Up in the Crow's Nest

Since games started with the Red Claws back in November, I have had my eye on the Crow's Nest at the Expo.

For those who are not familiar with the Portland Expo, the Crow's Nest is where all of the production for the game takes place. The Nest is its own room elevated in the back corner of the Expo, allowing its inhabitants to oversee the entire site. It is home to the audio technician, DJ, jumbotron operator, broadcast producer, instant replay operator, and the graphics monitor.

Since I have a strong interest in production, I was itching to work a game in the Crow's Nest. And a few weeks ago I was given my chance.

The intern who currently works the graphics, knew he wouldn't be around for a few games and the broadcast producer, Andre, knew I was interested. So I was trained in how to find and create the graphics for the game and quickly learned how to operate the NewTek software.

I worked as the graphics operator for two games, where I had to enter various information about each team into over 90 graphics. During the games I would be the one to switch over all the graphics under Andre's command. I also was in charge of making sure commercials aired on time when the broadcast was being aired on Time Warner Cable.

I spoke with Andre about my excitement for production and my urge to work in that environment, and he was eager to get me involved in other areas of the production as well. I learned the ways of the instant replay machine, even though it was not a role to be filled by an intern during an actual game. However, I did get hands-on experience working the main camera during a game. The Red Claws use a three camera setup, with one camera under each basket and a camera at half court. I operated the half court camera and although it was the easiest of the three, it was also the most important as it was the cut away shot. Andre was very impressed with my ability to follow the flow of the game, and told me he would love to give more opportunities to work in various roles of the broadcast.

Overall it was very exciting to be given my first opportunity to work production for a professional broadcast, and I definitely took advantage of it. I am grateful for the opportunities given to me by Andre and I hope that I can work in the Crow's Nest more this season.


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