The Television Production of the PIAA Cross Country Championships on PCN

Before the 1,000+ runners cross the starting line and begin their 3.1-mile race through the woods of Hershey, PCN’s team of videographers and producers are busy setting up cameras, platforms, and test-flying drones.

To capture the performance of Pennsylvania’s best cross-country runners, PCN’s production of the PIAA Cross Country Championships starts weeks prior to race day. Our event producer, Craig Petersen, first scouts the race course, taking note of which points along the course would provide the best shot of the race. He takes note that the hill after the first mile-marker would give a scenic view of the runners emerging from the woods and that the curve just past the second-mile marker would provide a unique view of the competition. After mapping out the race and where PCN will be able to capture the best footage, Craig returns to our headquarters to work on the logistics of the production.

To provide a full television production of the PIAA Cross Country State Championships, Craig will need at least 10 videographers in the field to run 7 cameras and a drone. 6 of the cameras will be scattered throughout the race course and the 7th camera will record the awards ceremonies as runners are crowned champions. A drone pilot will be on staff to fly PCN’s drone to provide aerial looks at the race course and landscape. 

The frost is still melting off the grass when our field team arrives at the course on race day. In the early hours of the morning before the first race begins, PCN’s 10 videographers are scattered throughout the course setting up our cameras. Some of PCN’s camera operators will remain on the ground while others will need to scale a 6-foot platform to set up their tripods. 

As the runners line up at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off, our camera operators are set and ready to capture the race. Their placement on the course is crucial as PCN is careful to show the faces and performances of as many runners as possible. As the runners approach each of our cameras, our videographers are already recording to capture the competition. 

After the races conclude and the champions are announced, our videographers pack up their equipment and return to our headquarters in Camp Hill, where our race against the clock begins. Our event producer will spend the next three weeks editing hours of race footage and interviews, while scheduling professional race commentators to provide commentary over the footage. By the time post-production is completed, Craig estimates that he has spent about 40 hours on editing alone. 

“PCN’s coverage of the PIAA Cross Country Championships is unparalleled” Craig says. “No one else can do what we do, with the resources we have.”