Comments: 359 • Responses: 104 • Date: 2013-02-03 20:17:29 UTCsource
zontafer47 karma2013-02-03 20:28:35 UTC
How does the yellow first down line work? Do you push a button and it magically appears?
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threeironteeshot88 karma2013-02-03 20:40:56 UTC
This is a rather long and complex answer. The short answer is essentially we have sensors on the cameras that tell the computer where the field is. That gives us our drawing board. The field acts as a chroma key (aka "green screen") and we key on the green grass to make it so that the line doesn't draw on players (green uniforms or grass stains on jerseys make it very hard to not draw on players). once the virtual field is set up properly, it is as simple as clicking on the screen to get the line to appear. Again, this is the very simple explanation.
zontafer14 karma2013-02-03 20:48:20 UTC
Wow thank you for that detailed answer. I have always wondered how that's done! I'm hoping to go into media some day. Are there any other cool technical things that you could share?
threeironteeshot18 karma2013-02-03 21:00:07 UTC
I can share a lot of stuff actually, but I would ask that you be a bit more specific. I don't want to talk to stuff you aren't interested in.
capnofasinknship21 karma2013-02-03 21:57:57 UTC
How does the system take into account different camera angles and zoom? If I'm remembering correctly the yellow line shows up on certain replays from different angles and the standard angle can definitely be at different zoom levels. Or even if the ball is near an end zone I would think the angle would be more distorted than when the line is at the 50.
I'd also like to know more about the sensors on the camera. What's it sensing? How?
threeironteeshot62 karma2013-02-03 22:28:45 UTC
This answer requires a lengthy response. So there are primarily three "game" cameras (1,2,3). They are situated at the 25 yard lines and at midfield (left to right). You will also see other cameras with lines outfitted on some shows. Those are camera 4 (high end zone) and skycam. So if the replay doesn't have the line it is because a different camera is being used for the replay.
As for the zoom and how cameras sense: Essentially the sensors tell the computer where the field is in relation to the camera position using XYZ axes. They do this because voltage from the camera is converted into a digital value and relayed to the computer. So when the camera is zoomed in 40% and looking a certain number of degrees left (pan) and down (tilt) there is a voltage associated with that. We calibrate the computer the day before the game going through all the zoom values, pan values, and tilt values that would be used during the game to get the digital field setup. There is one computer per outfitted camera and we calibrate them all individually. The accuracy of the coordinates gets worse the farther away from the camera the action is. For example, if camera 1 (left 25) is shooting something at the right side red zone, the yellow line won't be super accurate. That is why the director takes the game camera that is most directly on top of the action when scrimmage begins. So we have to set the line of scrimmage and first down line on the camera the director is about to take as the "game" camera to maximize the accuracy of the line.
Hope that answered it.
capnofasinknship11 karma2013-02-04 02:38:57 UTC
Wow that's really cool. I never would have thought it was that complicated, yet in a way it's kind of parsimonious. Very interesting that the voltages are converted to digital values...does this require a special mod to your cameras (besides the sensors) to get them to have variable voltage based on zoom and angle?
Thanks for your detailed response!
threeironteeshot8 karma2013-02-04 02:43:49 UTC
The answer to that is beyond my expertise. I'm pretty sure the lenses get modified, but I could be wrong. As for the pan and tilt, those are special panheads developed by the inventing company (Sportvision).
zontafer5 karma2013-02-03 23:15:30 UTC
Is that also how you "draw" on the screen"?
threeironteeshot16 karma2013-02-03 23:22:55 UTC
Are you referring to the process of when the announcers draw arrows and circle players during a replay? If so, that is done with a telestrator. It is simply a finger drawing on a touch screen. The difference between that and the yellow line, is that the line in "under" the players and the telestrator is "over" them.
pizzatapes2 karma2013-02-03 22:56:54 UTC
I've always wondered this. Appreciate the thorough explanation.
threeironteeshot7 karma2013-02-03 23:18:59 UTC
SteveTheSultan7 karma2013-02-04 02:05:38 UTC
I for 1 would love the excruciating detail. I love football but the technical aspects of the production fascinate me
threeironteeshot7 karma2013-02-04 02:20:44 UTC
It is really fun and fascinating all at the same time.
SteveTheSultan3 karma2013-02-04 02:27:40 UTC
When you are watching games. Do You More look at the technical aspects of how the production is going.?
threeironteeshot8 karma2013-02-04 02:50:45 UTC
It is actually a bit of both. Have to monitor the data and make sure the graphic works well. You also need to pay attention to the game to make sure you don't accidentally put in the wrong down and distance.
