PCA 2012: Behind the cameras

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgI don't think I've ever watched any Spanish television but, from what I've just seen, it must be odd. Juan Manuel Pastor was being interviewed by EPT presenter Gael Garcia Diaz and thought nothing of barking like a dog into the camera before screaming for security after being pounced on by an excitable Sergio Garcia.

What you would see on screen is the exuberant histrionics of a Spanish Team PokerStars Pro and a world class golfer revelling in post-bubble bliss, Garcia alpha-maling his fellow Spaniard in a celebratory cuddle. Don't be fooled, it's not that simple. What you see takes a lot of work, time and money. Not the cuddling, the TV shows.

It is not just one guy with a camera and a pretty presenter (unlike the video blogs), it's a huge production: riggers, camera and sound men, floor producers, green screen photographers (part of the duties of our snappers Neil Stoddart and Joe Giron), directors, editors and other esoteric TV roles that we have no idea about (there are a lot of people with clipboards). It all comes together on screen, the end result not revealing the vast efforts of the multi-lingual production.

If you've been to a big money televised tournament such as the PCA or the World Series you'll be aware of the swarming effect of the TV crews when something kicks off. Camera man and floor producer come barrelling through, speed is of the essence after all, trailing a soundman behind them whose boom mike creeps up and over the heads of the players to capture the mutterings, curses and celebrations of the players involved. The TV table is a different matter.

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Camera focussing on the action

Each time a player joins the feature TV table their name is logged and their photo is taken for onscreen graphics. The photographer lines them up against a green screen backdrop and flashes off a couple of shots. The players that have been there before - the Liv Boerees* and ElkYs - know the process and are well aware that getting a green screen shot or playing out a big hand on the feature table does not necessarily mean that you'll get screen time. But every i must be dotted, every t crossed, just in case that player becomes a vital sentence in the televised story of the tournament.

*Boeree was eliminated after getting A♣K♦ all-in against David Bernstein's T♦8♣ on a K♥8♠2♦8♥ board. She cashes for $15,000.

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Liv Boeree: bust for a min-cash

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ElkY on green screen

From this point on the likelihood of getting TV time increases, all the knockouts are now in the money, and the names, if not big already, could be by the time the final table plays out. Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Galen Hall, Will Reynolds, Phil Collins and Luca Pagano are among the players currently under the spotlight. Their big hands are logged making them easily accessible should they go deep, maybe even win, and their tournament back story need to be shown.

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Will Reynolds

These things take time, the construction and polishing of the final programmes will go on for some time, but if you're in need of a more instant hit of televised action you can watch EPT Live on the 13th (main event final table) and 14th (high roller final table) hosted by James Hartigan with expert analysis from the likes of Will Reynolds (above, assuming he doesn't make it through to the final eight).