Notre Dame Day Production Brings the World to South Bend

TVU Networks TVUPacks help take Fighting Irish Media live across campus during marathon show

When it comes to telling the story of a university, sports and team pride tend to lead the way in connecting with and engaging alumni and prospective students alike. At the University of Notre Dame, however, the live video production with the greatest reach and ROI is an event known simply as Notre Dame Day.

notredamedayNotre Dame Day is dubbed a global celebration of everything that the university stands for and achieves and is designed to inspire alumni to give back to their alma mater. For Fighting Irish Media, it’s undoubtedly the biggest — and longest — production of the year. The live broadcast runs for a whopping 29 hours and 18 minutes. (Why so specific? The event begins at 18:42, or 6:42 p.m. ET, the exact time at which the university is said to have been founded, and continues through midnight the next day.)

“It is un unbelievable effort to pull this together,” says Scott Rinehart, lead technologist, Fighting Irish Media. “It re-engages people with what’s happening at Notre Dame. Until you watch this show, you just don’t realize all of the things that are going on on this campus. It’s incredible.”

Viewers are encouraged to donate, which grants them votes in deciding which clubs, schools, or organizations receive financial support.

Although most of the show is studio-based, a majority of its color came from live hits and interviews from across campus and around the world. With the help of a pair of crews using TVU Networks TVUPack uplink solutions and Panasonic cameras, Fighting Irish Media was able to take viewers out to the South Bend campus to see the school in action, whether it was a peek at the professor of the year teaching in front of a class, the head librarian giving a tour of the library, or a simple walk through the daily life of a student.

“We love the immediacy of live,” says Rinehart, noting that the show featured about 10 minutes of live hits by the remote crew per hour. “Being able to get out of the studio and show the beauty of the Notre Dame campus was so important. To see spring in Northern Indiana is pretty nice.”

To tie it all together, Fighting Irish Media rented a 40-ft. production trailer from local provider CVM Productions, and the crew was made up mostly of local freelancers and university volunteers looking to give back. The production has grown so large, Rinehart jokes that he’s going to fight hard to get a 53-footer next year.

“The show has grown so complicated that it’s going to take more firepower to get it done,” he explains, adding that the production will eventually be handled internally and moved to Fighting Irish Media’s new media center, which is currently under construction and is slated to open in about two years.

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