Saturday, January 19, 2008

Misery loves company

The conditions in Green Bay are living up to the hype, but the Fox crew is hardly alone. Those hardy souls currently in Aspen setting up for next week's X-Games aren't exactly basking in warmth either (more on that later).

Camera Operator Keith DeSantis doing his best Flavor Flav. (See? One of those great CBS Nagano parkas makes an appearance on a Fox show!)

Blowing heat under the tarp in an effort to keep the frozen tundra not so frozen.

Anything that will help keep the tarp from blowing away will spend the night on the Lambeau Field.

Some of the cameramen said today was the coldest day they've ever experienced at work.

What are they in store for tomorrow night?

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.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When is Opening Day Not Quite Opening Day?

When it's the Monday following a Sunday Night "Opening Day" which is almost a week after two teams played their "Opening Day" on another continent.

That's when.

But for those who just love working side-by-side-by-sides, dealing with newly hired security personnel who think they're in the Secret Service, and ending your day striking a potentially unfamiliar truck with an EIC who counts BNC barrels, here's what ESPN has planned.

Why wait? Call your favorite scheduler now!

(Monday, March 31 - All Times Eastern)

4:10 PM SF @ LA ESPN
10:05 PM HOU @ SD ESPN2

Washington Ballpark Inaugural Elected For National Audience

ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball crew will have the honor of breaking in Washington's new ballpark, as the game between the Braves and Nationals has been chosen as the North American Opener, on Sunday Night, March 30.

The Red Sox and A's will have played two regular season games in Tokyo earlier in the week.

(all 8:00 Eastern telecasts unless otherwise noted)

3/30 ATL @ WSH
4/06 CWS @ DET (ESPN2)
4/13 NYY @ BOS
4/20 NYM @ PHI
4/27 LAA @ DET
5/04 CHI @ STL
5/11 BOS @ MIN
5/18 NYM @ NYY
5/25 LAA @ CWS

ESPN has until 23 days before each of the following dates to choose 1 of 3 preselected games. The 2 games not chosen return to afternoon starts on local television.

The games of 7/13 and 7/20 are confirmed selections.

6/01 LA @ NYM, ATL @ CIN, DET @ SEA
6/08 CHI @ LA, CLE @ DET, PHI @ ATL
6/15 ATL @ LAA, LA @ DET, SD @ CLE
6/22 CWS @ CHI, SEA @ ATL, DET @ SD
6/29 LAA @ LA, CHI @ CWS, NYY @ NYM
7/06 BOS @ NYY, CLE @ MIN, HOU @ ATL
7/13 COL @ NYM
7/20 BOS @ LAA (6:00 PM Eastern)
7/27 NYY @ BOS, ATL @ PHI, CWS @ DET
8/03 PHI @ STL, CLE @ MIN, MIL @ ATL
8/10 STL @ CHI, ATL @ ARI, OAK @ DET
8/17 LAA @ CLE, PHI @ SD, SF @ ATL
8/24 ATL @ STL, LA @ PHI, SD @ SF
8/31 SEA @ CLE, LA @ ARI, PHI @ CHI (ESPN2)
9/07 PHI @ NYM, LAA @ CWS, DET @ MIN
9/14 DET @ CWS, MIL @ PHI, SEA @ LAA
9/21 BAL @ NYY, STL @ CHI, DET @ CLE

It Only Seems Like Every Game Is Boston & New York

Monday games unless noted. All games 7:00 PM Eastern unless noted.

4/07 TB @ NYY (ESPN2)
4/14 BOS @ CLE
4/21 NYM @CHI
4/28 NYY @ CLE
5/05 BOS @ DET
5/12 BOS @ MIN
5/19 CHI @ HOU
5/27 LA @ CHI (TUES)
6/02 NYY @ MIN
6/09 CLE @ DET
6/16 BOS @ PHI
6/23 SEA @ NYM
6/30 NYM @ SEA
7/07 MIN @ BOS
7/21 MIN @ NYY
7/28 LAA @ BOS
8/04 BOS @ KC
8/11 TBD @ TBD (ESPN2)
8/18 TBD @ TBD (ESPN2)
8/25 TBD @ TBD (ESPN2)
9/05 NYY @ SEA (FRI, 10 PM Eastern)
9/12 ATL @ NYM (FRI)
9/19 DET @ CLE (FRI)
9/26 NYY @ BOS (FRI)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Click on the stadium to open a larger picture and see how long it takes you to find the little one chip wonder shooting the football game.
Can't find it?
Well, don't feel bad.
Just like every BCS bowl and NFL playoff game on Fox, you couldn't find X-MO because it wasn't there.
What gives?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ripped Straight From Today's NY Times

Not a bad piece: Good pub for Dan Gibbons and a semi-believable quote from Jerry Steinberg!

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

TV Sports
So It Looks Cold on Camera? Try Operating One

Published: January 15, 2008

On Jan. 10, 1982, Cris Collinsworth, then a rookie wide receiver, awakened to a report on his hotel clock radio that the temperature outside was 13 degrees below zero and that the howling 35-mile-an-hour wind made it feel like 59 below.

