro sports event, I don't think I've ever noticed the big strobes going off unless I was looking right at them.

Here's the always interesting Strobist post about lighting up a basketball game with little speedlights:

Strobist: On Assignment: Speedlighting a College Gym

(He does mention the house lights being in use by the staff photographer)
02-24-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Were you actually distracted by the flashes?
Distracted is not the right word; but I did have a hard time ignoring them after I noticed them. If one attends such events regularly, one probably does not notice them as much.

Incidentally, what benefit exactly does the photographer gain by such a flash? Higher shutter speeds to freeze the action? I admit I never use a flash because I mostly do street photography.
02-24-2015, 11:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by oculus Quote
Incidentally, what benefit exactly does the photographer gain by such a flash?
Better light exposure and possibility to shoot at higher speeds in order to freeze the action.

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