By: Conner Beasley, Director of Westlake Television Broadcast Crew
A portion of the students in the Westlake Technical Entertainment Crew takes on the challenge every year to broadcast Westlake High School’s varsity football games live to tape on Time Warner Cable. This year there were 25 members of the team, starting off the year two weeks before school began. During the summer training, each member learned a specialized position: camera operator, replay operator, graphics operator, director, or one of many other specific jobs. The season started early with one of the biggest games of the year against Southlake Carroll.
The team grew together as the season progressed, each person becoming an expert at their job. Over the course of the football season, the group became more and more efficient at the set-up and take-down for each away game, eventually taking only a fraction of the original time by the end of the season. It is amazing to see new members go from not knowing the names of the tools they are using to being experts on them. By the last game, the team worked together like a well-oiled machine. The 2014 season was left off with a rocky relationship with the head coach of the football team. We were stumbling, trying to deal with the new policies that he had put in place regulating the usage of the cameras. The team went into this year with the goal of turning this relationship around. I am happy to say that now, at the end of the season, the crew has a very positive relationship with the coach, unlike the previous year. The coach has even advocated for the organization in pep rallies and on television. Changing this relationship was one of the largest accomplishments of the year.
This season was also a success for the football team, which meant that the broadcast crew got to continue filming the games on into the holidays. With this came some struggles, which the team had a blast working through. First off, the weather this time of year is cold and wet. When dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars of broadcast equipment, this turned into a challenge. The team has successfully managed to produce an excellent product, despite having to keep everything dry in the inclement weather. Another challenge that comes with the games proceeding late into the year is a conflict with another event that we put on, the Nutcracker Spectacular. This year, there will be a rehearsal and show that conflicts with sixteen of the members on the broadcast crew. In dealing with this, the team decided to slim down the numbers on both events. There is even a handful of video crew alumni that are coming out to help work through this.
Every year the team submits their product into three different UIL competitions: video editing, video directing, and photography. The crew has a very good record of winning awards in each of these events every year. One of this year's biggest goals the team is aspiring to is winning first place in all three of these categories. With the end of the football season, Students have begun editing the video footage to submit to UIL. The team will get the results back in the spring semester. Overall, the season has been a major success as far as the product produced and the fun times the crew has had. The group loved getting to broadcast the games all the way through playoffs and into the cold weather. It was enjoyable seeing the reputation with the coaching staff evolve throughout the year and seeing the outstanding product a group of high school students can produce.