Inside the Networks' production truck at the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tourmament
Normally, when I hear five people talking over one another at once, I want to pull my hair out. But inside the Pac-12 Networks’ production truck, when you hear the producer, the director, the graphics guy and the two broadcasters all talking at once, it’s harmonic. Like a symphony - multiple instruments creating a beautiful song. And that song, that MAGIC, is what fans see while watching the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament on Pac-12 Networks.
That was how it felt to me when I first walked into truck this evening. Then I met Lori Brooks, the lead director for the Pac-12 Networks’ women’s basketball telecasts and apparently I was on to something with the music analogy.
“That’s the analogy I use. I find it’s the simplest way to explain a production,” Brooks said. “The producer is the composer and creates the melodies. He or she does most of the organizing in advance by researching all of the storylines and creating a plan. Then the conductor or the director pulls all of the pieces together to present to the audience.”
Brooks began her career at CNN in the early ‘80s, but quickly realized that news wasn’t the best fit. In 1984, a friend of hers was prepping graphics for an Atlanta Braves game, which gave Brooks an idea.
“It opened my eyes to this really cool thing you could get paid for!” she said.
And she’s been working in sports ever since. Brooks is a seasoned veteran, directing countless sporting events for various networks over the years, but she thinks the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in Seattle is something special.
“I think the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament in Seattle is terrific, it is such a great women’s basketball town,” Brooks said. “My favorite part about directing the tournament is seeing the players’ and coaches’ passion. Their passion excites me and it makes me want to throw everything into my work in order to make their efforts shine.”
She certainly does. I watched her carefully listen to the producer sitting on her left, coordinating to the camera people on the floor through her headset and calling out ‘Ready one, TAKE’ to the technical director on her right.
The producer noticed a screen by the Cougs allowing Washington State to score and told Tape (those responsible for all of the replays) to pull it up. The replay quickly appeared in one of the many boxes on the screens in front of Brooks and the rest of the production team. Brooks informed her technical director (the person responsible for switching between camera angles) to “Take Red” at the next dead ball. In layman’s terms, switch over to the replay, in the replay box, as soon as there is a stoppage in play.
Before I could blink, the production team seamlessly transitioned from the live game to the replay and then back to live again.
“We’re putting on a top-notch production here in Seattle with some of the best of the best,” Brooks said.