Ski jumpers live, on the web

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BRATTLEBORO — For the past two years, Brattleboro Community Television has partnered with USA Nordic to film and livestream the annual ski jump competition at Harris Hill.

Now that the folks at BCTV have learned from USA Nordic's production process, it's time to make the jump and go it alone.

"Two years ago, Nordic USA came to us and asked if we would join them in helping to livestream this event for the first time," said Cor Trowbridge, executive director of BCTV.

In 2018, USA Nordic sent two people and a production van full of gear, which included an instant replay device and a switcher to overlay graphics. BCTV volunteers ran the cameras and staffed the production van under the supervision of USA Nordic's crew. In 2019, USA Nordic sent all the same equipment, but only one person this time.

For its part, BCTV agreed to purchase hundreds of feet of fiber to spool up and down the hill to connect the cameras to the production van and then onto the internet.

Both years, the events were broadcast live on the website of Nordic USA, on YouTube, BCTV's Facebook page and Channel 8.

"This year, we got a call from USA Nordic and they're not going to be sending any staff or equipment this year," said Trowbridge. USA Nordic told her they had a scheduling conflict and couldn't come to Brattleboro a third year in a row. "We had to make a decision if we were going to go ahead and take full responsibility for livestreaming the jump."

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She said both BCTV and USA Nordic were proud of the production over the two past years. The folks at BCTV decided it would be good to keep the momentum rolling by livestreaming on their own this year.

"Our goal this year is to have three cameras and be live on all the platforms," she said.

Unfortunately, said Trowbridge, with no equipment courtesy of USA Nordic, there will be no instant replays this year.

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"Which is very sad," she said.

BCTV doesn't have its own device so it will have to go without, she said. But BCTV's production crew was delighted to learn they would have the use of a van as a production studio, courtesy of Sally Seymour, Harris Hill's media coordinator, and her husband, Allan.

"They have really bent over backward trying to make it work this year," said Trowbridge. The Seymours also arranged to have the equipment necessary to make it possible for BCTV to hook up to the internet while on the side of a hill in Brattleboro.

"We do everything through web interfaces, three people in a van and a bunch of volunteers and staff out there on the hill," said Trowbridge.

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Livestreaming and recording the event also raises BCTV's visibility in Brattleboro, across the country and around the world.

"People seeing us out there helped increase the awareness that there is a local TV station," said Trowbridge. And family and friends of ski jumpers, who come from all over the world, were able to watch the event.

2020 marks the 98th year for the Harris Hill Ski Jumping Competition in Brattleboro. More than 40 of the world's top up and coming male and female ski jumpers from the United States and Europe are scheduled to compete this leap off the 90-meter ski jump. The event is sponsored by Pepsi, and features the Pepsi Challenge/US Cup on Saturday and the Fred Harris MemorialTournament on Sunday.

Harris Hill also serves as a stop on the US Cup competition of the United States American Ski Jumping series.

To view BCTV's Harris Hill Ski Jump videos, visit www.brattleborotv.org/harris-hill-ski-jumping.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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