Camera Operators Reveal The Wildest Things They've Captured That Couldn't Air
You ever what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite sporting event? How much we must not even see...it's all so fascinating. WARNING: NSFW.
People who've operated the network cameras at major sporting events, what's the wildest thing you've captured that the network wouldn't air?
Here were some of the answers.
Watching a third round FA Cup game midweek in the pouring rain. Boring as hell. Heard a 'bloody hell', turned round to find the cameraman quickly refocusing on a large fat man wearing nothing but a large baby nappy and performing a 30ft kneeslide on the mud in front of the home fans.
Camera guy laughing his head off, turned to me and said 'shame it won't make the highlights'.
I was shooting a Big 10 football game in 2011, and saw a gentleman in the stands who appeared to be drunk. He was standing up at his seat, weaving back and forth and kind of stumbling.
I turned the camera on him because I thought it was kind of funny. Then, all of a sudden, he just fell over. The people next to him jumped on him and started doing CPR. I stopped rolling immediately. He had had a massive heart-attack.
EMTs came and carried him out on a stretcher and put him in an ambulance.
The worst feeling in the world was watching the ambulance just sit in the tunnel for a long time, and not turn its lights on. He had already died.
It was f*cking horrible, and I felt like a huge *sshole for not realizing what was going on.
It still really bothers me. I'm certified in CPR now, in part because of that experience.
Sheer Is Never A Good Choice
Never done sports but I work in corporate AV. I've seen corporate Christmas parties get completely out of hand (boobie cam! fights! sex on the dance floor! general shenanigans!), heard mics left open while people were unaware and going to the washroom or making petty or rude remarks but the winner was one of the first huge events my former employer did in 2002.
First anniversary party celebrating the merger of two energy companies into one mega company. 2500+ people, six 15x20 screens, 2000 feet of P&D, 6 cameras, bands, acrobats, F&B, the works. Months of planning, a week of setup and 3 days of tear down for one 5 hour gig.
They hired acrobats from Cirque du Soleil to perform throughout the party. One of them we shall call Balloon Dancer. Balloon Dancer did a routine where she did acrobatics on a pair of ribbons suspended from a giant helium balloon 40 or so feet in the air. BD wore a sheer red body suit over a pair of shorts and a bandeau top. During her routine, the bandeau top rolled down exposing her boobs to the crowd on 6 15x20 screens.
The switcher op only noticed after about 20 seconds that she was upside down and topless and started calling for different camera shots but all the cameras were of course focused on the "action": " I got boobs on one. Camera two? You're live... nope I got boobs on two. I got boobs on three. Camera four go wide, you're live."
90% certain we caught a cheating couple at the US Open this year. They got caught off guard on camera winning a give away and did not look happy about it and both got real suspicious-like.
When I was a kid, my dad was a camera operator for the local public access channel, and would volunteer to record the Sunday sermons at our church.
I often got to sit with him in the camera room, and mostly watch, but sometimes help. Occasionally, he'd let me operate one of the boards to record the "children's sermon", where all the kids in the congregation would go to the front and sit on the dais, and the minister would tell them a story before they went to Sunday school.
My job was to pan through the group of kids, and find the ones that were goofing off, and cut to them for a couple seconds, then back to the group shot. The funniest one we caught was a kid who was standing, bent over, just waiving his butt in the air. Waiving it at the other kids, waiving it at the congregation, etc. It was hilarious. We figured it'd be inappropriate to include that in the taping, so we didn't use it.
Lack Of Tact
Not on the camera but was part of the crew. The cheerleaders formed a tunnel for the players to run through. Hand held camera was right behind one of the cheerleaders waiting for the team. Watching it later you could see that she was getting a little flustered because she knew the camera was there and what was coming up. Right before the players come out all the cheerleaders bend over as part of the routine, camera get perfect crotch view that would make a gynecologist blush. Producer yells "pull out, pull out" then realizes what he said and the whole truck loses it.
I am a live sports camera operator, mostly working in American Western sporting events like Rodeos and Freestyle Bull Fighting. Occasionally there are added bonus events that occur during Rodeos that are put on for the locals. This summer I encountered a true gem.
The game was Quadiators. Six teams of two ride on quads around a small circle in the arena. The the teammate on the back has a ballon filled with talc powder on their helmet and a plastic baseball bat. Goal is to smash the balloons of opponents.
In the second heat, things got really out of hand. Most of the contestants were teens, but there was one older fellow who seemed full of vengeance. He ran his quad into everyone's, eventually flipping one over and driving on top of it. He also grabbed a contestant by the back of the neck and started punching his balloon. An all out brawl ensued.
My director was worried that this may have been getting out of hand and we should settle on a wide shot instead of glorifying the bully. So there were a few minutes of re adjusting. But the people who put on the whole event were standing behind the director hooping and hollering and cheering the older fellow on as he rampaged the arena. The police eventually dragged the guy out.
So American Womens soccer player Mia Hamm was attending the Cincinnati Reds game. The camera zooms in on her and she takes a huge, and I mean huge, chug of her beer. The announcer says "Mia Hamm is in the stands tonite, reminding everyone the importance of keeping hydrated."
What's The Buzz?
I use to do camera work and the big sound dishes you see on the football sidelines, aka the "salad bowls". Several sound sources would be merged together to get the collision sounds, grunts, quarterback hikes, etc.
What we got to hear, but not broadcast, was the awesome trash talk between the players, inc insults againsts moms, sisters, girlfriends, etc.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.