Yesterday I had a chance to sit in with Gerry Geurtz on one of the live streaming games from the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard being played this weekend at Toronto’s High Park Curling Club.
We were covering the game between Joe Fans and the short-handed Glenn Howard team and it was certainly a fun opportunity. I know there are lots of folks who have watched the games on line and Gerry’s done a good job bringing them to viewers.
What most folks don’t know is just how he does that. It’s really quite amazing to sit and watch him work the computer and the audio and the graphics and the camera switching all while still commentating. He’s a one-man technical crew with a touch of Vic Rauter all wrapped up in one. It almost reminds me of one of those one-man band guys who used to play five or six instruments at once.
Sitting down behind the sheet, there are a couple of computers open and one has the program that runs the camera shot as well as the graphics. Gerry punches up the proper assortment of shots (I believe there were four different cameras being used) and graphics (such as the name of the player throwing).
On the audio end, he has four wireless mics worn by the players and depending on who is shooting, he brings up the levels of that particular team. And as opposed to the TSN broadcasts, the curlers sometimes forget they have mics – or possibly don’t care. It’s definitely not family listening!
On a second computer, he tracks comments coming in from viewers as well as following scores from other events.
The end result is a really professional looking show that streams out across the Internet. It’s very impressive what Gerry has brought to curling and his commitment to raising the awareness of the sport is second to none.
The Stu Sells Toronto Tankard has become a very popular event, drawing bigger and bigger names each time out. This year that included Brad Gushue, Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen, as well as Ontario squads such as Glenn Howard, John Epping and Brad Jacobs. The women’s side also had some strong entrants with Colleen Jones being the only out-of-Ontario rink.
It’s the one significant cash event in Toronto (although there will be a Slam here later in the season) and it certainly has been a success on many levels. Congrats to all the organizers for continuing with this event.
Most of the curlers I spoke to yesterday at High Park weren’t raving over the ice conditions. It wasn’t that they were bad by any means, but they certainly were tricky. Although there was a nice curl, the ice was never exceptionally fast and it tended to get slower as the game went on, more than one player told me. It was also a bit patchy with different speeds across different paths. That made it difficult to build any confidence.
The other negative I heard was about the late draws. There was a 10 p.m. draw Sunday and it made for a late night followed by an early morning for a few. But as Gerry Guertz said, it’s something to hopefully keep people at the club until later in the night, spending money at the bar. Not sure if that works on the Sunday of the long weekend and I didn’t stay around to see but there were a few mumbled comments about the late timing.
Still, it doesn’t matter what you organize, set-up or plan, there will always be some grumblers.