Not a great day for the Cincinnati Bengals’ American Football Conference championship game against San Diego.

In the Bengals’ locker room at Riverfront Stadium, players gathered around a large box. “Whatever it was,” Collinsworth said Monday, “I was going to get mine.” Inside was a supply of Hanes queen-sized panty hose; it wasn’t exactly a Joe Namath moment.

“You’ve never seen anything, until you’ve seen Anthony Muñoz and our offensive line trying to get into Hanes queen-sized panty hose,” said Collinsworth, the NBC/HBO/NFL Network analyst.

Twenty-six years later, Collinsworth insisted that he didn’t slip on a pair and didn’t know if Coach Forrest Gregg donned one either. “Nobody would ask him,” he said. “We were too scared of him.” As an offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers, Gregg survived the Ice Bowl of Dec. 31, 1967, when the wind chill measured 48 below for the game at Lambeau Field, which became forever immortalized as America’s frozen tundra.

On Sunday, the conference championship games will be played in frigid, if not such severe conditions. Fred Gadomski, a meteorologist at Penn State University, said that for the 3 p.m. start of the San Diego-New England game in Foxborough, Mass., the temperature will be in the mid-20s, with 15- to 25-m.p.h. winds.

But with an Arctic front settling over Green Bay, the Packers and the Giants will probably start their 6:30 p.m. National Football Conference title game with the mercury in the low teens, then falling to single digits.

Jeff Last, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Green Bay, said he saw little likelihood that he would issue any warnings about extreme or dangerous cold.

Very cold weather is expected at certain times in N.F.L. cities, and the possibility of playing those games at night is a burden borne by sedentary fans who don’t run back kicks or make sacks. The league moved some wild-card and divisional playoff games to prime time in 2002 and pushed its conference title games to later starts in 2003 so that one would kick off around 6:30 p.m.

Greg Aiello, a league spokesman, said temperatures didn’t fluctuate by more than a few degrees from afternoon to evening. “And people in cold-weather climates are used to it,” he said.

While there will be fans who will reject Aiello’s meteorological analysis, it’s worth noting that the Ice Bowl, the Freezer Bowl (the San Diego-Cincinnati title game) and the Carolina-Green Bay N.F.C. conference championship in 1997 (game-time temperature: 8 degrees) were all played in the afternoon.

The late starts give NBC, CBS and Fox one prime-time exposure each, an invitation to charge advertisers more because of larger audiences. The league isn’t likely to flip a night and a day game if a long-range forecast calls for extraordinary winter weather, unless rogue icebergs were surging down Lake Michigan.

Severe weather is a boon for football-watching, and the broadcasts are produced by people standing in it. Dan Gibbons, a Fox cameraman, stood on a mobile platform about 10 feet off the Lambeau turf Saturday, shooting the wintry scene that only seemed to improve Brett Favre’s game. At one point, Fox showed Gibbons standing against the snow. “I loved it,” he said Monday. “You can’t move around much, but you’re right above the benches.”

Watching from the network’s truck in Foxborough, Ken Aagaard, senior vice president for operations for CBS Sports, caught glimpses of Green Bay. “I was jealous,” he said, adding that those “big chunks of snow look great in HD.”

Fox and CBS take extra measures to protect their people and equipment in unusual cold. Cameras are wrapped. Lenses get heaters. Cables are kept off the ground to prevent them from freezing and cracking. “My main concern is with our people,” said Jerry Steinberg, the vice president for field operations for Fox Sports. “They’re the warriors; they don’t complain. If we lose a camera, we have 17 more.”

Aagaard added, “Operating a camera is very tactile; it’s hard to pan, tilt and zoom in the cold.”

It isn’t easy playing, either. Collinsworth said that within five seconds of leaving the locker room on that frigid day in 1982, “My face cracked and started to bleed.” His first catch “felt like a sledgehammer crashing into a giant mirror and watching all the pieces fall to the ground.”

“I dropped it and recovered it,” he said. “Luckily, I only caught two that day.”


The Giants’s 21-17 victory over Dallas late Sunday afternoon on Fox produced a 25.8 overnight rating, the highest for a divisional playoff game since 1997.


Monday, January 14, 2008


The assault on our virgin ears continues!

LA Lakers center Andrew Bynum spoke a little too freely with FSN West's Patrick O'Neil during a live post game interview on Friday Night.

The broadcast was also fed live to China among other unsuspecting countries via NBA TV.

Bynum's goof was unintentional, and he was even kinda cute when he realized what he did.

This wasn't the first time a Lakers telecast has featured adult content. A promotional effort for Fox's reality show "The Simple Life" led to this infamous mid-game interview FSN West's Bill MacDonald conducted with Nicole Ritchie during the height of Kobe Bryant's 2003 sexual assault controversy.

We don't know whether Ritchie ever had her way Bryant or vice versa, but she sure as heck-fire had sex with somebody. Nicole gave birth to a daughter on Friday. Husband Joel Madden claims to be the father.