Posted: July 11, 2015 7:59 pm
Each morning, golfers at the U.S. Women’s Open check pin locations and weather conditions. They look back on their previous day’s results and adjust their strategies.
Brad Cheney goes through a similar routine as the director of technical operations for FOX Sports, the broadcast partner for the tournament.
“To capture the event,” said Cheney, the network’s technical director since March, “to get more emotion out of it, we’re always moving the camera around. It’s a great process that takes a good amount of time.”
A major plan
For Cheney and the rest of the FOX Sports crew — a stable of 348 members throughout the tournament week — the process of bringing the production to Lancaster Country Club developed over a full calendar year. Representatives joined USGA officials for four different trips to the site throughout the year to form a plan and work out the logistics of the broadcast setup.
“The beauty of Lancaster Country Club,” Cheney said, “is that we have some great access points and plenty of space to work with. It’s actually been a great course.”
Equipment began arriving July 1 — eight days before the tournament’s opening round. Two days later, a 50-person FOX crew arrived onsite.
For Monday’s practice round, the full complement of broadcast personnel and 290 technicians, including 65 local crew members, began their week on the course.
The preferred shots
With 56 cameras stationed throughout the course, the FOX Sports crew owns a variety of angles to capture the U.S. Women’s Open and showcase Lancaster Country Club to a national audience.
The best perspective, Cheney said, belongs to the players.
“We spend a lot of time trying to give viewers at home a sense of what the players are seeing on the course,” Cheney said. “We use a lot of shots from behind the players and at eye level. Viewers can see how they line up shots. Will they hit it to the left or the right of the pin?”
As officials tweak the course on a day-to-day basis, Cheney and his crew adjust the cameras accordingly.
On top of the live video cameras, the daily adjustments include the location of the 37 microphones scattered throughout the course.
“One of the trademarks of Fox Sports,” Cheney said. “is the audio. We spend a lot of time providing consistent audio throughout the course.”
The audio funnels into the 14 “shotgun” mics as well as six microphones at hole locations.
A seal of approval
After receiving rave reviews from players and fans throughout the week, the Lancaster Country Club course — laced with 37 miles of fiberoptic cable — has also earned a thumbs-up from Cheney.
“It’s playing very well on TV,” he said.