Photographers' Blog

Editing the Euro 2012

By Wolfgang Rattay

If you’re really interested in understanding how we at Reuters work as a team across Europe to make sure that the right pictures from the Euro 2012 soccer championships arrive in time at hundreds of online sites and the next day in the papers, read this insight. You will understand that everyone in the team is an important cog in the machine and that not everything is someone sitting in the right corner of the pitch and triggering the camera’s shutter. If you read until the end, you will be rewarded with Amanda’s secret “spell-checker” recipe. It’s worth it — but only if you don’t have any health issues with your stomach.

SLIDESHOW: BEST OF EURO 2012

At each game we have five photographers assigned to cover the match. Four are seated, preferably, in each far corner of the pitch near the corner pole and the fifth shooter has an elevated position in the middle of the tribune – more or less at the same position as the main TV cameras. The ‘tribune photographer” shoots with three cameras. Two cameras are equipped with a 70-200mm zoom lens and aimed at both penalty boxes to make sure we have the image that tells the story of the game. This can be a goal, a penalty or a disallowed goal like in the England-Croatia match. The third camera is hand-held with either a four, five or six-hundred mm lens to shoot clear action (with green grass and no advertising boards), reactions of coached players and what ever else happens on the pitch.

The pitch shooters have to operate three hand-held cameras with 400/500 or 600mm, one with a 70-200mm zoom and a third body with a 16-35 in case there’s a goal celebration just a meter in front of the photographer. On top of this, the pitch photographer has to trigger a foot-switch on a fourth (sometimes fifth camera) that is connected to a goal camera that is positioned just a yard or so behind the goal. Look for the cameras set-up behind the goal mouth next time it appears close on TV. These 19 cameras at least, for each game adds up to an average minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 frames that someone has to look at. One of these “someones” is me. But there is also another editor involved that is as important (if not more) as the photographer. This is the person known as the processor.

Let me explain how the Photographer-Editor-Processor chain works; by using the internet and Reuters advanced software called Paneikon.

As an editor I sit in the warm, cosy and most importantly dry office in Berlin and look through the internet at the images of two photographers sitting on each side of the pitch, while another editor takes the opposite side and, a third editor looks at all remote and tribune cameras. The first usable action images of a match arrive about two minutes after kick-off and then the flow of pictures doesn’t stop until the final whistle. I look at thumbnails of the images and decide which are best. The image then arrives within seconds in the systems of our clients across the world and will later show up on pages like the Reuters galleries.

“The Cruncher”

By Tim Shaffer

On paper it would be any Philadelphia area sports fans dream, The Bernard Hopkins/Chad Dawson boxing re-match sandwiched between the Phillies versus the Cubs and a Flyers versus Devils NHL playoff game.

In my mind I knew that this could very well be the final fight for the aging Bernard Hopkins. The Philadelphia native was dropped to the canvas and injured his shoulder in the first meeting in Los Angeles, which was declared a no-contest. After my arrival at historic Boardwalk Hall I found my spot, set up my laptop and my cameras and waited for the show to begin. Upon inspection of the undercard I noted a few of the fights and decided to do a little warm up for the main event.

I was interested in shooting the third fight on the card. The bout featured light heavyweight boxer Lavarn Harvell from Atlantic City, who was undefeated at 9-0, against Tony Pietrantonio from Sharon, Pennsylvania. This was only a four round fight and normally would not carry national interest. Early in the fight it appeared that Harvell was overpowering Pietrantonio and expecting a knockout. I paid close attention.