With Saturday safely behind us I feel much better about telling the world that I am now the director for the Wolf Vision video board at Mackay Stadium. Having not actually done anything live until Saturday, I was real reluctant to let on that I was going to be handling that and wanted to see how things went. I do, however, think it’s a really cool operation and want to share how it works and how things go in the room.
Saturday went well. We definitely didn’t put on a perfect show for the crowd, but overall it was good. It was the first time working in football for every crew member, so we had to warm up a bit, but once we got the hang of it, the whole thing improved.
The crew is set up as follows:
In the control room
- Director – runs the switcher, calls the shots, and in our case, runs a machine called Elvis, which houses all of the video clips, including commercials, fan messages, replay graphics, etc.
- Instant Replay – has two servers that record camera feeds. The replay guy chooses which feeds to record, marks plays, monitors the feeds during plays and lets the director know which angles are available for replay, saves big plays for playback later (Play of the Game, etc.).
- Character Generator – this person runs the CG, as we call it, and has to quickly type up stats for quarter recaps, build still images for stadium information, monitor contests and build slides all on the fly. This job was busy Saturday.
- High 50 Camera – Just like it sounds. This guy is on the roof at about the 50 yard line and shoots from overhead. Our guy simply nailed his job and got us a quality replay on almost every single play of the game. Primarily, he shoots medium-tight and follows the ball.
- South End Zone Camera – Again, just like it sounds. This person gives us another highish angle but it’s north-south instead of east-west like the high 50. Due to some technical issues, we only had this cam for about 50% of the time on Saturday.
- Field Camera – Right on the field. This person has to stay away from the opposing team’s bench, so he shoots from about the 25 to the end zone on either side. We try to get him facing the Pack all the time so the angle we give the crowd is that of a Nevada player making the play from the front. He also did an amazing job and got us some of the coolest shots of the night—the ones where we all went, “oh man that was awesome.”
- Grip – This person makes sure the field cam guy doesn’t get killed and that nobody screws up the feed. The field guy is connected by cable on the opposing side so they have to be aware of anyone getting tangled up in the wiring. The grip also pulls the field guy away from oncoming traffic.
The crew did a tremendous job on Saturday, and with the added experience we should continue to get better.
If you click the picture above there is a detailed look at the controls. As you watch the games from Mackay remember what goes into making that board a cool experience. The University has committed to making the board run as well as it can and the entire reason is to make the experience better for the fan watching the game. Seven people is more than I thought it would take to run that thing, but when you see the complexity of it all, you understand.
If you feel like getting crazy on the 29th against UNLV, fire me an email and tell me where you’re sitting. We want wild crowd shots and will do what we can to get you on the board.