OceanCarlisle6 karma2013-02-03 21:47:06 UTC
So is the entire field a digital reproduction, or just the grass near the first down line?
threeironteeshot16 karma2013-02-03 22:04:20 UTC
There is a digital overlay on the screen that you at home can't see when the graphic isn't turned on. it lays on top of the field with the yard lines lined up perfectly that we use as our "drawing board." This is how we spot so accurately. When we turn the graphic on, the digital overlay disappears as the graphic is live so that all you see is the yellow line, the LOS, and the down and distance arrow.
zontafer4 karma2013-02-03 22:57:35 UTC
Basically any of the technologies or cool behind the scenes stuff that most people don't know about. I'm taking media in high school and it's pretty interesting.
threeironteeshot10 karma2013-02-03 23:21:24 UTC
It is tough to illustrate what it is like behind the scenes without pointing to one particular aspect. I can just say that it is complex and a world of fun. We get paid to watch sports. It is great and should you choose to pursue media, I'm sure you'll like it. Just know that you are rarely home which puts strain on family life.
zontafer5 karma2013-02-04 00:03:50 UTC
Okay then how many cameras are there at any given time? Are they all hooked up together?
threeironteeshot12 karma2013-02-04 00:21:04 UTC
There are between 10 and 25 cameras depending on the show. They are all independent and they all send their feeds to the truck where the video runs through a router that routes the video to the different machines in the truck. All feeds are recorded for the whole game and available for use by replay/graphics. It is pretty sophisticated actually.
zontafer7 karma2013-02-04 02:09:52 UTC
That sounds awesome. Are all of the graphics done before the game or are there teams of people working throughout the game? And then is it someone's job to make the replays for every single play so they are always ready?
threeironteeshot10 karma2013-02-04 02:19:38 UTC
Both. A lot of the slides are created before and updated in-game as necessary. You'd be surprised at the number of things they create for "just in case" scenarios. hose guys are super busy the whole time.
fozziefreakingbear12 karma2013-02-03 22:06:24 UTC
What would you do if someone had a colored field like Boise State?
threeironteeshot23 karma2013-02-03 22:32:03 UTC
We have a list of nightmare places to go because of issues with keying on players. Boise and Oregon are hell when they wear uniforms the same color as the field. When that happens we do the best we can but ultimately we end up drawing on the players. It is unavoidable when it is that alike in color.
Dylan_the_Villain15 karma2013-02-04 03:39:32 UTC
I remember one time watching the patriots playing at home on a really snowy day, so the chroma-key or whatever was changed to white, and the yellow line would go over the players. It was pretty funny to watch.
threeironteeshot13 karma2013-02-04 05:44:01 UTC
Ya. Snow makes it damn near impossible to not draw on people.
lojic4 karma2013-02-03 23:28:36 UTC
Would it be feasible to use an overhead radar system to further decrease the overdraw on green uniforms by detecting player location?
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-03 23:29:40 UTC
Drawing on players has to do with the chromakey more than the position of the players on the field.
Boston172 karma2013-02-04 23:13:08 UTC
Fucking Green Bay!!
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 23:23:32 UTC
That is one of the difficult combinations, yes.
mrpopenfresh1 karma2013-02-04 02:50:26 UTC
So you invented this or did you simply implement it?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:53:36 UTC
No no. I only operated the software/hardware. I did not invent it.
dbtennis1322 karma2013-02-03 22:04:00 UTC
My wife hates going to games live because she doesn't have the yellow marker to let her know where the first down is.
What do you think are the next steps for technology in professional and college sports?
threeironteeshot12 karma2013-02-03 22:08:04 UTC
There are constant innovations to broadcast technology. The fun part is seeing what people come up with. I don't know of anything particularly awesome coming down the pipeline. I do know that for the tech to be truly awesome, they would need to implant chips or IR sensors into player equipment which is an entirely different legal matter in itself as far as the NFL/NCAA are concerned.
chesterhawk13 karma2013-02-03 20:40:51 UTC
Can I ask your opinion on the chains? They chain system seems so prone to human error, yet we treat it like its a scientifically perfect measuring device. Has there ever been a movement to come up with a better system?
threeironteeshot14 karma2013-02-03 20:54:35 UTC
The chains are fine, in theory. They measure perfectly and they have a system where they can be precisely placed in the same spot on the sidelines and in between the hashes. Where the error comes in is the spotting by the officials. As you know, we also do the line of scrimmage. When there is an incomplete pass we leave the line where it is but more often than you'd think, the official places it forward or back up to a half yard (thus causing us to adjust our line appropriately). This is a rather large error especially when you consider the fact that they measure for first downs so precisely. As for improvements, I haven't heard anything other than rumors of development of a system so that the players can see where the line is without looking at the sidelines.
monte118 karma2013-02-03 22:03:25 UTC
I just heard about using lasers the other day. What do you think of that?
threeironteeshot8 karma2013-02-03 22:09:10 UTC
It would change the way the game is played now with the need for field awareness, nut I can't see it being a bad thing as long as it doesn't affect player safety.
TemetNosce5 karma2013-02-04 02:37:00 UTC
I signed in specifically to ask about "the chains". Why hasn't anyone embedded a microchip in the football (Trademark sign goes here)? I have said this for years. We can bounce/crash a damn spaceship onto Mars, so I don't believe it has anything to do with how much "impact" the football goes through. If you could just put a chip (again, trademark) in the football, Hell, GPS could tell you EXACTLY how far the football has gone/where it landed. /Rant over. Cheers!
