IUP Football Diary, Week Five: Homecoming

By David Lind
Executive Producer, WIUP-TV
The fifth 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. In week five, he and his team tackle homecoming weekend.
What a difference a week makes between games! As you recall, the last game started out not so good but evolved into a half-decent production. This past Saturday’s home game turned out to be the best production of the season, even with some last-minute technical issues.
PA Sports Fever and its production crew were broadcasting the game live throughout
Pennsylvania,
Virginia, and
Maryland. Our mission was to record the game for our student-produced programs on Comcast Video on Demand. The live broadcast and Webcast would be Sports Fever’s.
Our station is part of the Sports Fever Network so we had to feed their signal to our transmission room. This is usually not a problem. When we do our productions live, we have a tap-in at the stadium to our facilities at the station. The plan was to take the A/V feed from the satellite truck to the tap-in, but, for some reason, the video signal was not up to standard, so at the last minute, I switched the A/V feed from our truck.
Now that we were live on our channel, we had to go on earlier than normal, and the queue for our opening tape segment was missed and never made it to air. Not a major problem, I could fix it in postproduction for our tape-delay broadcasts and other cable outlets.
Going live meant the whole crew would be responsible for halftime coverage, which is something we would not do if the game were on tape delay. Halftimes are normally dedicated to a short crew meeting to go over any technical issues or improvements needed for production values. The crew did a great job of halftime events and transitioned back into football as the third quarter started.
The student director, Zack, was into the flow of the game and calling the right shots. Everyone was clicking on all cylinders. Fatigue and mental mistakes did occur in the fourth quarter, but Zack got them back on track, which was a good thing. The 19th-ranked D2 IUP football team tied the score with 17 seconds left in the game, and our three-hour digital tape was just about to run out. A tape change was made at a commercial break (PSA) so no footage retrieval from the hard drive was necessary, as had happened at the last game.
The game went into double overtime, and the crew didn’t miss a beat, catching all the action and the drama of the exciting conclusion. Post-game interviews were great, and the only mishap was missing the verbal cue from the announcer that caused the credit roll to start a few seconds late. I had to take that out in post, due to a misspelling of a university administrator’s name. (By the way, IUP beat Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Yes, for those of you who do not know, there is a
Slippery
Rock
University.)
Next week is a road game to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The game will be carried live by Sports Fever Network, and we will Webcast the game from our station via satellite downlink of Sports Fever’s feed. We will be there for our Comcast VOD.
A side note: since it was homecoming, our production truck had to be in the homecoming parade. Our truck is wrapped with a photograph of our university landmark, station logo, and other printed information. The hour-and-half parade started at 10 a.m.; kickoff was at 2:35 p.m., so I had the crew at the stadium at 9 a.m. for setup. All they had to do, after the parade was over, was to pull the truck in and connect the cables. Having 2½ hours before start of game gave the students plenty of time to practice, make sure everything was working properly, and make adjustments where needed. But I did miss the misspelling in the credit roll when I reviewed the graphics with the CG person.