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#TBT: ESPN’s sideline camera setups have come a long way

A shot of an ESPN camera — mounted in a pickup truck cargo bed — capturing Iowa State’s football team in the 1980s. (ESPN)
A shot of an ESPN camera — mounted in a pickup truck cargo bed — captured Iowa State’s football team in the 1980s. (ESPN)
An ESPN video camera on a motorized lift at an NFL game. (Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
An ESPN video camera operator works on a motorized lift at an NFL game.
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)

Welcome to another edition of Front Row’s #TBT: Throwback Thursday.

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we pay tribute to the art of improvising.

According to some members of our early remote production crews, ESPN should have been called the Improv Sports Programming Network. Back in those days, when those crews showed up at a site, they’d never know what they’d have to work with in terms of tools. But the pickup-truck with camera-platforms were regular features.

It was typical for school carpenters to build platforms for the school-supplied or rented trucks. The platforms were mounted inside the truck bed and gave our camera operators a little height and stability.

We think that our camera men and women are feeling a little more comfortable now as evidenced in the photo at right. While this shot was snapped at an NFL game, all of the same technologies used for those productions are also employed in our college football telecasts.

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