LaBarre stands by a camera and in minus-30 degree wind chill at Lambeau Field on Saturday.
For Packers fans lucky enough to score a ticket to the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field this evening, it's going to be a cold one out there. The warmth of more than 70,000 other people watching the game can only warm one up so much amidst wind chills approaching minus-30 degrees. Try turning one four-hour game into a 15-hour day, though. That's how long Kenneth LaBarre will spend at the stadium in Green Bay on Sunday, though, working the cameras for the broadcast of the game.
Along with being a singer and guitarist with the Madison-based rock group Tangy, La Barre runs sharing a few photos of the ice-encrusted stadium, La Barre answered a few questions from The Daily Page about his work for the big game this weekend.
The Daily Page: What will you be doing for the broadcast of the NFC Championship game?
LaBarre: I'll be running camera for the pre-game show, and then relieving other field camera ops during the game.
How did you get this job?
I'm a full time broadcast freelancer. Usually I'm hired as a director or technical director but in this case since I had worked for Fox as a camera operator before and they needed some extra help for this game, they gave me a call and asked if I was available.
What were you doing in Green Bay on Saturday?
We were in the process of checking all the cameras to make sure they were in their proper positions and working correctly. Normally we would have a full rehearsal with talent, lights, etc.... but due to the cold it was canceled and instead we concentrated on making sure all the technical equipment was working correctly before we covered it up for the night.
How was the weather on Saturday?
Bitterly cold. The wind was relentless as well which added to the fun. In the pic I am wearing about $700 worth of the North Face gear, as well as a pair of Sorrel boots that are rated to -100 degrees.
I needed all that just to do the basics. We tried to limit our exposure to 30 minutes at a time, but at the point I took those pictures we had been out there for 90 minutes and had reached our limit. Luckily it was close to the end of the day and we only had to go out one more time for about 45 minutes.
How will you keep warm on Sunday?
Layers, layers, layers. Limited exposure to the weather and all of my gear. Thirty minutes before the pre-game show starts we will be on the field, and will stay there until the game starts, which will probably be about an hour outdoors. At that point we'll go inside and warm up, and then probably start rotating through the outdoor camera positions to relieve the operators so they can go in and get warm.
What will be your responsibilities during the game?
Depends. If we do indeed relieve the other operators I'll probably be running a low endzone camera since that's my specialty. Who knows though? I could wind up in any position, or instead tearing down the equipment from the pre-game show. Originally we weren't doing a half-time and post-game show but that may change. If we do have to do one I will have to operate a camera for that, then once we are off the air we will start tearing everything down.
You mention that the strike is the hardest part of the job. How long does that take, and when do you think you might be completed following the game?
Normally the tear down, or "strike" takes 3 to 4 hours for a show this large, and that's in "normal" weather conditions. The last time I did a show this size at Lambeau in winter (NFL Network, Dec 2006) we got on-site at 10 a.m. and didn't get out until 3 a.m.
This show, pre-game included, is a 30 camera show and there are 4 HD broadcast trucks here plus two support trucks. All of those carry the equipment we are using, plus they've shipped in a number of things on top of that so it takes along time to get it all off the field, wrapped up, loaded on to the trucks, etc...
Why is this the hardest part of the day? Because you've already been working for 12 hours, in bitter cold, and now you have to find the energy to take it all down and put it all away.
Luckily we have some of the best people in broadcast sport production working on this show and they know exactly what to do and they do it very quickly and efficiently.
What are you looking forward to most for the game?
Hmmm... not sure I'm looking forward to anything in particular. My goal is to stay warm and do a great job in whatever capacity I'm needed.
What am I really looking forward to? Getting back to my hotel room after we're done, having a soak in a hot bath, and reading the latest issue of Tape Op.
The NFC Championship game between the Packers and the Giants officially kicks off at 5:42 p.m., and will broadcast on Fox 47 in Madison. Game time temperature is forecast to start off just above zero, and should drop steadily through the evening with wind chills 15 to 25 below zero.