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“A picture is worth a thousand words. ” It’s a saying that has grow to be contretype. For Ken Woo, even though, those words have maintained the world-renowned photographic camera agent and DP in order to a profession that provides lasted more than 40 years. And, more typically than not knowing, his standard zoom lens framed the enduring shots of some of sports’ most memorable instances over the past four generations.
“It’s genuinely knowing the game and knowing the athlete that will you’re together with, ” he says. “It has not constantly worked, although is considered merely being dialed in what’s happening, understanding the many possibilities that you have, and even just picking out one. Is considered a roll from the dice. ”
Whether that was Greg LeMond’s impressive come-from-behind sprint to grab this yellow jersey by way of a few moments at the 1989 Tour sobre France, Kerri Strug’s work towards gold in one ankle from this 1996 Summer Olympics inside Atlanta, or maybe Gambling Woods’ famous fist pump with regard to his 1st career win at The Pros within 1997, Woo experienced the knack of being with the right place at just simply the right time.
“Kenny Woo is an specialist, ” says veteran NBC point and Sports Transmissions Area of Famer Ing Michaels. “You know whenever anyone is extraordinary whenever you can see 12 seconds of video in addition to say, ‘I find out who else shot that. ’”
Just before developing capabilities of which presented him one of the greatest bald eagle eyes in sports historical past, the man or woman lovingly nicknamed “The Wooman” was growing up using the dream of filming runners in the grandest of periods. Equipped with a makeshift television system camera made out involving cardboard and a love for stills from your favors of popular Lifestyle newspaper photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, this individual spent his more youthful many years immersed in the function of freezing time together with his images.
“When I has been concerning 5 or a few yrs old, I will function around the yard taking like I had seen around sports, ” this individual says. “I had a Kodak Instamatic camera that I acquired for my own birthday, then we obtained a Polaroid i always became to play with. Although I got a television-generation little one; My partner and i literally grew way up in front of typically the TELEVISION. ”
With every transferring moment in top of the television collection, his or her passion for typically the craft burned a minor better, but nothing fixed his heart on fireplace more than the 1968 Mexico Area Olympics. While most youngsters his era were fascinated only inside athletic feats of the individual, typically the young Woo was concerned by the personal life that will made those athletes who also they were. Also though this was at the first try the Games received extensive coverage in color television, Kenya’s Kip Keino (the eventual gold-medal winner of the 1, 500-meter category) captured his attention during a great off-the-track story developed by ABC.
“They showed an attribute, an up-close and individual, regarding him running unshod in The african continent, ” Woo recalls. “I said, ‘Man, that will just be the coolest thing in this world to do videos like that. ’ I actually always loved watching often the Olympics, although that seemed to be actually the first time My spouse and i noticed a personal profile. That was really a good ‘aha’ moment for me. ”
Like many younger adults, childhood hopes and dreams typically get put on the back burner. Regardless of whether the idea was his own selection or one influenced by a person else, sports television set was initially almost a nonfactor as Woo headed for you to the University of Georgia. Even so while in his very first halbjahr being a pre-law college student, the draw of their past had been too tough to keep him or her away from you from his camera as well as a good sports storyline.
“I realized that pre-law was not this for me and even transferred over to transmitting, film, and television set, ” he says. “I had been a feature editor tool within the college magazine, The Crimson & Black, and will take pictures and write down thier feature stories.
“To create cash while I has been in college, ” this individual remains, “I also worked for the PRODUCERAD team; I’d go to school and set up projectors and even video cameras to get the school. Additionally , My partner and i was a jazz disc jockey for WUOG-FM radio station. I had a transfer several days a week by midnight until three or more: 00 a. m. ”
Once they graduated, Woo got achieved an artistic mentality and a do the job ethic that would consider him to the far gets to of the earth. With a keen eyes for a good shot, relieve in front of the microphone, perceptible experience using industry-grade tools, and publishing prowess, his bag associated with tips would expand after college graduation.
