For Alt Games, CBS & CBS College Hit The Slopes and Ride the Waves in HD, Online

By John Rice
This Saturday, CBS and CBS College Sports Network are
kicking off a month-long HD series of college action sports – The Alt Games. The
newly-renamed competitions are being produced entirely in HD for the first time
and a new online partner is adding a “new layer” of coverage.
The brainchild of Mike Jaquet, who is now VP of sales for
the CBS College Sports Network, the competitions were originally called the
‘Collegiate Nationals’ and were first presented on what was then CSTV in 2006.
“We needed to do something different, create something like
this,” recounts Billy Stone, coordinating producer, describing the beginnings
of the idea. Stone has been involved with the games since their inception. “It’s
a collection of action sports that are so popular with this generation of
athlete [who] is not an NCAA athlete. [They] go to college and follow their
sport and play their sport passionately.
“We had to make determinations on what sports would be
included,” says Stone of the beginnings of the show. “As the years have
progressed, we’ve added a sport and subtracted some sports.”
This year’s roster of competitions includes snowboarding,
wakeboarding, flowboarding, beach volleyball, freeskiing, and competitive
eating. The competitions were conducted
in April in San Diego and in two new locations, Copper Mountain, Colo.,
and Riverside, Calif.
Some 500 athletes representing 45 colleges and universities competed for
11 national men’s and women’s championships in both individual and team events.

The Alt Games have partnered with www.go211.com for Web
coverage.
“This year we decided we wanted to establish the brand,” Stone
explains. “Go211 is an established online community for action sports. They are
our official digital partner.”
In addition to providing live Webcasting and hundreds of
video clips on the Go211 site, Go211 is also managing the official Alt Games
site (www.thealtgames.com).
To capture the action for television, 25 ENG crews covered
the competitions.
“We shoot the entire project ENG-style,” says Stone. “Then
we edit.”
Six edit bays are working day and night to complete the
project. Studio City Calif.-based Echo Entertainment is CBS’ production partner
for The Alt Games, providing the crews, equipment, and creative services. Camera
packages include Panasonic HVX-900, Sony HDC-950 and Sony HVR HDV Cameras. All
editing is accomplished with Final Cut Pro.
“We’re using over 6.5 terabytes of drive space,” says Stone.
“We’re 3,000 hours into edit time.”
While the shows are all mastered in HD, graphics are created
in 3:4 title safe using the HD Deko graphics system.
“We created many of these sports,” says Stone, “so we can
put cameras in places where we couldn’t put them in a sport we were covering
like an NCAA sport.”
A follow-cam rides on a boat or chases skiers down the
slope.
“We actually put a camera in the water at flowboarding to get
those very intimate reaction shots,” Stone explains.
Last year, lights were added to the San Diego flowboarding site “so we basically
have night surfing on television,” Stone explains.
The collection of events includes winter (skiing and
snowboarding) to summer (surfing and beach volleyball) sports, but Stone takes
particular pleasure in talking about flowboarding.
“Flowboarding is a combination between skateboarding, surfing
and waveboarding,” he explains. “It was
a sport that took place at a place called Wave House [in San Diego].
We thought it would be incredibly visual. It takes place in man-made
waves around the country, with the biggest one being in San Diego – a man-made wave called ‘Brutus
Maximus.”
Stone credits the Alt Games with increasing the interest in
flowboarding.
“Since we initiated this three years ago, the momentum for
the sport has grown so much that kids are training around the country to come
to [our competitions],” he says.
Stone also believes that the Alt Games, along with other
national television coverage, have raised the profile for snowboarding,
freeskating, and beach volleyball.
“[Beach volleyball] has gotten so much momentum that the
participating schools have raised this up in their organizations and the NCAA
is now on target to add it as an official sport,” Stone explains.
But not everything about the Alt Games is dedicated to
serious sports. Last year, competitive eating was added, and the San Diego competitions
conclude with a music festival.
“Competitive eating is a fun thing to have,” says Stone. “It’s
a bit tongue-in-cheek.”
The music festival features bands selected from an online
competition of college bands.
CBS kicks off The Alt Games with a one-hour ‘highlight-form’
broadcast on Saturday, May 16 at 2PM. The coverage then moves to the CBS
College Sports Network which will air a total of 10 hours of programming over
the next month. Jack in the Box
Restaurants returns as the primary sponsor for the fourth straight year. All
programs are available in HD.