FTC RecordNews


FTC Alum Paul McKenna ('05) gives insight into the massive production operation that makes the Super Bowl a visual masterpiece.

(Photo: P. McKenna)

By Kate Miller

On February 12th, 113 million viewers tuned in to watch Super Bowl LVII. While much of the post-game hype focused on the Chiefs’ win, Rihanna’s halftime show, and all the celebrities showing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, have you ever thought about the production that makes everything look so amazing on television? A broadcast is comprised of many different roles, such as directors, technical directors, camera operators, and much more. Five Towns College had an alum who was part of the massive broadcast operation.

(Photo: P. McKenna)

Paul McKenna graduated from Five Towns College in 2005 with a major in film. Since graduating, he has won two Emmy Awards and has worked at events such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Vancouver (2015) and Paris (2019), FIFA World Cup in Qatar (2022), and Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. His latest job was working in production at this year’s Super Bowl. McKenna shared insight on the visual component of producing such a large-scale sports broadcast.

“In the beginning, we discuss what they’re looking to achieve based on the set that they build. So, they talk about the angles and all that they want to get. We were able to do a lot of shots that connected… this is the desk and then fly up and see the stadium or go from the stadium to the set… With that kind of crane, we were able to reach into the set.”

McKenna kickstarted his career with an internship at Panavision and has been working with cranes ever since. He is a partner with EPS (Empire Production Support), which supplies jibs, remotes, and cranes. McKenna operated a camera on a 75-foot Technocrane for Super Bowl LVII.

(Photo: P. McKenna)

Although McKenna has worked at multiple high-caliber sporting events, his excitement doesn’t come from the games, “I’ve done enough of them. My excitement doesn’t necessarily come from attending the event. You know, that’s exciting in its own right, but there’s much more to that. My excitement from those jobs comes from just the crews they put together.”

(Photo: P. McKenna)

Since graduating, McKenna earned the FTC Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016 and was one of the first students to join the Local 600 union. While he credits FTC for what he’s learned, he also enjoys the camaraderie:

“There’s a lot of students that have graduated Five Towns that now work in the industry, and I get to see them on set. I mean, I go out on a job…. we’re like buddies even though we didn’t all hang out together, so there’s a definite family there.” From school to the real world, the FTC community stays strong.

Related Articles

Back to top button