Grow a beard and leave the cameras on: TV tricks for broadcasting wintry games Print
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Thursday, 17 January 2008 07:54
NFL Headline News

 Pete Chalverus' introduction to wintry football in Green Bay came about 20 years ago, when the cameraman was sent to the Lambeau Field roof to retrieve some cables. He picked up the 3/4-inch-thick rubber-wrapped copper wire, and it snapped in two.
Chalverus has shot about a dozen frigid Packers home games over the years, so he knows how to prepare for Sunday's NFC championship game, at which he'll man a camera behind an end zone for Fox.
The forecast calls for single-digit temperatures in Green Bay for the matchup against the New York Giants, and not much higher for the AFC contest in Foxborough, Mass., between the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers.
Chalverus told his wife to not expect him to shave this week. A bit of a beard helps protect the face from the elements. He planned to visit a hunting store down the street from the stadium after arriving in town Thursday.
``I'll probably be buying every bit of insulation they have available,'' he said Wednesday, on the phone from the warmer clime of South Carolina.
Just in case retailers in Wisconsin have sold out of hand and foot warmers, Fox officials won't take any chances. They'll buy them at an outdoors store in Los Angeles and ship them to Green Bay, said Jerry Steinberg, Fox's vice president for field operations.
Decades of broadcasting football games in the cold and snow have taught TV crews many tricks for dealing with inclement weather. Fox will turn on its cameras at Lambeau on Friday - and leave them on until the game ends Sunday.
As long as the equipment's internal temperature remains constant, the lenses won't fog up, Steinberg explained. The crew also won't run cables along the ground because they might freeze to the turf.
The heavy snow that fell during the Packers' win over the Seattle Seahawks last Saturday created its own set of challenges. Viewers may have noticed many low camera angles at times, simply because the action on the field wasn't clearly visible from above through the thick flakes.
Snow also interferes with the yellow first-down line that networks superimpose on the turf. With a little help from the field crew, Sportvision, the company behind the yellow lines, was able to continue to indicate the location of first downs.
``Every time we went to a break, they were shoveling the yard lines,'' Steinberg said. Then Sportvision would register the yard lines in its system.
 

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