By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
If you haven’t noticed, there is a huge difference in the activities on Tiger Fields scoreboard and other scoreboards in the area. Belton High School is on the cutting edge when it comes to technology and the uses of covering a high school football game.
This Friday night take some time to watch the scoreboard from instant replay to commercials. The score board is run by students under Tiger Media Productions. From a control center to five cameras on the field, Belton Tiger Football has the best coverage in the area if not the state.
Each camera has a different assignment. There are two cameras upstairs, one sideline camera and one in each end zone. They have varied assignments from tight coverage to a broader coverage. The students also have multiple cameras on the field taking pictures.
The team films the pep rally and begins setting up for the home game at 5 p.m. Planning for each game begins on Thursday. Each week they go over the film to work on improving week to week. There is always some kind of problem, and the kids learn to work together to overcome those issues.
“Lighting can be a challenge at home games. You have to learn how to deal with low light and movement. Those inside players step front of your camera angle. It is exciting I love doing this,” said Drew Fitzwater. “I want to do camera work in the future. The families get a kick out of what we do,” said Alyssa Vargus. “We are so lucky to have a class like this at our school. Nobody around us has anywhere near the quality of equipment we have.”
“They trust us students to handle both the equipment and filming of the games. Not everybody does that,” said Fitzwater.
By 6 p.m. the cameras start getting set up. The testing of the equipment begins for both quality and function. Each head set is check back with the control center run by two students.
The set up back at the control center shows each camera angle on one big screen. They all work together with the announcer in the press box. Those commercials are timed with the announcer in the press box.
Each game the staff is given an entire script. Noeh Varville runs the control center under the direction of instructor Randy Bell. Priscilla Bechel runs the replay system. She has to be ready to tag great plays on both offense and defense for a highlight film produced each week.
“I was nervous at first. This is a great way to watch the game. Sometimes you have camera’s down and you have to adjust. We tell the camera’s what to shoot,” said Varville.
“The players are huge. You don’t realize how big they are until you are near the field. It takes a lot of effort to take sports pictures. Once you learn how it is awesome to watch the players use the pictures,” said McKenna Thompson. “Taking sports pictures takes time to learn how to do it. I have purchased my own camera and use what I have learned in this class,” said Madeline Brandy.
Mark Fitzwater controls the cameras on the field with Bell back at the control center. They are constantly working throughout the game both teaching and overseeing the students. Bell pointed out that none of this was possible without BISD Administrators heavily supporting the program.
Their equipment is state of the art. One of those Cannon cameras is a Mark IV series. You get what you pay for and BISD stepped up to the plate for each sport and the Tiger Media Productions class.
These kids work year round covering all the sports.