Katy ISD Student Video Crew Has Tryouts at Legacy Stadium

Director of Media Productions John Bertram instructing student Rachel Rafferty who was operating the LAMBS sideline camera. Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) – It was tryout time at the Katy red and white football scrimmage Tuesday night, but those participating were not attempting to earn a spot on the Tigers football team; they hope to become part of the LAMBS team, which works every home game producing live game video and replays on the big screens at Rhodes and Legacy Stadiums.

LAMBS stands for live action media broadcast system. Fans in the stands may not realize that the entire production crew is made up of students who are enrolled in the audio engineering and film courses at the Katy Independent School District’s Miller Career and Technology Center. Their director is John Bertram, who teaches at Miller and also serves as the director of media production at Katy’s two football stadiums. On Tuesday night he sounded more like a football coach than a teacher.

“Never come to the field without all of your gear,” Bertram told two crew members who went to their positions without some important pieces of equipment. “If this was a real game I would be sending you home,” he added.

Those who were trying out for a spot on the team had one opportunity to get it right if they want to be on the 2019 LAMBS team.

“It’s a real workforce experience,” Bertram said. “We are preparing them so they do it right in the real world.”

The big screen at Legacy Stadium complete with live video of the game produced by the LAMBS crew. Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

Twenty students will earn a spot on the LAMBS crew for the 2019 football season. They will be paid $10 an hour for their work and they will be expected to be as prepared as professionals who handle the same duties at NRG Stadium for the Houston Texans. There also will be supervisor positions for two students who have graduated from the program and are now in college.  On nights when games are being played at both of Katy’s football stadiums there will be two LAMBS crews working simultaneously.

Each production has five cameras, each operated by students. Two are on the field and the other three are at locations in the stadium. The control room is in the press box area, where students operate the audio, video and replay equipment while a student director provides commands of what he wants to see on the big screen at every moment of the game, which can also include video graphics and commercials. The director’s position can’t be attained until a student has mastered every other aspect of the production.

“They can’t sit in that chair unless they can do everything else,” Bertram said.

That means they have to be able to operate a camera, the video replay equipment, the audio control board and the video switcher, which selects the camera that is shown live at any given moment during the production.

Just as some of the players on the football team will someday earn college and professional positions on the gridiron, the skills learned in the LAMBS program prepare students for professional employment in television production, commercial production, live action sports, studio production and work on both independent and professional films.

Some of the LAMBS graduates include:

Madeline Ungaro: A videographer, editor and Twitter manager for the University of Houston.

Emma Reyes:  Works as part of the broadcast crew at the University of Nebraska.

Clayton Thuesen: A Texas State University video production crew member. An ESPN live sports camera crew operator. Thuesen also will be working for the campus radio station to create videos for their website. He credits LAMBS with helping him get these positions.

These kids are earning positions as freshmen in college, according to Bertram.

“That’s unheard of,” he added.

See additional photos:

Esha Nigudkar operating a LAMBS stadium camera. Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

 

The LAMBS control room screen showing live video from 5 cameras at Legacy Stadium and what the fans are seeing on the big screen in the stadium. Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

 

Austin King (foreground) operating the video switcher and Andrew Gregg operating the video replay equipment in the LAMBS control room. Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

 

Noah Murphy, LAMBS director, looking up at the screen showing video from all five LAMBS cameras and instructing the switcher operator and camera operators what he wants fans to see next on the big screen. – Covering Katy photo by Dennis Spellman

 

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