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-04 02:48:51 UTC
That would be awesome. Cost maybe?
JohnWad11 karma2013-02-03 20:19:20 UTC
Is Brent Musberger losing his marbles or what?
Pretty cool gig you have, I must say.
threeironteeshot16 karma2013-02-03 20:20:43 UTC
Never worked with BM, but IMO his time is up.
Original61911 karma2013-02-03 20:25:57 UTC
When you were working on MNF, were you also employed off season? If so, what did that consist of?
threeironteeshot10 karma2013-02-03 20:29:32 UTC
Most people in the remote broadcast industry stay busy with multiple sports. A lot of directors and producers for football also do other sports in the "off season," and they like to bring their favorite crew members with them to their other shows. I worked a lot of basketball when I wasn't doing football. This was enough to tide me over until football started up again. So essentially I had june-august off (give or take).
astromono4 karma2013-02-03 21:26:40 UTC
were you paid by the gig, then, or kept on salary year-round?
threeironteeshot9 karma2013-02-03 21:57:19 UTC
It is a per-diem job. You get a base rate of pay per day (even when traveling) and food allowance. If you don't work, you don't get paid. There is no paid vacation.
bwc_288 karma2013-02-03 22:40:26 UTC
I understand if this is too personal, but what's the pay like?
threeironteeshot10 karma2013-02-03 22:44:31 UTC
Pay varied based on your demand. I was about $400 a day (if you average my years). Guys like the lead Video and Audio technicians (men and women) were probably closer to $1000-$1200 a day. But there is only on of those each per show so it takes a while to get to that position. Directors and Producers are paid more.
RocksTheSocks1 karma2013-02-04 04:54:17 UTC
'tide over' isn't a good term. College Basketball is a gift my friend. At least in Indiana lol. Football is great too though. This is honestly a cool AM, thanks.
threeironteeshot8 karma2013-02-04 06:01:50 UTC
I mean no disrespect to other sports. I just love working football the best. Actually soccer was fun to work too because there are no timeouts during the game. real quick game.
nick0418 karma2013-02-03 21:26:45 UTC
Ever work with Lou Holtz? Did you understand a fucking word he was trying to say? I can barely understand him.
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-03 21:58:15 UTC
Haha. I did not work with Dr. Lou. He is tough to understand from time to time. I think he's in the studio only (Bristol, CT).
LTBX7 karma2013-02-03 22:37:53 UTC
I work at a small TV station that does some sports coverage. I'm curious about the manpower required for a serious broadcast. How many people are usually working on live graphics for a game?
threeironteeshot9 karma2013-02-03 22:42:03 UTC
For MNF, I think our crew consisted of approximately 125 people for the broadcast and the studio segment (the table set up at the sideline). They were essentially two crews on top of each other but there was a bit of overlap in equipment usage. For the ABC college football it was more like 40 if you count utilities (25-30 if you don't).
For just the graphics, again there are two headcounts to consider. For MNF, I would estimate 30-40 if you count assistant producers, EVS operators, and the actual graphic operator. For college there was between 6 and 10 counting the same groups as the MNF estimate.
LTBX3 karma2013-02-04 02:16:28 UTC
Wow. I can't even begin to imagine how that workflow works. Thanks!
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-04 02:27:32 UTC
Those guys are real pros (not saying your crew members aren't). It actually runs very smoothly. This is primarily because they paid their dues on smaller shows.
umasstpt127 karma2013-02-03 22:03:12 UTC
I’m assuming your degree is in TV production/broadcasting? The reason I ask is because I just graduated with a degree in sport management, and think it would be really cool to work for a sports TV or radio station, but I have absolutely no experience in broadcasting media. Wondering if you think a degree in sport management would be able to land me a gig in the field.
threeironteeshot9 karma2013-02-03 22:11:39 UTC
As a matter of fact, my degree was in History (like Chris Berman). It was simply a matter of knowing the right people. My buddy from college was a media arts major and landed the gig. When he told me what he did I begged him to figure out a way to get me in the door. And like a true friend he delivered. I would say that media arts would be a better in than sports management. But then again, I was a history major, so who knows.
drewman776 karma2013-02-03 23:37:29 UTC
Former television broadcast engineer here. I would say that degrees don't matter much in TV. Most places are looking for a certain kind of person and degrees don't predict that well.
They need people who stay cool under pressure and have the right instincts. That can't really be taught. The tech itself can be learned on the job.
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-03 23:38:12 UTC
umasstpt125 karma2013-02-03 22:33:23 UTC
I would agree with you 100%. The sport management industry is extremely competitive, and unless you had like 5 internships in college and know the right people (neither happened for me), your entry level job will most likely be making 100 cold calls a day to sell tickets- after commission, you’d be lucky to bring in more than $30,000 a year. Luckily I had a good internship in event management, so that’s given me the experience to look outside the sports field.
