While millions of football fans spent a Sunday afternoon watching the Oakland Raiders play the San Francisco 49ers on CBS, Alex Kartman, '11, telecommunications, was in San Francisco to help the network bring the sights and sounds of that game to them.
Kartman was a guest of Sennheiser, an industry leader in audio equipment, as part of its Student Mentor Program, which gives a select number of students from around the country the opportunity to participate in a live production of a major sporting event each year.
From setting up and testing dozens of field microphones before the game to watching audio professionals seamlessly mix cheers from the crowd with announcers' insights during the broadcast, Kartman gained valuable on-the-job experience that most students who are looking to break into this industry only dream about.
"The entire broadcast was a thrill to be a part of," says Kartman. "Working alongside people who have mixed audio for Super Bowl, Masters Golf Tournament, and Olympic broadcasts gave me an incredible opportunity to watch, learn, and ask questions to some of the industry's best audio mixers."
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Although this was, by far, the largest production he has been a part of, Kartman is certainly no stranger to live sporting event productions.
One reason Sennheiser chose Kartman is his work with Ball State's Sports Link. The nationally recognized, Emmy Award-winning program produces sports-related content for the university's multiple platforms such as radio, television, and the Internet. Sports Link has exclusive partnerships with Fox College Sports (FCS) and NCAA March Madness on Demand. Since 2009, Kartman has produced and directed live televised sporting events that have aired on www.ballstatesports.com, www.ncaa.com, Comcast, and FCS.
"Sports Link not only provides us with an immersive learning opportunity to put our classroom learning into practice, but it also gives us the advantage of having our work showcased on a national stage such as Fox College Sports and other national sports networks," he says.
In addition to operating parabolic microphones during Ball State's televised football games on ESPN, Kartman also worked for the Fort Wayne (Indiana) TinCaps, a minor league baseball team, directing all of its 70 home games as well as the 2010 Midwest League's All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
Kartman took his knowledge from his three days spent with Sennheiser and CBS in San Francisco back to Ball State and applied it to his work with Sports Link as a producer and director.
"I learned just how important the extensive planning process the entire crew goes through is—from camera set up to audio patching, but the most valuable lesson I walked away with is to remember that no matter how much chaos and stress a live broadcast can bring, always stay composed and be professional."