INDIANAPOLIS – While most of you were still sleeping, Monday’s ECHL All-Star gameday started early for me — 7 am to be exact. I was lucky enough to work on the in-house production of the ECHL All-Star Classic while my coworkers produced the NHL Network show from the production truck outside Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Most people don’t get to know what it’s like being on the production crew, so I figured I’d give you a “behind the scenes” look at how the day went for the production side of the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic.
Because of the busy basketball weekend at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, we had to run our fiber optic cables from the TV truck on Friday afternoon. Friday night was an IUPUI Men’s Basketball game against Green Bay, and Saturday was an all-day, high school basketball event. Because of that, cables had to be run and hidden for Monday.
7:00 AM – Arrive at Indiana Farmers Coliseum
For the production crew, the day started at 7:00 am. We arrived with the production truck and had to unpack and finish running the cables that we started on Friday afternoon.
The NHL Network show had five cameras on it. We had to run a separate cable to each location as well as run a cable to the broadcast booth, where we would have to set up lights, two monitors and headsets for Idaho Steelheads’ announcer Brian McCormack and NHL Network analyst Neil Smith. Along with setting up the upstairs broadcast booth, we also had to run microphone cables and a fiber optic line between the benches, where Cincinnati Cyclones broadcaster, Everett Fitzhugh would serve as between the benches analyst.
Time to set up cameras at each location. We had two cameras at the center red line for the game and tight follow as well as a camera on the end zone, one in the west corner and a handheld camera.
While some were setting up cameras, broadcast directors, talent, and Fuel staff went over the broadcast as well as the script for the in-house show.
Two hours to game time, we were putting the final touches on the beginning of the broadcast. It was time for the in-house production meeting. As the replay operator for the in-house show, it was my job to play all hype videos, commercials and puck shuffle-type games on the video board.
In the production meeting, we went over how everything would be timed, down to the second, so the NHL Network broadcast wouldn’t be waiting to play when they came back from commercial.
The in-house production is underway, while the production crew on the NHL Network show was preparing graphics, highlights and pre-recording the open for the broadcast.
The live production on NHL Network has begun. The in-house show is timed perfectly with the TV broadcast to make sure everything was on time and worked out perfectly.
Up in the arena control room, the director had a direct comm line with the production truck parked outside as well as a comm line to the director of game operations Jeff Neidlinger and timeout coordinator/PA announcer Andrew Smith, who was between the penalty boxes.
The All-Star game has ended. As fans make their way to the exits, the fun part has just begun for us production folk. Remember how we had to lay out all of our cables and unpack the production truck? Well now it’s time to wrap all of those cables up and get them back to the truck, then pack the truck up for the next production.
Once all of the cables were correctly wrapped and cameras put away, it’s time to pack the truck up. Every case and each piece of equipment fits inside the truck like a puzzle to make sure everything gets back to where the truck is kept until the next production. Once the truck is packed up, it’s time to hitch it to the pick-up truck and get it back to our office, after that, we all get to go home.
Monday’s production couldn’t have gone better. The NHL Network show looked great and the in-house show looked just as good. Fans seemed to be happy with how everything went and were pleased with the NHL Network production.
Although I couldn’t be working and covering the game with the rest of #TeamSinBin on Monday, being part of the production crew was a dream come true for me.