Led by coordinating producer, Lance Barrow and commentators Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo, the CBS Golf team is a tight-knit family. They travel the PGA Tour together for weeks just as the players do, hopscotching from course to course across America. Recently I caught up with them at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in Pacific Palisades, north of Los Angeles. Production Manager Bob Thiele, another all-star in our business, gave me an update on how the team works, as well as the latest in tech innovations.
Among the most interesting recent advances is the use of fiber cable and wireless cameras. Before fiber, crews had to pull 100-feet long reels of heavy 5-inch coaxial cable. Now the signals from four or five cameras can be sent on one thin mini fiber. Amazing!
To cover a typical event, the team uses four hard wired cameras at the 15th through 18th greens, one Jib crane camera, eight wireless cameras, and one overhead camera in the blimp. They also have a separate unit just for all the audio inputs--including the microphones on the announcers and all over the course. If you heard some of those amazing conversations between pros and their caddies--you know why. The arsenal is rounded out with 10 video-replay devices and graphics generators. All this tech magic is housed and hauled in six mobile trailer units.
Lance Barrow decides what we see, and when. He's our master storyteller. Director Steve Milton directs the cameras, playback, and graphics inputs. They're assisted by a team of more than 100 professionals. Even the caterer joins the convoy. He's been at it for more than 30 years. (By the way, the grilled salmon lunch was fabulous.)
From tee to green, CBS Golf is a well-orchestrated symphony. The CBS Golf brand represents excellence in every aspect of the sport: the best announcers, the best coverage and the best events. But perhaps most of all, CBS Golf stands for tradition. This resonates with its fiercely loyal group of viewers, who embrace the sport in growing numbers. On to the next! Check out what's up next on the CBS Golf schedule. Fore!
From 'Captain Kangaroo' to the 18th Tower
That's a provocative headline. And it summarizes the amazing career of CBS cameraman Gavin Blane. I first met Rick (as we call him) in the early '70s at CBS where he was a radio news technician. It was easy to see that with his sharp mind and winning personality that he'd go far. Wasn't long until Rick moved into TV as a cameraman. And our paths crossed again when we both worked on the popular children's show "Captain Kangaroo" (Look it up people under 40!).
Rick studied and perfected his craft, and became a top cameraman for CBS Sports. He covered all the big events--NFL, U.S. Open Tennis and, his love, golf. Rick became the lead camera--our man on the 18th tower. That's his "office." That's where he captures every final shot, every championship putt and where he also leads and teaches many in a crew of camera operators, tech support, and others who make up our all-star CBS Sports golf crew. Big salute to Rick, part of what makes our CBS family so wonderful.