Friday, October 17, 2014

Game Day: From a Different Perspective

There have been plenty of Fridays where I talk about how excited I am for football! Like here, here, and here. This weekend is no different! Baylor plays West Virginia at 11... my red head and bro in law are making the 6 hour trip from NC to watch because my blonde got them free tickets!! Then right after that, the Aggies play! Duck Dude and I plan to watch, while addressing Save the Dates!!! It's a pretty exciting game day plan. 

But game days look a little different for one of my family members. My dad! Most of you know my dad is a videographer. Technically he is free lance (meaning he's not tied down to a network), but he's been around long enough that he does most of the Dallas sports. See, here we are while he was working a Mavericks game!

So, game days to him are not about tailgating and cornhole-ing... game days to him are a totally different experience. Here's another little secret, I am not actually the "writer" in the family. While I have this little corner of the interwebz, my dad is a journalism major. My little sister is a journalism major. I'm a math major who writes for fun. So there is no way I could try and explain the experience a camera man has on game day. So, I'm gonna let him explain it himself. 

Game Day: From a Different Perspective
Written by: My dad.

Game Day.

It’s Fall………It’s Saturday………and it’s early………But I don’t really mind getting up. It’s a routine that I’ve gone through dozens of times. I get dressed and walk outside. There’s a cool crispness in the air that has replaced the hot stale air of summer. I take in a deep breath……smells like football.

Years ago my brother introduced me to the spectacle that is college football. The teams, the bands, the stadiums, the fans and the traditions all combine to make a Saturday afternoon football game somewhat of a religious experience. I consider it a privilege to have attended games in college towns all over America working as a cameraman for live television broadcasts.

It’s a unique experience to walk out on the field early in the morning when the stadium is empty. It’s quiet but there’s a sense of anticipation of what is only few hours away. As the sun rises, it begins to warm the stadium and the activity inside and out begins to accelerate.

Cables run up and down the field and all around the stadium stretching the length of the field many times over. Cameras, tripods, monitors, microphones and all the trappings needed for a broadcast have been laid out and checked the day before. A team of men and women from around the country have converged to cover this gridiron grandeur. I have oftenthought about how our team of broadcast professionals issimilar to the teams participating on the field. We all have our positions we play like camera operators, video techs,audio techs, graphics, videotape operators, utilities among others. The producer and director are like our coaches. We all have our responsibilities and yet we must work together in harmony to be successful.

After checking the equipment again to make sure it’s all still in working order, it’s time for our camera meeting. We discuss the teams, their strengths and weaknesses, players to watch and any other items the director feels are important to the broadcast. Meanwhile, graphics, promos and stats are being loaded, videotape packages are being built and the producer and on-camera talent are going over the rundown. All the final details are put in place as the kickoff nears. Then at the appointed time, we all gather for the pregame meal. A little nourishment and more coffee before a long afternoon of work.

After the meal is a time to relax for awhile and get ready for the game. All the camera guys have their own way to prepare for a game. Some sleep, some read the newspaper and others are on the phone. As the time to be on headsets draws near,last minute rituals are performed. Just like the players have their routine, so do we. As we head out to our positions, you will hear “Have a good game,” or “Have a good one,” or “We’re all counting on you,” or maybe “Don’t suck today!”

Pregame shots of players are done, the open is rehearsed, the tease is built, transmission is checked and all systems are go! Three, two, one….We’re on the air!

And definitely happy Friday!

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