“My first job had been with WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC, ” he or she says. “It was in an old converted store; my starting pay seemed to be $168 some sort of week. I had been hired as a chauffeur. We shot the area news as well as the gospel exhibits that aired in Sunday. From there, I proceeded to go to A1 mixer associated with local news and on-air switching, which meant slicing all the programming via three or more p. m. to help 6 g. m. much like Gilligan’s Island and The Flintstones. Then I acquired to hit the system on 6 p. m. for your news every working day. I managed to get loads of experience, mainly because not really only performed My partner and i get to find out how to use a good camera nevertheless I acquired to find out lighting, audio mixing, plus editing. ”
With a new steady announcement gig perfect out connected with the academic ranks, Woo satisfied his appetite for sports with the end of the week bustle of shooting high school football and baseball for the station’s athletics department. Accustomed to their old techniques of shooting, he started out learning innovative technologies and mastering his / her preferred system of alternative with a new bit associated with hijinks.
“None of often the film guys who were right now there wanted to use innovative electrical media, ” he recalls. “When the RCA TK-76 came out, many people said, ‘Do you recognize how to use this specific point? ’ I explained, ‘Yes, ’ when We actually did not. I had used video cameras throughout school but nothing while superior as that, so We stole the manual in addition to went home to help learn how to make use of this. I had often the self confidence to make this shot, nevertheless the key in order to being successful is studying the camera and knowing what you can get out of it. That’s really how I obtained my personal start. ”
Inside the very same vein, Woo’s first entrance into function work originated from a children’s show throughout Spartanburg. After transitioning via his first and foremost job for you to production stints in Nashville, Kansas Area, and Washington, DC, Woo got married and shifted to Los Angeles found in search of work in sports activities. With links made in Dick Simon Shows on the West Coast, he or she nailed his first employment in network television with CBS in 1982.
Around the several years, his job has extended to often the airwaves of NBC, together with his long résumé can be a laundry washing list comprising twelve Olympics, Tour de Portugal races, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours, The Professionals events, NBA Championships, Straightener Man World Championships, Three times Crowns, and more. Throughout this drive of the life time, though, there have been tough patches.
“The many topsy-turvy year I had in my career was in 1992, the final time where generally there were 2 Olympics inside one season, ” he / she notes. “It was [the Winter Olympics in] Albertville, Portugal, then [the Summer season Olympics in] Barcelona. We all probably traveled with regard to four or five months before Albertville, slept in Albertville to get five weeks, in addition to came home for the couple of weeks prior to most of us commenced shooting attributes to get Barcelona, which proceeded to go through June of that will year.
“I seemed to be doing various other projects, ” this individual goes on, “with World Shape Skating Championships, providing Often the Masters film and even Closing Four features regarding CBS TELEVISION STUDIOS. I actually think, of which calendar year, My spouse and i might have came about 270 days. I used to be basically raising my youngsters by way of phone since presently there was not any email or maybe FaceTime at that time. ”
Similar to a stone, Woo shone under the pressure of an busy schedule. During the fact that tumultuous time, he written about the Launching Ceremony associated with the 1992 Summer months Olympics in the only technique they knew how.
“I think the most incredible second was [the torch lighting] at Barcelona, ” he claims. “We didn’t get to help practice that simply because they didn’t want to give that away, and in simple fact, among the two diverse archers. One was going for you to lob it in there, and the additional one would definitely fire on a upright range, so that had been completely live life to typically the world, and it performed. ”
Says NBC Scalp of Production Bucky Gunts. “Take the Opening Wedding service and Kenny Woo, in addition to your money shot. ”
The minute would end up being a practice run with regard to what was to come four years later on the subject of National soil. For the 1996 Gwinnett Olympics, Woo was picked again to get the dollars picture in the course of the Opening Ceremony, by which boxing legend Muhammed Ali lit the torch.
