Summer of Sports, Part 1

Jim’s smorgasbord of sports gigs continues!

It’s hard to believe I haven’t updated my website since May! What’s been happening? Well, the summer started out with the NBA Finals, in which the Dallas Maverick’s defeated the Miami Thrice Heat.  For Games 3, 4, and 5, I worked for NBA-TV at the American Airlines Center, in Dallas, for their international broadcasts.  Like the World Series, the games were broadcast in multiple languages and had separate announcers for the various networks that were broadcasting in other parts of the world.  I arrived in the television compound two days prior to Game 3 to help setup.  ESPN had already been there for the previous rounds, so some of their trucks and equipment were still in place, however, being that it was The Finals, more and more stuff was brought in.  By the time the 3rd game started, there were 10 production trucks in the compound.  That’s not including the 2 mobile power trucks and 12 office trailers that were brought in to handle network and NBA staff.  Naturally, space in the compound was a commodity.  As we setup, it became a dance between ESPN, ESPN 3D, and NBA-TV to lay down cabling and get equipment around the facility.  The real challenge came after Game 5, when it was time to strike everything.  After all of the gear was packed up and most of the trucks had rolled out of the compound, it was time to pull all of the cabling that was run down the tunnel, into the arena.  By my count, there were just over 100 cables to remove.  It took twenty of us about 6 hours to wrap all of those cables.  It may have gone faster, but many of the heavier cables had become intertwined, so it made separating them difficult.  Also, the crew was very fatigued after working in 95°-and-up temperatures all week.  All in all, it was a successful show.  I wish I’d had a chance to check out ESPN’s 3D setup, but I’m sure I’ll get another chance soon.

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Going through my pictures from June, I just realized that we squeezed in one Arena Football game during the NBA Finals.  The playoffs had already preempted multiple Vigilantes games this season, so they were adamant about sticking to their originally scheduled game with the San Jose Sabercats.  Unfortunately, the game took place less than 24 hours before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.  This required a partial strike of everything on the basketball court, so that the AAC crew could roll out the turf and configure the seats for Arena Football.  It also meant an early call time the next day, to put everything back in place for a basketball game.  For the Vigilantes game, I was down on the field, helping Jeff Cuales, the hand-held camera operator for Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, get shots of the teams’ benches, replay angles, and locker-room interviews.

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Somewhere in between those NBA Finals games, I found myself at Cowboys Stadium for the CONCACAF 2011 Gold Cup.  Having worked with Jay Richards before on his camera jib, I was hired to setup the jib and assist the operator from Univision.  We built the jib behind the goal in the west end zone, so that we could get great replay angles on scoring attempts and corner kicks.  What made things interesting was that the camera operator, Roberto, was from Mexico City and did not speak any English.  I learned a little bit of Spanish in high school and college, so I was able to communicate just enough to get what he needed.

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To be continued…

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