TV 2 Sporten goes close-up for training

Ask anyone what the prime issue facing the sports broadcasting industry is, and, nine times out of ten, people will cite training as their major concern. Where is the next generation coming from and how do you ensure a freelance pool has the skills you need it to have? A recent training programme undertaken by Norway’s TV 2 Sporten and its outside broadcast company, OB-Team, provides some answers.

With the Norwegian football season just underway, TV 2 Sporten is reaping the fruits of its labours back in January when it realised there was a growing lack of Camera 2 (high centre field) and Camera 3 (low centre field) close-up operators in its pool of freelancers. This was going to be a serious problem too: TV 2 covers all the football in the country, which translates as eight games a week.

“Ten years ago, you’d use six cameras to cover a football match and you could train someone while you were shooting,” explains Jens C Knudsen, senior director, TV 2 Sports Production. “When you have 18 cameras and more nowadays though, you simply don’t have time to support and train someone new during a production like that.”

Instead TV 2 took a selected number of cameraman, put them in an OB-Team truck, and took them to the FIFPro Winter Tournament held at Vålerenga Fotball’s indoor, full-sized practice pitch to see how they would fare in the position.

With Knudsen directing and explaining what he’d want to see in any given situation in a football match, and a slo mo director along as well to monitor how well they understood the in and out points of switching to slo mo, the team ran seven close-ups (5x Camera 2 and 2x Camera 3) continually for four games.

“During the first game, they were all over the place,” recalls Knudsen. “We ran multiple slo mos and told people to use the return button to see the quality of what they’d got, and it was absolute chaos. But, by the time we were done with all four games, it was like they were all in sync.”

Knudsen says that the graduates of the four match course will still need supervision on smaller matches before they graduate up to the major games, but is pleased with the results, and even goes so far as to say that some of them will be fantastic by next season. “We have provided our booking office with 7 or 8 new cameramen in those positions, so we now have more people than we have cameras, which is the right way round for us.”

The plan is very much to make it a yearly event and TV 2 has already adapted the idea to EVS training, playing back matches ‘as live’ to a OB-Team truck filled with EVS neophytes parked in a car park. “On Day One we figure who’s got the skills for it, on Day Two we go into detail, look at the in and out points, and explain what angles to chose and so on. And, at the very least, it means they’re not terrified the first time they come out with us.”

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