Click here for the official web site!Tuesday, October 3


8-way today! But first, another bit from T1:

T1 Bit 4

Jerome David, coach of Perris France Maubeuge, was kind enough to chat with me this morning about their video strategy, in response (I assume) to T2’s remarks on this web page about the quality of their competition video. Here’s what Jerome had to say.

Basically, their strategy is to frame the team in a narrow visual perspective to increase, not decrease or degrade, their judgability. The theory is that the judges will see the synchronicity of their builds and keys more easily than if the team filled the video screen. I am familiar with this theory, and it has merit -- it’s the reason judges prefer to use small (no larger than 13-inch) televisions.

Jerome emphasized that they are in no way trying to hide any performance miscues, or make them more difficult to see. Rather, they are trying to make the formations and separations easier to pick up by keeping the team in a compact, focused visual area, where the taking or release of grips all across the formation is easier for the judge to see without moving his or her eyes around the screen. I believe him.

But, I’m still not convinced theirs is the best strategy. The DeLand Norgies, even more than Airspeed, use the opposite, in-your-face-video approach. If you look at the results from this competition, Maubeuge has forty-five individual judgment calls (i.e., a not judgeable [NJ] or penalty [0 or I] awarded by an individual judge). Norway has a grand total of three. It’s my belief that the Norgies’ strategy was at least partly responsible for their squeaking ahead of Sebastian XL for the bronze medal in Corowa last year, where Maubeuge had eight judgment calls to Norway’s one.

Well, that’s my two cents worth. I understand Jerome’s strategy with their video, but on this matter we will have to politely agree to disagree…

T2 responds:
If a team wants to maximize their judgability, they should 1) shoot tight video with steep camera angles and 2) wear dark color jumpsuits with white gloves. If judges want to reduce the scanning area and use less eye movement, all they need to do is back away from the monitor a bit (which is what I sometimes do). To move the camera farther away to accomplish the same effect merely reduces the image resolution of the team on the monitor, making it that much more difficult for the judges to see formations and inters. My humble opinion.

T1 Bit 5

There was some polite finger-pointing going on around here yesterday about the banding problem on the DZTV ( had a blurb that said "OmniSkore is responsible for the quality of this video. E-mail OmniSkore if you would like the waving picture problems fixed." Ouch.)

This is a fairly common problem wherever I go, and naturally it has nothing to do with OmniSkore! or our video equipment. The problem rarely exists early in the morning or late at night (my first clue). It’s caused by problems in the electrical system, either insufficient grounding, incorrect AC phase settings, insufficient voltage, overheated flux capacitors, or inversed transduction in the disgronificators.

So I whipped out the handy digital multimeter and hooked it up to the power outlet, and got exactly what I expected: 102.5 volts. I’m amazed anything is working at all in here! My scoring processors (the -486 DOS computers that generate the "DZ TV" pictures) are only rated for 105 – 230; anything under or over and they’re supposed to shut down. Small wonder all the televisions wink and warble when the air conditioner kicks in.

So, please don’t e-mail us if you would like the waving picture problem fixed, we’re peddling as fast as we can!

As I was madly typing the 8-way teams into the computer last night, I was drafted out of semi-retirement to be on one of the teams. Cool! The webmaster will be jumping with Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Expect totally biased coverage ;-)

Wow...I just scanned through the morning's e-mail, and I want to say thanks to all you who wrote for the wonderful comments, I wish I had time to reply to them all right now. Very cool! Now it's time to creep round one... hour later, manifest is announcing that the fog will probably clear in an hour or two. So get your work done now, when it clears it's show time again. The 8-way turnout is awesome: 9 Open teams and 13 Intermediate. In addition to the Knights and Airspeed, team 804 has Maubeuge with some more talented skydivers, so look for them to be right up there. And with 13 teams in Intermediate, who knows what will happen? 

One of our readers (a camera flyer) writes: “Now that the teams provide their own video, do you think that the camera flyers deserve some sort of compensation for the use of their footage other than for judging purposes?”

In a word, no. It will probably be written in the rules starting next year that USPA will have the rights (non-exclusive) to all competition footage for judge training, promotion, and marketing purposes.

I have had the privilege (for lack of a better word) the last two years of producing the Nationals video. In 1998, I almost broke even. Last year, I made about $3.00 an hour for my efforts. This year I hope to crack $5.00. It is safe to say the producing a Nationals video is not a very profitable enterprise, and the overhead produced by revenue sharing with camera flyers would probably kill the whole operation.

On a related note, now that teams provide their own video, it is a remarkable statistic to note: Of more than 600 competition jumps on Sunday, NOT ONE of them resulted in a rejump.

Still watching the fog...

Some feeble sunlight is beginning to filter through, so maybe pretty soon now...

We are about to finish Round 2 now, but T2 has been too busy competing with his team to pound the keys for these juicy tidbits at the moment. T1 will be adding some momentarily.


T1 here!  (Sound of knuckles cracking)  Okay Round 2 is in the can and T@ (oops) T2 is running around like a hicken with his chead cut off.  Now that Dad has the team photos done, he & I can team up and cover some of T2's bases today!

The first two rounds of 8-way completed quickly, with the judges breaking for lunch before starting Round 3.  Airspeed and the Knights both looked terrific in the first round, matching each other with 22s. 

In Round 2, Airspeed posted a 20 to the Knights' 19, again both teams skydiving clean.  Fighting for the third medal position are DeLand PD 8 and Deguello, with 23 and 21 points total respectively. 

Speak of the devil ...

(t2 is back for a minute)...WHOA! This pace is brutal! Three rounds in three hours. I haven't done 8-way in years, I forgot how much fun it is. We're not doing that great, at least compared to the big boys we're up against, but we're having loads of fun trying. We'll have some pictures from the day up here later, so be sure to come back.

After four rounds, the Knights have a one point lead over Airspeed 8...this is too good...the battle for supremacy in the air was never better...

“More Tidbits! More Tidbits!” screams the e-mail. Okay then! These judges are BRUTAL on Kathleen Turner Overdrive! IT'S NOT FAIR WHAA WHAA gripe wine two busts in two rounds THEIR OVERPAID UNDERWORKED but I love them anyway - oops, gotta go dirt dive - 

There is a pause in judging while the judges take a well deserved break. Round 6 is taking off shortly; Round 5 will be posted soon as well.

Doh!  In Round 5, Airspeed starts the first Accordian - Opposed Stairsteps transition out the door with a missing grip in the Accordian but still finish with an 18. The Knights follow with a nice skydive, a clean 19, to take a two-point lead going into Round 6...

Lemme tell ya, this 8-way Open stuff ain't easy...lemme tell ya, my 8th grade English teach is rolling over in her grave...okay, Airspeed 8 is up for round 6, and lemme tell ya, it's amazing how well these guys are skydiving considering they haven't jumped as a team in a year...

BOOM on round 6, the Knights and Airspeed both put their 16th point right on the freeze frame, but Airspeed's grips were clearer and they got the point, while the Knight's got a bust instead. One point advantage for Airspeed heading into the final four jumps. Wow.

The scuttlebutt regarding US Team selection: If Airspeed wins, I've heard they are going to keep 6 of the current 8 and go to the world meet. Wouldn't that be something - two world meets in a row without the Golden Knights?

And we have another jump-off! 702 Perrisinore Sibling Rivalry and 705 Willy & the Bone Lickas have tied for the silver in Intermediate. Tune in tomorrow, same time, same station, for the exciting conclusion of this thriller!