Wheels on the ground for Dordt media network

Emma Stoltzfus–Staff Writer

It’s the Dordt v. Northwestern men and women’s basketball games on Jan. 23. While the players dribble the ball back and forth on the court in De Witt gym, there’s another team in play.

The Dordt Media Network is officially on the scene this semester. The DMN is putting together a student-driven broadcast team whose goal is to cover events such as chapel services, concerts, or sports games.

Tonight, the plain, blocky truck is parked on the North side of the De Witt gym. Students on the crew are split into two groups: operating cameras courtside and managing the broadcast itself from the truck. They rotate roles between games, and each learn how to do the different tasks required to put together the broadcast.

Jonah Bader is a freshman computer science major. It’s his second day working with the DMN. Today he’s learning how to manually change the score on the banner shown on the broadcast. Each time a shot is made, Bader taps his keyboard a few times and the new score is projected over the broadcast.

DMN-2 PC Aarons Lenz

Photo by Aaron’s Lenz

Inside the truck it’s a little cramped. While there’s room enough to stand and several chairs to sit in, more than a couple people moving around the van at a time requires some maneuvering.

Each screen—be it attached to the wall or on a computer sitting close at hand—displays one of the four different camera feeds, previews of the broadcast, or the currently broadcasted images.

Sitting in the back of the truck, one can see the game from a variety of different angles through the screens. The announcer giving play-by-plays and the chanting of the crowd is heard through a set of speakers near the ceiling.

Rich Lodewyk, director of the DMN, gives a nearly constant litany of instructions and suggestions through the headset as he switches the feed from one camera to another.
“Ready on one? Take one. Camera two, pull out of it. That’s getting a little tight. There you go. Ready on two? Take two.”

Bader grabs a sandwich from a tin-foil-covered plate Lodewyk’s wife put together for the crew. While the half a dozen or so students come from a mix of different majors, years, and experience levels, they’ve become a team and are learning the process together.

“It’s like a little family in there.” Bader describes.

Colton Ott, a sophomore electrical engineering student, is in the truck working on recording replays. He has to obtain a good recording and be careful when playing it so as to not miss the real-time action.

DMN PC Aarons Lenz.jpg

Photo by Aaron’s Lenz

“It’s a work in progress.” said Ott as they review a shot that just barely missed the action.
Both basketball games last around two hours each, but the fast pace both on and off the court keep the time moving. By halftime the broadcast has over eight-hundred viewers.
“Once more unto the breach.” Ott quotes as Lodewyk calls the crew to get ready for the second half of the game.

While Northwestern defeated Dordt in both basketball games that afternoon, the Dordt Media Network team packed up their gear and congratulated each other on a job well done.

“The students are doing a great job,” Lodewyk says, “It’s great to see all the hard work they’re putting in and their eagerness to learn and get better…As a faculty member, it’s really neat to see.”

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