Feb 24, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Nashville Predators Megatron production

Here's a fun article from the Tennessean, taking us behind the scenes into the Megatron production room at the Nashville Predators. (via Kukla's Korner)

When the animated heart flashes on the big screen at Predators games, some couples snuggle up, watching with anticipation. Others grip their beers and slink into their seats. But regardless of whether they're ready to smooch in front of roughly 15,000 fans, it's time to pucker up, people. Everyone's fair game.

Deep in the belly of Sommet Center in a dark room packed with knobs and screens, it looks more intense than an airplane cockpit. But despite the equipment and fast-paced job at hand, the people in the room seem to be having as good a time as the fans, giggling at the couples on the screen.


While it might seem simple — cameraman finds a couple; they kiss; move on — the mechanics behind the kiss cam and other scoreboard antics involve a team of 15 people and 28 screens of stats, scores and fan shots. For any given kiss, the people in the control room have four couples to choose from, on four screens, from four cameramen out near the ice.

... In 2007, the scoreboard at Sommet was replaced, and its four high-resolution video screens earned it a new title: megatron.

" 'Jumbo' didn't seem good enough," he said.

While the kiss cam gets attention for sure, the megatron moment [Blake Grant, director of technical operations] most remembers still gives him chills.

During the Predators' first year in the playoffs, the home team finished killing a penalty against Detroit just before going into a TV timeout. The fans — all 18,000 or so of them — erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation and kept it up through the break until the puck dropped again.

"It wasn't a funny moment, but it was dramatic," he said.

Grant says the crew works to keep a balance between the game and the entertainment. When the game is good, it obviously gets the attention. But even in the most heated matches, the timeouts and TV breaks give them time to get fans dancing, singing and, of course, kissing.

"I think the scoreboard has its own personality here," he said.

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