“He acquired an eye that built him one associated with those rare people who understood how his / her shot fit into the story that this producer and director were looking for, ” says other Sports entertainment Broadcasting Hall associated with Fame inductee Jerry Gepner. “You would simply view in awe since there is [only] a smaller group of cameramen like that. ”
Four nights after, Woo was behind this zoom lens for a new 10-second video that brings together often the essence of Olympic competitors and has grow to be almost synonymous with U. T. gymnastics.
“You genuinely possess to plan ahead as soon as you’re out there, ” says Woo. “It’s http://harutv24.com on the floor, nonetheless I realized how critical it absolutely was to be in that position since I actually have two or three different spots when we are doing the vault. My spouse and i knew that was planning to be the [important] moment if [Strug] reach it and they triumphed in, that had been going to be the best shot. The lady stuck the landing, chop down to her knees, and commenced crawling towards me even though calling my identify. ”
That’s the factor concerning Woo that makes him the most effective at what he does indeed: his relatable personality as well as the ability to get to know the person concealed behind the particular veil of sport. It gave Woo an in track to the best available content and info for that Olympic vignettes that he became known for, such as the Strug’s one-legged landing.
“That was the real advantage because I actually had known Kerri considering she was 12 several years older, ” he states. “I reached invest time with them into their residence countries, their environment, and even, literally, in their properties. When I’m on this floor and they’re becoming besieged simply by all this other press, I’m a well-known face since I became to find out them in a new private level, ate foods together, and has been with them through coaching. ”
Says Professional Producer/President, NBC Olympics Creation, Molly Solomon, “He got ENG photography to a different level. The trust and even bond he forged with athletes gave fans unmatched access. When that unique moment happened, he was presently there, and so ended up we. ”
In 2019, Woo provides a trophy scenario full of computer hardware that visual storytellers can simply imagine about. The awards contain 27 Emmys (three Primetime Emmys for the Opening Ceremonies on the Sodium Body of water Metropolis, Torino, plus Beijing Olympics and a few for Best Short Feature), a good Peabody Award for his work with ESPN’s 30 for 25 series, and the prestigious Olympic Golden Wedding ring for Best People Attention Story. The psychological trophy case is full of remembrances from his travels as well, but, most significant, he has earned the utmost respect from the peers in the industry.
“He seemed to be excellent in addition to fearless, ” says Gepner. “I can not tell a person the number of moments this director would state, ‘Get me the photo, ’ and didn’t need to simply tell him what to be able to do because Ken would come up with a much better shot compared to the director was initially thinking of. ”
Despite the fact that he continues to work in the field that he / she fell in love with as a baby, Woo’s occupation has come 100 % circle for multiple causes.
“Athletes which have been on their own way up set up in order to myself and head out, ‘God, I saw the fact that story you did on [U. S. gymnast] Kim Zmeskal, ’ or perhaps, ‘Hey, I remember this kind of, and it was so electrifying. ’ You give them a great feeling, ” he says. “With just about all these incredible events around the world, you will be hanging which includes of often the most unbelievable sports athletes actually created. That’s certainly not work; that’s some sort of dream. ”
For audience at house, his / her musical legacy is secure as the one who located the balance between inventive poise and the seriousness in the scenario.
“I just simply wanted these to feel similar to they were there, ” says Woo. “There happen to be times to be artistic together with times when an individual just want to record this and be right now there. You do not want anybody to have to experience it because you’re truly feeling what I’m demonstrating. If you were positioned there, and this you would see. That’s the level of sense I was looking with regard to. ”
Although he boosted typically the viewing pleasure associated with audience witnessing history, their beauty has given great take great pride in, pleasure, and happiness to the little boy who also sat on his living-room floorboards to watch often the 1968 Olympics.
“In 1996, We went to Kenya to accomplish an Olympic feature, and I got to meet Kip Keino, ” he recalls. “I described to your pet the way his story encouraged us to become some sort of cameraman, specially undertaking features for the Olympics, and how It was something I desired to do. He had taken me back to just about all the places they will got filmed and revealed myself all the spots, and it was definitely something particular. ”