Covering all the angles

By The Beacon | September 21, 2011 9:00pm

Videographer Dick Biles heads UP Athletics’ transition to a more fan-friendly website

(Jason Hortsch -- THE BEACON)

By Jason Hortsch Staff Writer

With the addition of features such as live video streaming, the Portland Pilots website has been making an effort to be more accessible to fans. No one has been more instrumental in the change than Dick Biles, camera man extraordinaire. Biles is the owner of Sports Video Northwest, the company contracted by UP to provide video for its sporting events.

Biles, who has worked with UP for eight years, is proud of the upgrades he has been able to make to the video services he offers the school.

"We just introduced multiple cameras this year, where we are running a whole production truck now versus a single camera," Biles said. "We have now added an additional three man-operated cameras with a production switcher. This is new to the program."

In addition to the three manned cameras, there are two robotic cameras, an upgrade that gives Biles even more flexibility in how he presents a sporting event.

"You can spin the robotic cameras 360 degrees, up and down, and I can control them from inside my production trailer," Biles said. "Most commonly we'll use them when they do interviews in the press box up top. All of this is done in high definition, which is also a first for the school."

Associate Athletic Director and Public Relations headman Jason Brough is excited for the changes and what they mean for the Pilots fan base.

"I think in the last few years we've made a concerted effort to be more fan friendly," Brough said. "Fans can get streams for free now, even if it's just students who are in their dorm rooms and want to know what's going on. Our first option is getting students to come to games, but it's good that they know about these alternative options as well."

While the free streaming offered on the website is certainly a highlight, Brough is quick to note that it is not all that the website offers.

"The website is great even just for information too," Brough said. "That's our hub for anything we're doing athletically if people want to know our schedules or promotions."

Biles has been enjoying every second he has spent on UP's campus.

"It's an outstanding school. It's one of the best schools I've ever been affiliated with," Biles said. "It's a beautiful campus, the staff is excellent to work with, and the students are top-notch. They're bright, articulate and treat people with respect."

Biles is also conscious of the continued greatness he gets to witness year after year while filming hundreds of different Pilot athletes.

"I've had the opportunity to see some remarkable athletes such as Christine Sinclair, Stephanie Cox and Megan Rapinoe," Biles said. "Kasey Keller was just a senior when I started. It's so remarkable; I've gotten the opportunity to work with players that go on to Major League Soccer and the World Cup. Some even become Olympians."

It is not all fun and games for Biles, though. He puts in long hours to achieve his results and believes this is a side of sports that casual fans do not know about.

"For every two-hour event we probably spend close to 30 man hours to put that production on," Biles said. "I'll come in five to six hours before an event and I'll be there four hours after it. We also have a crew of four additional members. Realistically it's probably closer to 50 man hours. For a professional level event that's televised, it would take 150 man hours, easily."

According to Biles, his hard work has paid off, as his video has been featured on channels such as ESPN and the Golf Channel, as well as all of the local channels. While thousands of fans fill the stands during any given soccer game, Biles quietly sits in his trailer diligently monitoring the bank of monitors that adorn his walls.

"We can broadcast the game with pretty much everything ESPN can do," Biles said.