Primary Election Night

September 5th, 2018

When you sit down and watch the evening news you have no idea on how much work goes into broadcasting live feeds for a less than five min hit on the network.  Last night gave me much appreciation for the people in the industry.

 Satellink West was hired this past Tuesday by NBC to broadcast Kelli Ward’s viewing party for the primary election. Ward’s viewing party was hosted at the Embassy Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona. Satellink West ran three fiber lines each embedded with audio and video for NBC, CNN and the POOL feed.  In addition, there were two sets of COM lines with PL & IFB for NBC and CNN.

I had no idea the amount of work it takes to uplink three signals to a satellite for the networks to broadcast.  My experience with uplink communications is very limited.  The Crew West team showed me how to run cables for our clients and talkback communications for the talent and photojournalist. I took this opportunity to learn and soak up everything.  For example, I didn’t know that the position of the Pool camera always courteously gets the middle of the press/media podium.  This is because the Pool feed gets distributed to more networks.  The sat tuck has a lot of components that make the uplink work.  Hanging out with Mike gave me a good understanding of the terminology and general understanding of how the uplink works.

This experience was humbling and makes me appreciate all the of the work done behind the camera.

 

– written by ASU intern Zach Vesledahl

Crew West and UFC

August 22nd, 2018

Over the past couple of years our good friends at ESPN have been hiring us to cover UFC events in vegas.  With the recent acquisition of UFC rights, ESPN is ramping up their coverage and have brought us along for the ride.  In July we helped produce a new show they are taking on the road to cover major UFC PPV events – Ariel & the Bad Guy – with Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen.  Thus far this new show has been at two events, one in Las Vegas and the most recent in Los Angeles, with 3 more events in the books for Crew West for the remainder of the year.  We’ll be heading to Dallas for UFC 228, then back again in Vegas for the huge fight between Connor McGregor & Khabib Nurmagomedov, and then we’ll wrap up the year in December for the final card of the the year.  For these shows our crews provide most of the production support.  Fight week coverage usually includes a couple of live shots, weigh in & press conferece coverage, and UFC Media Day interviews with the fighters.  For fight night we man two cameras and light the set that ESPN ships in for the hour long post-fight show.

2018 Cactus League Media Day – Arizona Diamondbacks

March 13th, 2018

When you sit down to watch a sporting event on your day off, you generally do not think of the sheer amount of work that goes into every aspect of the broadcast.  It is simple entertainment and nothing beyond that.  However, even the smallest things in these broadcasts can require an immense amount of work.  Take for example the little interviews and soundbites that air during the lulls of play during a baseball game.  Most would probably balk at the idea that these short little segments would require around five to six hours to shoot for each team.  However, this is indeed how long it generally takes.  Across the nation, independent production companies are hired by the national networks (such as ESPN) that broadcast professional sporting events to tape these segments.  One of these production companies is Crew West Inc.

Crew West works in tandem with ESPN producers to create a nuanced and artistic element to a small, yet extremely important part of a major baseball broadcast.  For example, take the shoot wherein Crew West teamed up with ESPN to interview a few star players on the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The crew began work early in the morning before the sun even shined in the sky, and went about setting up a professional set with a chain link fence set against a blue/gray backdrop for the interviews.  Here I was able to see the true nature of a professional production; hard and dirty work.  The best I could liken this production to was a construction site, but instead of building a skyscraper we were constructing a piece of art meant to immerse viewers in enjoying their favorite baseball team.  It was quite impressive to see how quickly this entire set was set up inside of an umpire’s locker room where space was tight and hot.  Even more impressive was the players we were able to interview and interact with.  I met and even shook hands with a few of the Diamondbacks major players such as Paul Goldschmidt and Robbie Ray.

The entire experience made me appreciate not only the profession I am in but the ability of the crew from Crew West to work so efficiently under such a tight deadline.  Next time I go to watch a Diamondbacks game I hope to see one of the interviews I partook in and be able to say, “I helped make that a possibility.”

-written by ASU intern Jakob Wastek