Ferndale resident Scott West poses with his camera at the 2022 Winter Olympics. West will primarily shoot figure skating in Beijing.
FERNDALE – Around the world, a Ferndale man is working on the biggest sporting event of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Scott West has worked as a cameraman for 23 years and has appeared in all major US professional league events, such as the Super Bowl and the World Series, television shows on HGTV and Discovery Channel.
West is also familiar with the Olympics as a whole, having previously traveled to London to film the 2012 Summer Games.
Working in the business for as long as he has, West has made many connections in the industry. One of those ties is with NBC, the games broadcast channel, which asked West to travel to China to help film the games.
“It’s a rush for sure,” he said. “I like the pressure, with live TV. You only get one chance to get that shot. Although we have multiple cameras covering the action of something, it’s unlikely that anything will be missed, but your shots are still important to get that puck in the goal or to get that touchdown pass or whatever.
During the games, the cameramen are assigned to a location and a sport. West mainly shoots figure skating in Beijing.
“To kind of nail those punches and the emotion and the dance of it, I like that pressure,” he said. “They say 3 billion people could be watching this while it’s happening. So when your tally light comes on, it’s like a rush.
West also helped film the opening ceremonies on Feb. 4, which before the ceremony he said he was thrilled with and it was “quite a sight.”
Matt Barth, a friend and colleague who also works as a cameraman, has worked with West for about a decade. Barth called West a collaborative person and explained that being collaborative and able to give and take in the camera operation industry is one of the most important things.
“He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t good and he wasn’t willing to play ball, basically, along the way and give and take,” he said. “There is a lot of stress with our work and we have a lot of fun. So you kind of have to go both ways with that.
Although West has filmed the Olympics before, this experience is very different from 2012, as COVID-19 restrictions limited live audiences and who could attend.
West said he was “completely locked down” in the city, with essentially a wall around their hotel, and they weren’t allowed to interact with Chinese citizens who aren’t involved in the games.
“We’re in a hotel, then we get on that bus and we go to the scene and we do our jobs, then we get on the bus and come back, and that’s all we’re allowed to do. So it’s kind of tricky that way and isolating,” he said. “They are trying to keep control of the omicron. There are therefore no citizens allowed to attend the games as an audience. So it’s going to be a bit unique.
Barth, also a Ferndale resident, has worked on live sports, concerts and numerous TV shows with West over the years. He called West one of the best cameramen in Michigan and someone who is just a good guy who cares about his family.
“It’s not easy,” Barth said. “As there are a lot of things that we’re asked to do, it’s not necessarily easy decisions, you know, with TV shows, so you want to make sure you have someone like him on your side. .”
Calling the Olympics “the pinnacle of sport,” West said it was cool to be in the international community.
“I do most of my work in the United States and it’s a typical sports culture, but when you come here and work with athletes from Ethiopia to Japan and Australia, it’s great. It’s such a mix of different cultures and styles,” he said. “I really appreciate the Olympics for that. It feels like all the chaos in the world, it’s kind of forgotten to celebrate the sport.