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-03 22:34:06 UTC
Nice. I hope that path works out for you.
darthideut3 karma2013-02-04 05:21:22 UTC
No feaking way! I'm getting my degree in History and love sports. Do you have a masters or bachelors degree in History?
Also, TIL Chris Berman has a degree in History.
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 05:57:00 UTC
I have a BA in History and an MBA.
DoctorFantasmo7 karma2013-02-03 20:26:58 UTC
Have you ever messed up the first down and gotten I'm trouble for it?
What was the biggest game you worked at?
threeironteeshot17 karma2013-02-03 20:36:08 UTC
The first down line graphic is the width of a yard line/hash mark. When you think about it the first down is defined as just past the end of the stick. So even if we are spot on with the line, it depends on where the put the post down when taking the measurement. It is because of this that the producer/director doesn't get too mad when it wasn't exactly on point. I was pretty dead on most of the time. Only once or twice did I miss pretty bad. All that elicited from the director is a one-off comment urging me to do better next time. This is why the announcers always tell the audience that it is an unofficial marker.
best3outof56 karma2013-02-03 22:54:38 UTC
I've had a chance to work with the guys/gals in the truck. I'm always amazed how fast you guys can build graphics, and get information up on the screen so fast when something out of the ordinary happens. Plus I love hearing the director/producer curse all the time (the ones I've worked with are not prim and proper folks). It's definitely not for the light-hearted.
Besides doing all the set up, what else do you or the rest of the team prepare for? Is there a team meeting a day or two before the game? If there is, what is discussed?
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-03 22:58:47 UTC
I agree. Listening to the director and producer is fun. This is definitely an environment not suited for those who dislike profanity.
We meet at the beginning of the "set day" (day before) to go over setup plans and cover any nuances of that particular facility (i.e. elevator key or camera height in a particular section of the stadium. On game day there is a camera meeting a couple hours before the game where the director tells the camera crew (and replay guys) what he will be looking for. This is where the "story" is told. All games tell a story in the way they are shot and what the announcers talk about.
Buckeye706 karma2013-02-04 03:09:38 UTC
As a director, I've always had to tell people that I'm not trying to be rude, but, "I need that shot NOW". There isn't time for a committee meeting or discussion. If there's a problem, we'll talk about it after the program. Until then, just shut up and get my shot.
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 03:58:30 UTC
Haha. Sounds about right. You guys are awesome in the way you balance so much. I never took anything personally from the director in the heat of the moment. We all have a job to do.
WafflesandWorldviews6 karma2013-02-03 20:49:48 UTC
Do you that graphics are (or could become) too intrusive on live TV?
Obviously, some are really helpful (like the first down line and MAYBE the shot clock in basketball that's superimposed onto the court).
But some are really obnoxious (like the ill-fated Foxtracks hockey puck). In your opinion, is it going in a good direction?
What else would you like to see?
threeironteeshot14 karma2013-02-03 20:59:20 UTC
I'm glad you ask. This is a discussion we have a lot in the trucks. On one hand, the consensus is that perhaps tech is becoming too obtrusive. But on the other, that same tech is how we have jobs. So it's kind of a catch-22 for us. I'm a minimalist and I really hated when they added the down and distance arrow to the LOS and first down line. I'm not sure what else I would like to see. That's the fun part about it I guess. I like to be surprised by the cool stuff people come up with (as long as it isn't too annoying).
It's funny you mention the hockey puck. The company that invented the glowing puck is the same company that created the yellow first down line. In fact, it was how they kept from going out of business.
WafflesandWorldviews8 karma2013-02-03 21:18:26 UTC
Thanks for responding. As a hockey fan, I HATED the Fox puck, but it did attract a lot of new viewers, from what I hear. If you're not familiar with how fast ice hockey moves, the red trails on the puck really helped. But I found that it's all I looked at...
Thankful for baseball, which will probably never have any of this!
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-03 21:55:44 UTC
You're right. Baseball is a long way off from live graphics, but it is ripe for replay content (i.e. Pitch-FX [strike zone] and home run ball tracking).
WafflesandWorldviews5 karma2013-02-03 21:58:25 UTC
right. I was just thinking of live graphics. I don't really care what's on the screen during a replay (with the exception of that ridiculous X-Axis trick that ESPN uses). It feels SO manipulative, for some reason.
threeironteeshot9 karma2013-02-03 22:13:13 UTC
Haha. I sat next to those guys. That is some impressive tech, but it can give you vertigo if they do a poor job of lacing together the camera feeds. That is done on a huge touch screen. Picture a tablet 20x20. Cool stuff.
pizzabyjake6 karma2013-02-04 02:26:41 UTC
I wish announcers would talk less and allow some atmosphere and sounds from the game. It's like they need to hear their own voices every second and not allow dead air.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:31:46 UTC
Could not agree more.
codin_aint_easy5 karma2013-02-04 01:15:17 UTC
Why is the line orange on CBS? (At least during the Broncos/Ravens game it was)? Field color? Trademark issue?
