SVG-U Goes Backstage at BCS

By Carolyn Braff

On Tuesday Jan. 6, two days before the BCS National Championship game, 12 broadcast and engineering students from the Miami area joined SVG-U for a behind-the-scenes look at Fox Sports’ production of the game — in both 2D and 3D. The students — representing Florida International University, the University of Miami, and the CSB School of Broadcasting — spent the afternoon at Dolphin Stadium, picking the brain of Fox Sports executives and technicians about all facets of the side-by-side productions.

“We always enjoy bringing new minds into what we do,” explains Michael Davies, director of field operations for Fox Sports, who led the tour. “As our business changes, expands, and evolves, I think it’s partly the responsibility of the networks to seed the interest and passion in these young people.”

The tour began seeding such passion with an introduction by Davies and Fox Sports SVP of Field Operations Jerry Steinberg, before heading into Game Creek’s Yankee Clipper production truck.

In his element at the front of the truck, Fox Sports producer Mike Burks led a how-to in producing, discussing everything from what a switcher does to his first day on the job. “If you’re the type who likes a quiet, peaceful work environment,” he joked, “this is not the spot for you.”

Davies walked the students through EVS and tape, along the way making suggestions on how to get a foot in the door of a television production career — such as one of his first jobs, serving as a parabolic microphone sideline operator.

A tour of the field pointed out camera positions for both the 2D and the 3D productions of Thursday night’s game, and Ray Hannisian and Nick Brown of 3ality Digital explained how the 3D show will be done, complete with a glasses-required viewing session. For many students, the 3D demo was the highlight of the afternoon.

After a trip up to the broadcast booth and a talk with Game Creek President Pat Sullivan, Fox Sports senior audio mixer Fred Aldous closed the tour by explaining how he will be mixing the audio for the 3D production.

“The tour was great today,” said Aaron Mitchell, a mechanical engineering student at FIU. “I could feel the excitement of the stadium as if it was full.”

Says Davies, a veteran SVG-U tour guide, having hosted students at BCS and NASCAR events in the past, “Every group of students we do this with is different in their reception of the seminar. It is rewarding for me to see the reactions of those who clearly came away with a keen interest in one facet of the project or other.”

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