Filmwerks’ Sync Power Secures US Open Compound

It’s the end of the summer in The City That Never Sleeps. Electricity is in high demand. Now roll in a juggernaut event like the US Open tennis tournament, and the pressure on New York’s power supply grows exponentially.

At big events like the US Open, many broadcasters rely on power, climate-control, lighting, and equipment specialist Filmwerks to ensure that all their mobile-production units and on-site studios are up and running properly.

The USTA Billy Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing presents some of the trickiest power problems for Filmwerks, but this year, the company is more prepared than ever.

To assist in combating the challenge, Filmwerks is using its new Sync Power system at the US Open for the first time. Sync Power provides redundant power using the utility grid and backup generator systems that support the entire mobile-production compound outside the Tennis Center. It’s essentially a switch that allows the Filmwerks crew to transfer from a primary power source to a backup source without interruption.

“We’re working with CBS, ESPN, the Tennis Channel. Every part of the mobile-production operation is powered by us,” says Mike Satrazemis, owner of Filmwerks, “so it’s pretty important we don’t have any hiccups.”

With many courts and open campus-like atmosphere, the US Open is one of the more comprehensive events that Filmwerks covers all year. Studios requiring lighting and power are scattered throughout the center. This is a trend that Satrazemis sees growing at sports events across the board.

“It seems to me that there’s more of an emphasis on the total package,” he says. “It’s not simply broadcasting the event. There seems to be movement towards more peripheral locations and bringing the audience into the venue and then leading into the game. Certainly, on these larger events, we are bringing in more studios, and we’re powering more studios.”

The same has been true at many other events Filmwerks has supported throughout a very busy summer. Working on events ranging from CBS Golf broadcasts to the NFL Hall of Fame Ceremonies, Filmwerks has had gear all over the country.

One of its most notable challenges was the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, SC, in August. Filmwerks supported CBS, Turner, Sky Sports, the world feed, and XM Radio.

The geography of the course —the longest to host a Major tournament and a remote one as well — gives headaches to many broadcasters.

“[It] was a real challenge for all of the vendors down there,” says Satrazemis. “There was one road and one road off that island. Due to the size of the course, we needed an exceptional amount of cable and lots of cable ramps. The logistics of getting from one end to the other was challenging. If we had a situation at one end and we were at the other end, it was difficult.”

To properly attack the long course, he adds, the crew was split in half, doubling the need for resources, including air conditioning. One of the crews was dedicated solely to the 18th hole.

“There are more and more entities crowded around 18 these days,” Satrazemis notes. “This thing continues to grow. Whenever we think we’ve got everything and that it couldn’t possibly grow anymore, somehow it grows again.”

Filmwerks doesn’t slow down during the fall. Having already worked the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, last week, the company is currently at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Work has already begun on its next big NYC event, Fashion Week, with some resources shifted from the US Open. On the football front, Filmwerks will support ESPN’s College GameDay (a client for more than a decade), SEC on CBS, and NFL Network’s expanded 14-game schedule.