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-04 01:59:19 UTC
Producer choice, I would say.
Benkins4 karma2013-02-03 22:48:28 UTC
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 22:54:53 UTC
MNF has like 20+ cameras. It is the highest production value broadcast that ESPN does. They have between 6-10 replay operators using the EVS machine. And they are all crazy good. Pay depends on what you do and for how long you have done it. I was about $400 a day but others made much more.
infinitevalence3 karma2013-02-03 23:28:56 UTC
A good EVS op can make $1200 a day, Font/Chyron is the second highest paid in most trucks.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-03 23:31:26 UTC
There you go. Thanks for the clarification. We didn't discuss rate too often.
JackTheCripple4 karma2013-02-04 01:09:35 UTC
The various engineers out there are somewhat butt-hurt that your submission title seems to claim that you may have had more to do with the innovation and development of the system than you actually did. Perhaps you could clarify how, exactly, you were involved in the yellow first-down line?
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-04 02:15:57 UTC
I'm sorry if you misinterpreted, but throughout this AMA I have given 100% credit where it is due. The line is not automated. Someone has to control it. That person was me. I have outlined the process of how it works throughout this AMA. But I never claimed to be the developer/inventor.
JackTheCripple1 karma2013-02-04 02:19:48 UTC
No, I understand. I read your responses. At the time of my post I just felt bad for all the (obvious) engineers who were downvoted into obscurity.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:23:27 UTC
Sure. I absolutely give much respect to the engineers behind this. Not only the software, but a lot of the hardware was proprietary too. Just amazing stuff.
Titsmagee274 karma2013-02-03 21:46:49 UTC
I would love this job
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-03 22:02:27 UTC
Best job I ever had. Loved it. It is a lot of travel though. You have to be willing to live out of a suitcase and there is a lot of running through airports to make connecting flights.
SteveTheSultan3 karma2013-02-04 02:30:01 UTC
How does the communication work with the announcers on what to show for replays.? Do they ask for sections to be replayed or do you just give it to them?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:39:33 UTC
95% of the time, they cover what the producer tells them they are going to cover. Every once in a while you get someone who really knows their stuff (like Gruden) who has the authority to call up something they want. The producer controls the content of the show and the director controls the way it is displayed via camera angles. Every camera change comes as a result of an order from the director.
aspect_ratio3 karma2013-02-04 00:20:55 UTC
What venue had the longest cable run/hardest set up?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 00:36:38 UTC
As for cable runs, I was fortunate to not have to deal with that. From what I saw the most surprising was the Rose Bowl. The cables end up in a rat's nest at the trucks. No I/O or anything. Just poor labeling with gaff tape. Very surprising considering they host a BCS bowl.
trytobringsomesanity3 karma2013-02-04 00:12:05 UTC
I currently do production for minor league sports teams. Do you have any recommendations on how to get into the broadcast production side of things?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 00:38:00 UTC
It really is about who you know. I would start by being a utility to get to know people if you live in a town that has any TV gigs (college or pro). If you don't live near televised sports teams, it is really difficult to break in.
SynShads3 karma2013-02-03 20:26:44 UTC
What does work consist of during the normal season and off season? More curious about the offseason, since it sounds like most of your stuff is done during the regular season.
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-03 20:32:59 UTC
During the season the gig essentially consists of travel to the location two days before the game. The day before the game we set up the stadium (camera equipment is taken down after every game). The day of the game we get to the site approximately 6 hours before kickoff to finish any work that didn't get done the day before and to otherwise be ready for stuff to break. When the game ends, we take all the stuff down. The day after we travel home.
As for the offseason, I worked a lot of basketball when I wasn't doing football. This was enough to tide me over until football started up again. So essentially I had june-august off (give or take).
TheColbsterHimself3 karma2013-02-03 21:56:52 UTC
Favorite college stadium?
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-03 22:14:17 UTC
Oregon. Hands down. That is a really nice facility. And a super convenient TV setup. Though I have heard TCU's new stadium is awesome too.
fatsjk3 karma2013-02-03 21:34:57 UTC
Very cool, and thanks for doing the AMA. I have two questions:
Were you allowed to freelance other productions during the season?
Union or non-union?
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-03 21:59:34 UTC
You could do as much work as you could get as long as it didn't interfere with the schedule. I worked a pair of NFL Network games in the middle of my MNF season.
benthook3 karma2013-02-03 22:58:35 UTC
I used to work at the Kinko's down the street from Lambeau in Green Bay. I was always so excited when you guys would come in and have us do your laminated "cheat sheets" for the cameramen that had the pictures of all the players/coaches on them so they could find them in the crowd. The producer we always saw (Mark?) was always very nice and would sometimes bring us MNF goodies.
threeironteeshot4 karma2013-02-03 23:18:32 UTC
Very cool. Those cheat sheets are really important for the cameramen to find the key people on the sidelines.
fozziefreakingbear3 karma2013-02-03 22:05:18 UTC
I would just like to say thank you for the yellow line.
