IUP Football Diary, Week 6: In the Flow of the Game
By David Lind
Executive Producer, WIUP-TV
The sixth 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.
offers insight into what it takes to produce college-football coverage in a cost-effective manner. In week six, the team have the best production of the season so far.
The sixth game of the season was an away game at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a 2½-hour trip. Kickoff was at 3:35 p.m. because of another state-wide broadcast by Sports Fever Productions. Our station was carrying the Sports Fever satellite feed live, and we were Webcasting that feed from the station, too. Even though Sports Fever was covering the game, we went for two reasons: Comcast VOD for Student Produced Programs and, most important, the opportunity for the students to gain more sports-production experience.
In July, when I was developing the budget for the production of a 10-game season, I knew that Sports Fever would be producing three of the IUP football games. Last year, Sports Fever had produced two games, so I didn’t budget for those games and the WIUP-TV crew was given those two dates off. Of course, by doing this, we saved money, but when the crew returned for the other games, their production skills hadn’t improved. This year, the Comcast VOD gave me the justification to budget for a 10-game season.
The budget for one home game is $730. This covers five paid (minimum-wage) hours for a crew of 12 (the director/producer earns an additional $1 per hour). Crew members may work more than the five hours, but that is understood. The budget also includes tape stock, two DVC Pro 50 digital tapes at $150 per tape. Away games increase the total to 11 paid hours for the crew of 11 students, with a food allowance of $20-$50 depending on length of trip and location. I will go into other budget costs in future articles, but back to the game.
We almost didn’t make it to the game. We tap IUP’s vehicle pool for a 12-passenger van for each away game. But during this part of the semester, some courses have field trips on Saturdays, and courses have priority over any other request for vehicles. I didn’t find out until Thursday morning that none of the IUP vans would be available. These fleet vehicles are great to use because the university absorbs the cost of gas and wear and tear. When university vans are not available, I try to rent a van, which compromises my budget.
On Friday, a seven-passenger minivan became available, so I had to cut the crew by two. Cutting the crew would not hinder our production, since one crew member would stay at the station to Webcast the satellite downlink of the Sports Fever production. The other crew member operated our lift camera, but, since Edinboro didn’t have room on its lift, he was assigned to the transmission of the live feed for Channel 20.
For the past three games, we had not had any technical problems before or during the game. However, I know it can happen at any time, so I still require at least a four-hour setup time before each game.
In last week’s article, I mentioned that the students hit their stride, and they repeated it for this game. I think everyone is now into the “flow” of the game. They know exactly what to do and when. Of course, there were minor mistakes, but the biggest hurdle to still overcome is someone’s mental breakdown during the fourth quarter, which can throw everyone else out of whack. We had about a minute of it in this game, but we recovered. Viewers may not have noticed, but it was there. Still, the game was by far the best production of the season.
I compared our production with the other production company’s, and we outperformed them with better camera shots covering the action, and we were better able to follow the overall flow of the game.
There are four games left in the season. Thankfully, three are at home, and the other is just three hours away. We are now past midseason. It took four games to get the crew up to speed, so barring any unforeseen problems, this crew will be one of the best since we started producing IUP football games.