The challenges of capturing paddle for TV
Paddle had special challenges for the TV producer. The chicken wire screen made it a challenge to film for one thing, and with continuous play, it was difficult to find time for slow motion replays.
To tape the Nationals at Fox Meadow, cameras were placed at two corners of court #1, on top of the screens, and on a scaffolding structure on a hill behind the court. A mobile camera completed the setup. It was also necessary to place a dark green backcloth at the end of the court.
The Nationals aired on March 28 in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The first time that Al Steele, Executive Producer at Connecticut Public Television, and his team covered platform tennis was for the Mixed Nationals at Hartford in 1975. “Public television is always looking for new and different sports,” said Steele, “and as I’m an enthusiast myself, it was easy to decide on platform tennis. With the help of Skip Gengras of Hartford, we got started on the Mixed.”
The Nationals and Tribuno Championships were natural next steps for the year. A good deal of preparation went into the televising of an event like the Nationals. Steele worked with John Ware of Fox Meadow and Gloria Dillenbeck of the APTA to make the arrangements and calculate costs. Bob Kingsbury of the APTA arranged for Tribuno to underwrite the program. “We had really excellent cooperation from Fox Meadow,” said Steele, “and the team really enjoyed working with the people at the club. It was a lot of fun.” The production was offered to PBS stations nationwide as part of the Eastern Educational Network and Detroit; Phoenix and Cleveland sent inquiries.
Source: Paddle Talk, No. 4 (May)