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Colton Nickelson lives a videographer's dream thru PBS

Philip’s Colton Nickelson helped PBS televise the State B Girls’ Basketball Tournament. Photo by John Davis, Aberdeen American News

"Basically, the entire time I was there, I didn't sit down to watch a game from the stands. I was running a Public Broadcasting Service camera," said Colton Nickelson, a junior at Philip High School.

Earlier this school year, Nickelson started running cameras for the high school's television station, formally channel 15, now channel 19. He said that none of this would be possible without the help and encouragement of Mike Seager. "Actually, Duke Westerberg is the guy who got me started and interested. He asked me to help record the Philip vs. Irene-Wakonda football game. I absolutely loved it and talked to Mike Seager about it," said Nickelson. "I'm a technical guy. It's kind of hard for me to go to a concert without looking at mixers, light boards and stuff."

Things progressed. Nickelson got all the cameras set up, then looked for other volunteers. Now he does the editing and copying of all the video recordings done by the sports division on the school, with Colter Cvach and Nick Roseth also doing video taping and other activities. "Basically, we've got all we need," said Nickelson. "It was up and running before. We didn't have to set up cables; it was all set."

Nickelson is excited about channel 19, a community 24-hour-per-day television channel. He is anticipating the arrival of a new DVD player, one that hopefully will let five DVDs to be set up to automatically play in sequence. "Hopefully next year it will get some money through the school board or maybe advertising," said Nickelson.

Nickelson went to the State B Girls' Basketball Tournament in Aberdeen, mainly to videotape the Philip team. Nickelson noticed the PBS van backed up to the Barnett Center. He asked if he could get a tour. Afterwards, he was offered to watch the PBS interviewing of the various coaches. Philip coach Mike Albrecht and Nickelson arrived together. Before the interviews were over, Nickelson was running the camera. Then, during the actual games, he was alternating from running the floor camera to a shoulder mounted camera for PBS. "With the shoulder mounted one," said Nickelson, "you are able to get close action shots. It weighs around 35 to 40 pounds. I was sore the next day. The floor camera, a tripod camera, is used for the 'hero' shots for after someone makes a shot or other such times." Nickelson said that he is to get paid for his work for PBS-TV.

"It was a dream come true," said Nickelson. "Not very many people get to do that (their dream), because they don't ask."

Nickelson plans on taking mass communications in college. "At least for now, maybe film production later." He is thinking of attending the University of South Dakota. For now, he might be asked to help PBS cover any area projects. He is pretty sure he will be able to help with the South Dakota High School Rodeo in Belle Fourche at the end of June.

Being teased by his friends about being a technical kind of guy doesn't really bother Nickelson. He grinned and said, "Basically, I was the only guy, maybe only one other, not part of the audience at girl's state tournament. On the Philip girls' basketball bus, there is the driver, the coach, all the girls ... and me."