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UWRF Student to Help Film Super Bowl XLII

By David Urbaniak
UWRF Sports Information

JAN. 25, 2008--A University of Wisconsin-River Falls student will have the opportunity of a lifetime when he travels to Arizona to assist NFL Films in the audio production of the Super Bowl XLII Feb. 3.

Ryan Stridde, a senior health and human performance major and a residence hall assistant on campus, worked with NFL Films while it was on campus this summer filming a segment on the Kansas City Chiefs Summer Training Camp at UWRF for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series and continued to offer services to NFL Films throughout the football season.

The opportunity came as a surprise at his home in Franklin, Wis., on Thanksgiving. After the family dinner gathering, Stridde checked his email. The subject line, "Super Bowl," jumped out from an email from Jerry Mahler, the head of the audio department for NFL Films.

"After reading the email, I couldn't believe he [Mahler] had asked me, because after the Packer game I thought my days working with NFL Films may have been over, at least for this season," said Stridde.

Later that night Stridde replied to Mahler, after discussing the opportunity with his family, and it was a done deal.

"When I started receiving emails from other people from NFL Films regarding the game, my flight times, and what I'm going to be doing while there, is when it really sunk in that I was going to be working at it," said Stridde.

This chance was made possible by the hard work and dedication he put forth during NFL Film's production of "Hard Knocks" this summer on campus, Stridde says. During training camp he served as an audio production assistant, where he learned how to use different types of situational microphones, audio switches and mix boards.

"When I first began, 'micing' up one set of pads it took well over a half hour," said Stridde. "When I worked at the Chiefs' game against the Cleveland Browns towards the end of the production, I was able to 'mic' up 10 sets of pads in about an hour by myself."

To gather an array of sound bites, NFL Films had Ryan connect microphones to anywhere from four to 10 players before morning practice and preseason games, which was a very technical process. Along with players, coaches were connected to microphones for different practices and evening meetings.  

"I got to sit in on the meetings in case issues arose with one of the coaches' mics or transmitters," said Stridde. "This was a great experience, because I got to know many of the coaches quite well."

Experiencing the technical, hands-on, fieldwork from NFL Films professionals like Mahler, Paul Flinton, who is a freelance audio technician, and Chris Benedict, an audio professional, is the type of experience that is impossible to gain in the classroom.

Other responsibilities during Stridde's work with the Chiefs included making sure the transmitters and receivers had fresh batteries every day, taking notes on the audio they were retrieving, and setting up the frequencies correctly to produce the best sound.

After Stridde's work with Hard Knocks , NFL Films contacted him to help with audio set-up and monitoring for the Packers-Vikings game at the Minneapolis Metrodome, where the four match-ups gave the Packers' Quarterback Brett Favre an all-time passing touchdown record.

"We had Favre 'miced' up that game, and I am a huge Packer fan, so it was a great experience," said Stridde, whose hometown is in suburban Milwaukee County.

Throughout high school Stridde was interested in filming, which is why he chose to attend UW-River Falls. At UWRF, Stridde has worked on a variety of projects, including a documentary on volunteer students' clean-up efforts after hurricane Katrina in Gulfport, Miss. The pre-production was conducted in Professor Evan Johnson's communication studies and theater arts class, and all filming and research was done during spring break 2006.

"I was able to experience videotaping and working as a boom operator and as a production assistant among other jobs," said Stridde. "We also did a studio piece that dealt with creating the video about the students, for which I was a camera operator."

Along with dedication and perseverance, Stridde said other pieces must fall in to place for the chance to work for such a prestigious company. When the NFL Films contacted Johnson last summer for recommendations for qualified students, Johnson suggested Stridde.

While the chance to work at a the Super Bowl is a great opportunity, Stridde says the timing is a little off because spring semester starts at UWRF Jan. 28 and he will have increased responsibilities as a resident assistant.

"Most of my professors strongly encouraged me to go and seize this opportunity," said Stridde. "My fellow RAs and hall manager were excited as well and had no problem with me not being around for the first week."

Like other football fans, Stridde is anticipating a big day Feb. 3, and says he is mentally preparing to do similar work as he did for Hard Knocks except on a much larger stage and scale. Stridde will be on the sidelines, setting up audio receive sites, which are located next to the cameras, searching through frequencies for the highest quality, and connecting microphones to players and coaches.

NFL Films has opened new doors for him, Stridde says. "Initially, my plan has always been to teach physical education in northern Wisconsin," said Stridde. "But since this opportunity with NFL Films has come about, I am now unsure of exactly what I want to do. Doing something in film has always been a dream of mine, so I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it in a year and a half."


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:46 Central Daylight Time


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