I would attend more sport if it was actaully like this
August 2, 2019 12:00 AM   Subscribe

These Chaotic Games Are a Referee's Worst Nightmare Have a look at these totally mad sports photos. I'd totally attend more sporting events if they looked like this. Someone should try it - massed synchronized swimming, 400 a side football!
posted by maxcelcat (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
These put a huge smile on my face, thanks for sharing!

It takes no less than 40 hours, and as many as 80. Cass works with layers and masks in Photoshop to combine scenes, isolate figures, and correct color.

The photos themselves don't look like they took the equivalent of a month or two at my desk job; it's fascinating how professionals can make huge amounts of effort look simple. I think I like the tennis photo the best, as it's certainly how I felt at tennis practice in high school some days.
posted by lesser weasel at 1:37 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I do Photoshop stuff— that’s a lot of clipping masks, to say the least.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:05 AM on August 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

These are very reminiscent of Where's Wally?*

*Where's Waldo? for the Americans
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:52 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hilarious. Reminds me of Something Awful's Photoshop Phriday.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:18 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sounds like someone would be interested in the mass water start at a large Ironman Triathlon. << Insert semi-obligatory 1999 reference to Beowulf clusters here >>
posted by mce at 4:26 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

This reminded me of the start of the Mountain of Hell ride (warning: painful-looking bike crashes on snow/ice).
posted by Stark at 5:24 AM on August 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

The water polo image looks almost like an Escher pattern.
posted by papercake at 5:25 AM on August 2, 2019

I'm sure in short time and with some clever DeepMind programming we'll have something resembling video of these events.

But in the meantime, enjoy 3 soccer players vs 100 kids. Or Real Madrid vs 100 kids.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:43 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Aaa! I work with multiple exposures in my art, so this tickles me.

The basketball one is my favorite, but I think I find the swimming one more technically impressive.

With culling and scrutinizing, I can totally see how it takes 1-2 weeks to get these done
posted by itesser at 7:01 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

They've got nothing on Ba'played in some Scottish towns annually since forever.
posted by scruss at 7:04 AM on August 2, 2019

Brings to mind, of course 43-Man Squamish.
posted by notsnot at 8:18 AM on August 2, 2019

The photos themselves don't look like they took the equivalent of a month or two at my desk job; it's fascinating how professionals can make huge amounts of effort look simple.

You could probably get pretty far algorithmicaly:

1. Get your camera on a tripod, at a location with a good view and a good set of anchored reference points you can use to align if things get marginally out of alignment. Take your terrabyte of photos.

2. Create a calibration set of photos, before the match begins, and use the 'remove tourists from your photos' trick to remove any random officials or sports trainers on the field, creating a baseline image.

3. For each image, subtract out the baseline, leaving only the action in a scene, i.e. the players and umpires. Maybe a random bird that flew by. You probably don't animals obstructing your shot, although it would be cool if it was in focus. At this point you can probably just turn on a few dozen shots and get a rough approximation.

4. (the hard part) Break the action photos into subphotos, with one discrete player. You could probably do some flood fill analysis to determine that, or throw some AI tensorflow bullshit at the problem. Or 40 hours of artistry.

5. Calculate a z-ordering based on lowest Y pixel -- stuff lower down the image is probably also closer to you.

6. Apply the action photos from front to back. Or don't and just make it random; maybe it'll be funnier that way.

For outdoor sports, you have to fight with the sun changing angles, cloud cover changing light levels, color changing a bit, etc. So start with indoor scenes and night scenes.

And obviously given the volume of photos to images used in the composite, you'll be needing to filter things down heavily. If the goal was to cover the field in players, I'd start with the least covered parts (edges?), and randomly picked action shots until the ratio of action shot to baseline image remaining hits some threshold.

It would probably take me a minimum of 40 hours to automate this though, with an upper bound far above 80 hours.
posted by pwnguin at 9:00 AM on August 2, 2019

I love that the photographer is not just copying and pasting. All the people in the images are unique.
posted by bendy at 9:05 AM on August 2, 2019

That eighth image is exactly what water polo feels like.

to me... not ever a very good water polo player
posted by pjenks at 10:05 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had a photography professor in college that did a multiple exposure project for the Houston Rockets where he did long exposures calibrated to let press photographers’ flashes illuminate his shots. It was like a muybridge- style composite of each drive with the flashes timed to the most dramatic moments- beautiful.

Unfortunately the Rockets c-suite loved them so much that they bought the exclusive rights for decorating their own office, including the negatives. He had one “secret” box of prints he’d show students but wasn’t allowed to show them otherwise.
posted by q*ben at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2019

Here are some fun airplane shots by Mike Kelley.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

OK, wait, I need to ask: back when they were planning things, who *ever* thought that Mountain of Hell course was going to work? It's ice, steep, and gets very narrow quite quickly. It was apparently near the beginning of the race since everyone was bunched so nicely, so what did they expect to occur? Of course there was a cataclysmic crash scene. It's like there was malice involved or something...

Oh yeah, the topic: um, he should probably do baseball next with like 40 infielders and 14 baserunners. Or perhaps volleyball would work as well. It also occurred to me that he could do a lesser-known sport like team handball and pass it off as the real thing and I'd never know.
posted by Cris E at 12:53 PM on August 2, 2019

Whew, I'm so impressionable that the "ref's worst nightmare" framing actually created a bit of stress when I looked at these -- particularly the football and hockey pics!
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:06 PM on August 2, 2019

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