It always seemed like magic to me when I was younger.
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 22:09:35 UTC
I wish I could take credit for it, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy it on my shows. :)
MilitaryParalegal3 karma2013-02-03 22:27:52 UTC
What was the best game you ever attended?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 22:33:20 UTC
The season the Patriots went undefeated until the Super Bowl consisted of a game on MNF between them and the Ravens. Probably the best game I have ever watched/worked. I don't remember the score, but I know that it came down to the wire and the Patriots pulled it out (hence undefeated). That actually broke a ratings record for a cable network. We got a commemorative pen for that. I would say that was my most memorable.
DannyDawg3 karma2013-02-03 22:38:29 UTC
Coolest or craziest thing you saw while prepping a CFB game broadcast?
threeironteeshot7 karma2013-02-03 22:47:38 UTC
As you can imagine, the tailgating for college is an epic event. Many times fans are allowed to tailgate right outside the stadium. It was always really cool to see the revelry up close. I wouldn't say I saw anything "crazy" per se other than drunk people, but it is pretty neat to see the Big House in Michigan open the gates an hour before kick which leave approximately 100,000 people waiting in one of four lines all trying to get in at the same time. Always very orderly though.
AlexanderKeithIPA3 karma2013-02-03 22:06:35 UTC
In my opinion, the addition of the blue and yellow lines have greatly added to the popularity of the sport. It makes it very clear to the viewer where the football needs to pass to achieve a first down anywhere on the field and from any angle. Having these lines makes the game much more exciting and easy for a beginner to understand. If you really are the mind behind this you deserve a lot of credit and in my opinion a big check from the NFL (I'm sure you will be waiting with baited breath!). Do you agree with any of these sentiments?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-03 22:30:46 UTC
I agree that is has greatly enhanced the viewing experience. I want to clarify that it is not my invention. I only operated the program on my shows. Though I do agree that the inventor should be handsomely paid and I'm sure they were.
nickandro3 karma2013-02-03 22:50:39 UTC
Would it be possible to talk through what the communication is like during a broadcast amongst producer/director/etc.?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 23:14:51 UTC
Yep. During the game the producer and the director have open microphones. They don't have to hit any key to be heard. They just broadcast everything (good and bad). Depending on what you do depends on who you listen to. The cameramen are not listening to the producer because he is asking for certain graphics/replays and controlling the topics the announcers are covering. If the producer wants something specific that a cameraman needs to shoot, the director will give the order. The graphics operator (VIS) listens to the Producer mainly as that is where the instructions come from. I listened to the both primarily out of amusement. But I HAD to listen to the director to do my job right.
If I needed (or anyone else) to talk to someone we had a PL outlined in red that had many channels programmed in it that was used to communicate. We used that if needed, but primarily I wasn't required to talk unless something went wrong.
Most of the communication is one way: director/producer to the crew.
roger_ranter3 karma2013-02-04 05:25:16 UTC
Any funny listening to the producer or director stories?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 05:56:38 UTC
Plenty, but none that I can recall specifics of. Just one-off stories of them screaming awful things at each other or making jokes at the expense of some people in the crowd. If the producer and director have a good relationship, it makes for a fun season.
mbones143 karma2013-02-03 21:55:21 UTC
Which was your favorite game you got to cover or stadium you got to visit?
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-03 22:18:47 UTC
I did a lot of really cool games. The season the Patriots went undefeated until the Super Bowl consisted of a game on MNF between them and the Ravens. Probably the best game I have ever watched. That actually broke a ratings record for a cable network. We got a commemorative pen for that. I would say that was my most memorable. I do have one regret in that I never got to do a Super Bowl or any BCS game. Only the select few get those.
As for stadium, Oregon for college was my favorite. For NFL, there were a lot of really cool places. The best TV setup is in Phoenix hands down. Come to think of it, it is a pretty nice place too. Screw it, I'd say Phoenix was my favorite NFL stadium. Now place to visit is a different story.
SteveTheSultan3 karma2013-02-04 02:07:53 UTC
What are the uniform colors that cause the biggest problems. I've noticed that the Florida Gators have a particular orange that almost looks red during the game. Go gators
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:17:47 UTC
The worst are Boise State, Marshall, Green Bay, and Oregon.
SteveTheSultan2 karma2013-02-04 02:26:02 UTC
I may be showing my technical ignorance by this question. But why not use a black and white feed? Would that help? Or why wouldn't that work?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:31:36 UTC
We have to paint on the video that goes to the uplink. If we used black and white, that's what people at home would see. To compound that, adding color provides for contrast so it actually make the chromakey easier. If it were black and white it would be shades of grey and there would be even more blending.
