FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT …
The Tunnel Walk
(As told by HuskerVision executive director of video production Kirk Hartman)
1. The HuskerVision replay screens and Tunnel Walk got their humble beginnings in 1994, and are now part of one of the most dramatic team entrances in college sports.
“It was not much back then. It was The Alan Parsons Project production music played with a piece of equipment called the Video Toaster and all it did was make a little flashy star and you go right to the team coming up the tunnel. The Tunnel Walk was going way before HuskerVision got started. They’d been lining the fans up in the south stadium for years before that. We just put it to some music and put it up on our big screens. There were maybe 200 fans that could line up down there with the players coming out. This way the entire, at that time 70,000 fans, could see for the first time the players walking out the door. That was the big deal, because a lot of people didn’t notice that everybody was lining up and giving the players high-fives and psyching them up to come out on the field.”
2. In the first four years of HuskerVision, the football team did not lose a home game and won three national titles. So, yeah, the videos were pretty easy to make.
“Video-wise, we started doing some animations. We started out with national championship trophies coming out of the middle of the field and some simple, shorter videos. But it was newer technology with 3-D programs. It’s kind of advanced to be a little longer, and every year we come up with a different idea.”
3. This year, the theme for the Tunnel Walk is the 50 years of consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium.
“We wanted to incorporate the fans this year. Close to the beginning we have one of our players, (Rex Burkhead for the first game), do the iconic, 'Go ... Big ... Red.’ And the crowd answers that call with the ‘Go ... Big ... Red,’ which worked out really good the first game. And then we end it with the fans doing the end of the player’s prayer from the locker room, ‘Can’t be beat. Won’t be beat.’ That’s something the fans can join in on. The moments during the Tunnel Walk are celebrations of big events during each of the five decades. There is one moment (that) if you were here for the 50 years of sellouts, you’re going to be able to see a clip from that.”
4. There have never been any major noticeable problems with the Tunnel Walk on game day in 18 years (knock on wood), and a lot of moving parts have to come together to make it happen.
“We actually have three set cameras downs there in the tunnel positioned in the ceiling. One is for the horseshoe and two are positioned for the Tunnel Walk. We have our HuskerVision person down there with three cable pullers walking backward bringing (Coach Bo Pelini) and everybody out right from the tunnel entrance. Mike Hodges has been walking backward since ’94, and this is the first year he hasn’t done it to move in the control room. We have Tyler Bassinger doing that this year. We have an incredible staff that works on the Tunnel Walk -- Shot Kleen, Scott Guthrie, Amanda Holzwarth, Brad Colee and Chris Pankonin. It’s a huge help to me to have a great staff.”
5. "Sirius" by The Alan Parson Project has always been part of the production in some way. That’s not to say HuskerVision doesn’t get some negative feedback, just like the team.
“We’ve talked about (changing the music) a lot. I know a lot of people have opinions about it, but I think most of our fans want that. The problem is, it’s just like with music. If you ask someone in the stadium what song they want to play to get everyone psyched up, you’re going to hear 50 different opinions.”