Racing television broadcasts are shot two distinct ways depending on the ownership and control of the television production. If a race series owns and produces their own racing coverage, typically they shoot wide shots that ensure all the series signage shows up on screen. A series that has sold their television rights to a network that produces its own coverage is normally shot differently. The network doesn’t necessarily want the trackside signage to appear on the broadcast (unless those companies advertise on their network), so they shoot real tight shots of the cars or motorcycles.

This close-up, tight shooting style makes bad TV for the racing fans. When the camera is focusing in closely on a car or motorcycle so that it is full-frame, there is no reference for speed or competition. The bike could be going 50 or 200mph, but the viewer can’t tell without background reference.

Also, how close is the car behind or the next group back on the track? The viewer won’t know because in an effort to keep signage out of the shot, a view down the track or looking back to the previous set of corners is not possible.

Watch an F-1, MotoGP or World Superbike race, though. Those wide shots that get the trackside signs on camera also show how fast the cars and bikes are traveling. They show if a competitor is gaining or if the featured rider or driver missed an apex. It’s the view fans get when they are at the race itself. Isn’t that what TV should be trying to convey anyway?