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Observation: I recently went to visit a cricket stadium that I have seen quite often in television. Though the stadium looked huge in television, visiting the stadium made me realize that it was not that huge at all. When watching by television, I used to wonder how they managed to hit the cricket balls out of the ground. But in reality, I think any strong, decent player can do the same.

Reference: What is the reason behind this apparent difference in size of the stadium? What makes a stadium look so big when viewed by television? I would like an answer explaining things based on human eye's perception / field of view covered by a typical camera lens or similar phenomenon.

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Short answer:

Lenses and field of view.


Long answer:

Your eyes work very much like a camera, with field of view for binocular vision at about 115 degrees.

According to this site, the true central focus field of view is around 40-60 degree. Now pulling out another site that I found here, you can see that for a normal AFS-C (DX format) sensor, around 20-30mm fits the field of view of the eyes. The images here are more natural to look at.

Now for your case, the videographer has chosen to use larger sensor (likely for high-end professional device) or/and shorter focal length.

Varying focal length

Now given the photo above, you can clearly see that you will feel that the place is larger when you have lower focal length, which in turn have a larger field of view.

The stadium is especially photograph/videoed in such a way that it will feel magnificent, so that it will grip the viewers attention. As your question said, the player seems need to be very good to hit the cricket balls out of ground, and this makes the show more entertaining.

And without proper depth of field, your eyes trick you into thinking it's really huge.

Edit: How depth of field changes everything.

f-stop comparison

Picture on left shows more distance separation, making the model plane smaller; picture on the far right is very flat and the whole thing seems bigger.

Tilt shift

Picture shows how manipulation of depth of field can make stadium look like a miniature toy.

  • The links are quite useful; I see what you are explaining. But please help me with this text from the first link- too narrow an angle of view means that objects are all nearly the same relative size and you lose the sense of depth. Is this why the ground appeared relatively smaller when I visited the stadium? Consider this picture - upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c7/… From this angle, I'll not be able to see whether the ball goes to the right or left of the batsman irrespective of whether I am in the stadium or watching by TV – n7rider Apr 18 '16 at 16:38
  • So what role does depth play on such an occasion? – n7rider Apr 18 '16 at 16:39
  • For the too narrow an angle of view means that objects are all nearly the same relative size and you lose the sense of depth. Look at the picture above in the post. At 300mm, The cans seems to be equal in size and without context on the background or adequate depth of field, the can looks like they are on the same plane, i.e. they are the same distance form the camera. This also explains the ground that looks smaller then you visited the stadium, the exact mechanics I am not sure but you can help yourself with some photos. – KohGeek Apr 18 '16 at 17:12
  • Good answer. Your editing really improved it a lot. – scottbb Apr 21 '16 at 13:46

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