Dear Diary: Inside IUP Football

By David Lind
Executive Producer, WIUP-TV
The following article is the first in a series of weekly articles that will go behind the scenes of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s TV production of the school’s 10-game football season. Lind offers insight into what it takes to produce college-football coverage in a cost-effective manner. Up first? A basic overview of the program.
OK, folks, this will be my first attempt to provide a weekly article on Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Yes, you read that right: IUP is located in Indiana, PA, in
Indian
County
(the school was established in 1875, so I figure we were the “first”
Indiana
University
).
My name is David Lind, and I manage production for WIUP-TV. We currently reach 73,000 Comcast Cable households within the five counties surrounding the University, and students from the Media Communications Department staff the station.
During the past eight years, I have been executive producer for WIUP-TV sports (I have a total of 28 years’ video-production experience). In my role, I oversee a crew of up to 12 students ranging from freshmen to seniors, and together we use a 1984 GMC video-production panel truck that we acquired six years ago to produce events.
The students operate all the equipment, and a senior student is selected to be the director/producer for each season. The other students are trained to be camerapeople, technical directors, and operators of graphics, slo-motion systems, and audio systems and also to pull cable.
For the game production, we use a five-camera setup — two cameras located in the stands, two on the sidelines, one in the end zone — and a game clock. Crew members are assigned positions according to their skill set and operate the same piece of equipment for the entire season.
Of course, the main concern is consistency of productions. The budget for a 10-game season is currently $15,000, and most of that is for tape stock, gas (we get six miles per gallon), motel rooms, and student pay (minimum wage). For the past two years, we have been funded by the IUP Foundation and Student Affairs.
In terms of format, we are still standard-definition and use Panasonic DVCPRO 50 92L digital tape for recording. Home games and selected away games are broadcast live, and we also stream those games over the Internet. We also provide copies of games for tape-delay broadcast in the Altoona/Johnstown market (50,000 households) and for Comcast VOD.
In general, we start working on the pre-production of the football season in late July and contact all crew a few weeks before the start of classes. For example, we had our first meeting last Wednesday to assign positions, explain student payroll procedures, welcome new crew, and go over the schedule.
Oh…I forgot to mention one thing. None of this is possible unless you have a Chris Barber, our fantastic systems technician, who installs and maintains the equipment in the truck, repairs many broken cables throughout the year, and listens to my wild ideas of improving our productions — like my blimp idea (I have champagne tastes on a cheap beer budget).
Anyway, the adventure is on! Our next game is at C.W. Post in
Long Island,
a seven-hour ride. The crew and I are leaving tomorrow, with setup at
8:00 a.m.
and kickoff at
noon.
The adventure is on!