ArtShapiro3 karma2013-02-04 01:52:45 UTC
Is Mr. Berman as much a buffoon in real life as he seems to be on-air? I generally hit the Mute button when he starts blathering.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 01:56:57 UTC
Haha. I have never worked with him as he is primarily a studio guy, but I have to say I agree with you 100%.
qwertydirty3 karma2013-02-04 04:33:07 UTC
What did you think about the superbowl today?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 06:04:02 UTC
I enjoyed it. Was afraid it would be a blowout. Glad it came down to the end.
davidadevore2 karma2013-02-04 05:02:58 UTC
How many companies' trucks have you worked in? I know NEP has the MNF contract, have you worked anyone else's? Who's is your favorite, in terms of gear, cleanliness and engineers?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 06:00:15 UTC
I have worked in NEP, Game Creek, Cross Creek, Mira, and one other that I am blanking on for some reason. NEP is a class act. Always nice equipment and people, but I have a special place in my heart for the Mira trucks and engineers.
TwinTesla2 karma2013-02-04 04:09:25 UTC
Is it yellow because any other color would be like siding with a team ? Im just curious why its yellow
Ive always wanted it to be white with black stips like a zebra
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 06:05:51 UTC
I don't know. Perhaps because of the contrast with the green grass. Only a guess though.
Jcnew102 karma2013-02-04 04:51:44 UTC
What can you tell us about point spreads and whether or not games are manipulated for spread/gambling purposes? Jim Rome (many years ago) had a bookie for the mob on and he claimed the outcome of the game is not fixed but that manipulation occurs relative to covering/not covering the spread. The bookie claimed that everyone was in on the fix including refs, players, and announcers.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 06:03:33 UTC
I don't have any experience with that. I can't imagine there is too much a broadcast can do to sway things. The replay booth uses feeds from the game, but they get ALL angles and that would take some WWE type choreography to know when to flub a camera angle for review purposes.
happypat2 karma2013-02-04 05:02:13 UTC
Why Yellow? Why not Orange, like the first down marker?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 06:00:42 UTC
RoyRogersMcFreely2 karma2013-02-03 22:52:45 UTC
What would you change if you could?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-03 23:15:04 UTC
What do you mean?
DocBrown19843 karma2013-02-03 23:44:12 UTC
Would you make the line purple instead?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 23:55:25 UTC
We have that ability. But it is the discretion of the producer/director. MNF how has team color based LOS.
RoyRogersMcFreely3 karma2013-02-04 01:45:26 UTC
I was referring to all the graphics they add on the field now. It seems so cluttered. I don't mind the 1st down line at all. But the offensive team's logo and the arrow for 1st and 10 seems silly when that info is displayed by the score.
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 01:57:28 UTC
Oh. I totally agree. Hate the down and distance arrow.
RoyRogersMcFreely2 karma2013-02-04 02:19:27 UTC
If there was a way, I'd watch the game on another channel that displayed everything else but those cluttered graphics.
I hope most of that goes the way of the FoxTrax NHL glowing puck.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:25:28 UTC
You are not alone. A lot of people hate that stuff.
Handegg-Not-Football2 karma2013-02-04 00:23:16 UTC
Is it true that the title "Monday night football" was stolen from the UK who also have a "Monday night football" that had been going on before your version of "Monday night football"
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 00:24:18 UTC
Haha. I don't know.
dsubandbeard2 karma2013-02-04 01:17:32 UTC
Why are you doing an AMA when the majority of people interested in this are occupied with the Super Bowl.
Also, it's half time. That's why I'm here.
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 01:59:04 UTC
I did it prior to kick and am back on here during halftime/power outage. Heh.
bpwwhirl2 karma2013-02-04 18:25:17 UTC
I'm a TD for the videoboard for a big SEC school. I've been doing it for 7 years now, as well as camera/replay/graphics programs. Done football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball, pretty much all the major sports. Tons of fun- high pressure sometimes, but the knowledge that 100,000 people are seeing what I'm doing on the big jumbotron gives me a rush.
We always go out and take 3 clean camera feeds from the TV truck to supplement our own cameras (we have 5 of our own). Do the TV guys hate that? They oblige us, but sometimes they seem to act pretty annoyed. Also, CBS/ESPN never shares the Skycam which is a bit disappointing but I guess I understand not wanting to give up the "specialness" of that angle.
Also, if I ever wanted to get in on the production team of the TV guys, what would be the best way to get in do you think?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 18:29:32 UTC
Giving you a clean feed shouldn't pose a problem unless it is a strain on the trucks routers. Don't know why you'd get grief for that unless the runs to get you the feed were super annoying.
If you wanted to get in with the production crew, see if you can grab the ear of the tech manager. They might be able to point you in a faster path than being a utility. That would be my best guess. It is all about networking.
kronik852 karma2013-02-03 20:33:58 UTC
i'd like to think some engineer or software dev out there is responsible for doing the work to create the yellow line.
threeironteeshot5 karma2013-02-03 20:46:34 UTC
There is rather sophisticated software and engineering that goes into it. I operated the equipment. The developers are so incredibly smart. I knew many of them and was always amazed at what they did.
