Pac-12 Networks Airs First Gymnastics Broadcast
In a way, producing a gymnastics broadcast is kind of like producing multiple broadcasts.
There’s not just one thing going on at once. There is no snap at the line of scrimmage, no confrontation between pitcher and batter.
In a gymnastics meet, there are a handful of things going on simultaneously. A star vaulter may be competing at one end of the arena while a top performer on the floor exercise is also going through her routine somewhere else.
That presents one of the challenges of televising a gymnastics meet, as the Pac-12 Networks will do this afternoon when Cal hosts Auburn, Arizona and Kentucky. The meet will be shown on tape delay next Wednesday at 5 p.m.
“You could have two top gymnasts competing at exactly the same time,” said director Mark Wolfson, a former gymnast at Southern Illinois. “You have to see the lineups for every team and know who you want to get. Make sure a camera is assigned on that apparatus when she comes up around the mat and show her all the way through her performance and as she goes back to her teammates.”
This is the first gymnastics broadcast being put on by the Pac-12 Networks, which is committed to giving exposure to sports that traditionally haven’t been on television much in the past. Schools across the conference are feeling the excitement of hosting telecasts at venues that haven’t been the home of TV broadcasts very often.
“This is the first meet to be on TV for some of these schools,” Wolfson said. “We don’t even know entirely at this point who is competing where. We will have four handhelds on the floor and will need to make sure we have movement in a way that won’t be a problem for competitors. But that won’t be a major problem. We will be there six hours ahead of time and work it out.”
This telecast actually won’t provide as much challenges as it could because it will be aired on a delayed basis. It will allow the production crew to film performances simultaneously and televised them both on tape. It will also give the viewers a chance to see a gymnast’s score quicker than in real time – often times during live gymnastics events the broadcast has moved on to another performer before the scores are announced.
“Once the meet is over, we will lay out the show and manage what has to go on,” Wolfson said. “We’ll add it up and see where we are. Hopefully we have what we need and won’t have to add what we don’t have.”