SVG-U Takes Students on Tour with HBO Sports

By Carolyn Braff

On July 26, 20 students from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) joined Jason Cohen, HBO Sports director of east coast production and a member of the SVG-U advisory board, for an intimate look at a sports broadcast compound and NEP production truck, something many of the engineering students had never before had access to. “For a group of students who are now focused on IT and engineering, who had never once thought that their abilities would play a role in TV, they walked away with an eye-opening experience,” Cohen says. “I think that the students had the ability to see different aspects of television production that they never knew even existed.”

The graduate students descended on the compound in two groups before HBO’s pay-per-view production of the July 26 Miguel Coto vs. Antonio Margarito fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

For each hour-long tour, Cohen explained all the facets of the NEP mobile production truck, detailing the basic workflow and demonstrating the graphics devices, tape and engineering, introducing EVS operators, and explaining how the truck is routed and patched.

“The TV trucks now are basically computer networks dedicated to file sharing and file transferring; it’s no longer just hardware and cables,” Cohen explains. “The traditional engineering and IT student who had never once thought about our business was going through the truck with a fresh outlook of something they could do with their degree. It was incredibly rewarding.”

The students also went inside the arena to see the ringside layout, lighting and camera positions and were able to connect the truck operations to the in-arena production.

“We all loved the tour and bragged about it to our family and friends,” one student gushed. “It was really amazing to see all that goes into a fight.”

“This is a program that needs to continue,” adds Christine Wallace, communications and special events coordinator for the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at UNLV, who also attended the tour. “The Professors also thought it was a beneficial tool in illustrating how students will be able to apply their degree.”

“It was really gratifying to be able to open the door to another generation of possible TV technicians and engineers,” Cohen says. “If just one student from that group gives our industry another thought that they might not have had, then it’s worth it.”

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