Appalachian State University Presents |
in association with Kjo 2000 Graphics
Around the Horn
Notes from Jeff Zehnder:
Around the Horn is an ESPN sports debate program featuring a host and three or four individuals at satellite locations talking about the world of sports.
David, our director, came up with the idea of doing a version of the show.
Myself and a group of four others (David, Darius, Adam, and Trevor) planned, designed, setup, and scripted the thirty minute program.
We had two adjacent studios at our disposal. We setup the main, host set in one studio and the three additional commentators in the other studio.
We brought in some props, but by and large, the sets were already in place, for other University productions.
The biggest problem we had is that the University only owns three broadcast quality cameras, and we really needed five.
Larry Cornelison, our professor, and Chief Engineer, was able to supply us with one additional (older and lower quality) camera, and we pulled it off with four.
The host typically talks into the camera, but from time to time, an over the shoulder shot is shown of him looking at a monitor where he can see the various commentators.
This was the most difficult to pull off, as it involved sending the signals from the three additional cameras back out into the studio from the Control Room, prior to the signal going through the switcher.
I manned the main switcher, and one of our five additional crew members ran the secondary switcher that sent the signal back out into the studio.
The University somehow managed to cough up ten grand a couple of years ago for a 16x9 plasma screen that we used as the host's monitor.
As we only had four cameras, the main cameraman shooting the host had to constantly shift from shooting him from the front to behind shots.
Through the use of lots of B-roll, we managed to pull it off, although each transition from forward to behind took about 20 seconds, and some of our B-roll was just stills.
While the two other productions shot in the class required full scripts, we were able to get away with a list of questions and a basic idea of where we wanted to go.
Our third commentator (who gets booted about 2/3rds of the way through), was a sports-a-holic who was also in our class.
Behind the scenes, including cameramen and Larry, there were eleven of us.
David was very tense throughout most of the production, because there were a lot of different things going on that could have gone wrong, and we had a few problems.
Midway through, our secondary switcher operator, Colin, zoned out and everyone in the Control Room got distracted.
This was a live-to-tape production, so the switching glich that arose exists on the master.
Aside from that, it turned out very nicely.
While we didn't use a full script, we put an a lot of time in setup, staging, and editing b-roll.
Having experienced people in front of the camera really helped the production along, and David Jackson had way too much fun coming up with bizarre jokes to throw into the show.
The two rehersals were just as funny as the final cut, even though half the jokes were recycled each time.
Although I still think Trevor stole the theme music from a Nintendo Contra game, he swears he wrote it himself.
We all put a lot of time into the project, as tough of a grader that Larry is, we got an A on it.
I think we had him won over when we told him that, in order for everything to work, he would have to rewire some things in the Control Room.
Larry is straight out of those MIT photos from the 60's standing in front of UNIVAC.
I'd like to put the show up for download, but it's 30 minutes long, and even in compressed form, it's 70 megabytes.