IUP Football Diary: Week One A Shaky Opener in Iffy Weather

By David Lind
Executive Producer, WIUP-TV
The following is the second in a series of weekly articles that 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. Week one sent the crew on the road in a tropical storm, breaking in the rookies under some tough conditions.
Our first game of the season was on New York s Long Island against C.W. Post. We had to face two challenges: it was the first time the whole crew was together for a game, meaning that almost all of them were in new production positions, and Tropical Storm Hanna was barreling up the East Coast.
During the week prior to the game, I had contacted the SID at C.W. Post to discuss whether they could fulfill our needs for camera positions and parking. Setting up for productions of Division II games is like opening a box of chocolates: you never know what you will get. Most stadium press boxes are small with no accommodations for TV cameras and not enough electrical power. When we go to a stadium we haven t been to before, I always look up the stadium on the Internet so I have a good idea of its layout. For away games, I call the SID on the Monday before that game.
We arrived at our hotel Friday night; crew call was for a 7 a.m. breakfast, with departure to the stadium at 8 a.m. The weather reports predicted that the outer bands of the storm would arrive at 4 p.m. from the east, which is the way we had to travel back to Indiana, PA. Kickoff was at noon, but, just to be safe, we made sure all rain gear was secured on the cameras. Duct tape was used on the clock camera s cover. Also, camerapersons were instructed not to leave their cameras unattended in case of high gusts of wind before game time. If they had to leave their camera, they were instructed to dismount it from the tripod and put the camera in a secure place.
Last year, we had an unfortunate accident when a camera was left unattended and was blown over, resulting in the camera mount s snapping off and a lesson learned.
Setup went smoothly. We got our 500 yards of cables strung and went through a few practice runs to go over what type of shots the camerapersons were responsible for, ensure graphics were in order, and make sure all cameras were functioning properly.
As always, our first game is the roughest. There were some missed shots and instant replays, mistakes in directing, switching, graphics, and audio. I find that, no matter how well you plan to try to make the first game a good one, it doesn t happen. The students learn only by being exposed to the real thing.
The director and I will meet this week to review the game and discuss suggestions to improve techniques for the next game.
As soon as we packed up the gear, Hannah let loose. It was 4 p.m. We were lucky.