Friday, January 18, 2008


Don't be surprised to see Fox crew members wearing CBS apparel at Sunday's NFC Championship Game in Green Bay.

All of this could have been avoided if only Dallas had done what it was favored to do: beat the New York Football Giants.

Instead of working in the relatively mild conditions of Texas Stadium (dump that it is), you or your colleagues are stuck in Green Bay's Lambeau Field (shrine that it is), where the only thing colder than the temperature is the joint decision between NFL and Fox to make the NFC Championship a night game.

I guarantee not a single cameraman, A-2, parab holder or utility was consulted.

It's not a fair trade, but at least the crew is getting a little recognition for what they're going to endure.

In today's edition, Michael Hiestand of USA Today wrote:

Picture this: Filming in the bitter cold

You have to wonder: Do really tough TV camera operators at freezing NFL games make a statement, like some players do, by wearing just short sleeves?

"That's pretty funny," says Tony West, a Fox cameraman who last week jumped into the stands in Green Bay so he could be there when the Packers' Greg Jennings scored and made a Lambeau Leap. "Very funny. But we all wear serious arctic gear."

Bob Wishnie, the CBS camera operator who zoomed in on Tiger Woods' miraculous 16th-hole chip shot at The Masters in 2005 to create footage that became an instant Nike TV ad, will try not to freeze during Sunday's Chargers at Patriots game. A CBS cameraman since 1982, Wishnie still bundles up in his CBS-issued 1998 Winter Olympics snowsuit and uses chemical hand and foot warmers. But because he rides along the sideline, shooting from a moving cart (with his back to the crowd, he's been hit by plenty of snowballs), he can't use all the tricks of the trade. "Some guys strap heating blankets around themselves," he says.

Fox's West — who notes Packers fans were very helpful in lifting, then lowering, him for his in-the-stands adventure last week — says you can't be too careful about the cold. "At Green Bay," he says, "I had on so much stuff, I was sweating."

Wishnie is right on the money about the Nagano Olympics winter gear issued by CBS. The clothing created a controversy in Japan at the time because it was made by Nike who was not an official Olympics sponsor. Because of the CBS decision to go with Nike, none of the clothing could be adorned with Olympic Rings. In fact, use of the word "Olympic" was prohibited! And because the gear was almost entirely black, it was easy to spot amidst a sea of authorized brightly colored apparel worn by crew members from all over the world.

The black-clad CBS crews were marked as renegades by the international media. However, there was no more sought after item for sale or trade in Japan than one of those all black CBS parkas.

And regardless of what network someone may work for now, when the conditions are this extreme, many people who still have their 1998 Nagano Olympics gear makes damn sure it's what they wear.

If anyone can come up with better network issued winter apparel, please let us know.

SVG also published a story about how Game Creek's staffers prepare for the weather conditions forecast this weekend:
That’s one reason Kevin Callahan, an engineer for Game Creek Video made stops at five different Target stores to pick up electric blankets. “We flew into Milwaukee and stopped at every Target on the way,” he says. “We’ll put one of the electric blankets on every one of the hard cameras to keep the cameras, lenses, and fluid heads warm.”

The cold will also be testing the limits of the equipment. The Sony HD cameras are rated to -4F and the Vinten Vector 70 heads that will be used are rated to -40F.
That -4F rating for the cameras might come into play Sunday night. For those watching the game in more comfortable settings, trying to determine what (if any) cameras go down will be an added element of interest on Fox's broadcast.

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