Geeraff-2 karma2013-02-03 21:47:15 UTC
So wait, you're just the guy that picks the two points that the software then uses to produce the line. You didn't create the software or come up with the idea? I'm confused.
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-03 22:05:34 UTC
I was the operator of the graphic. I did not design the software. Part of my duty was calibration each week as stadiums and camera positions vary from site to site.
Ultamaynard2 karma2013-02-04 02:38:18 UTC
I don't want to be that guy, but I have an uncle who's always claimed to know the person responsible for the first down line. He used to tell my brother and I about this for years like 10 years ago.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:45:56 UTC
It debuted in 97 or 98. There are many of us who do it. One per show in fact. So it is possible your uncle knew someone who does/did it too.
music_lover412 karma2013-02-04 03:19:01 UTC
Why did you quit or leave ?
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-04 05:52:48 UTC
My wife and I found out that she was pregnant and I didn't want to travel anymore once my son was born. So I traded for a 9-5 so I could see my son everyday.
heronmatt2 karma2013-02-04 03:03:04 UTC
Wow, I've known of you for a while. Is it true you get royalties each time they use the yellow line?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-04 05:53:48 UTC
I didn't create the line. I only operated it on the shows. Sorry if my title made it seem otherwise. i sure hope the creator gets royalties.
GeorgeAndPFunl2 karma2013-02-04 03:20:55 UTC
What teams are you a fan of?
Any shenanigans-related stories of partying with known television personalities?
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 05:51:39 UTC
To be honest, I don't really have an NFL team. I went to Fresno State for my Master's degree, so I guess that's my only team for football.
As for shenanigans, there were a couple instances of people being jerks, but only one instance that was jaw dropping. I cannot name the persona of interest as I don't want to get sued, but there was one former NFL star turned ESPN "talent" who made a scene one night. This particular individual is married and one night at a bar where the crew was partying, he walked up to this girl my buddy was talking to all night (and trying to take home), whispered something in her ear, and she promptly got up and left with him. It gave everyone in the room a sour taste for this guy. Of all the girls. Other than that I only have one off instances of people being nice or inconsiderate. Nothing as substantial as the one story.
I can say the Mike Tirico is a true pro and a very nice guy. So is Jawz. Carter Blackburn was probably the most friendly guy I got to work with. he is up and coming on the college circuit. I think he was in the booth with Rod Gilmore this season. Holly Rowe, Mike Bellotti, and Brock Huard were very nice too.
2Hawt2Trawt691 karma2013-02-04 02:03:25 UTC
So you're the reason the chiefs suck.
threeironteeshot2 karma2013-02-04 02:20:56 UTC
Haha. I suppose so. Tho I don't know why that would be.
2Hawt2Trawt691 karma2013-02-04 02:38:40 UTC
I just need any justification possible. Please god give me something.
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 02:41:19 UTC
Fair enough. I'll bear that burden for you.
roger_ranter1 karma2013-02-04 05:31:32 UTC
Were you at the Green Bay game when the replacement refs blew that call? Describe the discussion amongst your guys...
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 05:54:57 UTC
I was not. Would have been fun to work those games this season.
stickfigure680 karma2013-02-04 00:15:22 UTC
Why did you choose the color yellow for the line, instead of red or blue, or literally any other color?
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 00:36:58 UTC
I had no control over that.
Mario_Mendoza0 karma2013-02-03 22:59:19 UTC
Fuck the Ducks. Go Beavers!
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 23:17:39 UTC
I am impartial to the outcome, but that is a nice stadium. Reeser Stadium was nice too. But the cameras are outside and it gets cold as hell in Corvallis in the late season.
ubercanucksfan-1 karma2013-02-03 21:41:50 UTC
How did you come up with the idea of te yellow lines? Is there any interesting story to do with the development of it?
threeironteeshot6 karma2013-02-03 22:01:28 UTC
I didn't come up with it. The idea came from the company that did the glowing hockey puck. When that failed, they needed to come up with an idea to utilize the live graphic capabilities they had before the company went under. Someone thought of this and I think it is arguably the best graphic enhancement to football broadcasts ever.
rusty__shakleford1 karma2013-02-03 22:49:48 UTC
did the company that came up with it eventually go under? do networks have to pay a royalty to use the line now?
threeironteeshot3 karma2013-02-03 22:52:32 UTC
The company that came up with it is doing quite well. They also to many of the NASCAR graphics (pointers, speedometer/throttle/brake graphic), all of the baseball graphics (Pitch FX aka strike zone, and home run tracking), and various other one off effects for various sports including a lot of stuff used in the Olympics.
Sportvision is the company.
systemseven-5 karma2013-02-04 01:41:59 UTC
There is nothing that I could care any less about.
threeironteeshot1 karma2013-02-04 01:57:46 UTC
Haha. Fair enough.
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