By Jimmy Smith

Some athletic departments are lucky enough to have a dedicated video production crew, or person. Many others are not. The goal is to provide as much quality content for your fans to enjoy. The goal is to make a better fan of your institution. Provide them access to stay engaged and maybe open their wallet.

So how do you use what you have to get away from the common and obvious highlights and simple interviews? How about some tips and ideas?
Behind The Scenes

At Delaware, we call it Bird’s Eye View. In this particular instance we had a volleyball player returning home for a game against Georgia State. The extra angle of seeing her parents and family added to her willingness to capture the experience.

Equipment – Flip Video (seemingly everyone has one lying around) or if need be a small handy cam or even the athlete’s cell phone.

Editing – I like the timestamp approach, makes it easier to explain jumps in time and make cuts to make the piece shorter.

Focus – We gave the camera to her for the trip but in past videos, we gave it to a student athlete for an entire week before a trip. This allowed us to show the fan what goes into being a student athlete at Delaware. It’s their story and certain student athletes will excel at showing their personality.

Sports – Great flexibility to show off your Olympic sports

Using A GoPro

We are lucky enough to have a Hero4+, which is the wi-fi-enabled version that allows us to control it using an app on a mobile device. So now we can clip the files and start and stop instead of letting it run for a while. The 4+ also has more resolutions and is sleeker than the predecessors.

Ideas – Secondary angle for interviews. Put it where people can’t go using the harnesses and mounts. On helmets, chest mount, on rowboats, attached to divers or in the back of soccer nets. Really the possibilities are endless and it’s a great secondary angle for highlights, recaps and more.

We have a drone at Delaware called Hen Force 1. Sometimes we will use its footage as stand-alone, others we use it as a change of angle for highlights or event coverage. Best part is, as you will notice with many of these ideas, you can feature your Olympic sports.

Remembering the Past

Celebrating the tradition is huge for many departments around the country. We found a cool way to bridge the gap between the current student athletes and some of the Blue Hen greats. We call it Now and Then. We pair up an athlete from the past with a current athlete based on interest, major, etc… In this case, a Royal Bank of Scotland executive and former Delaware lacrosse player was interviewed by a defensemen on our team. They talked about the changes in the game and changes on campus. Our first edition went even deeper as the first African American Football player was interviewed by our star wide receiver and they talked about those same topics but also talked about race relations.

Equipment – One or two cameras, two microphones, wireless lav mics are preferred.

Editing – If you have two cameras, switch up the shots and mix in highlights or shots of what they are speaking about to keep it interesting. The length can get a little out of hand because the content can be so great.

Focus – It gives your current athlete the chance to learn about the past and ask the questions. Changes in the sports, equipment, campus, classes, city and more can be talked about. It also has been a good way for the current athlete to network with a successful businessperson who shares their interest. Can lead to jobs or other opportunities.

Sports – Great flexibility to show off your Olympic sports

Game Shows

Let’s have a little fun. Game shows are fun, but more importantly, showing off your student athletes’ personalities is a huge benefit for the department. At Delaware we started a segment called TeamMates. Similar to the old TV show The Newlywed Game, teammates are paired up and tested to see who knows more about their teammate. In this example, we matched Baseball against Softball to see which team reigned supreme. Be fun with the questions to catch them off guard. Organizing the pre-show answering can be difficult, but as long as the answer cards are in the right order, you will be fine.

Equipment – Two- three cameras, three microphones, wireless lav mics are preferred.

Editing – When editing, treat it as if you were live producing/directing. Switch back and forth between angles to show interaction and smack talk between the teams.

Focus – This is all about personifying the student athlete and letting their personality shine. Pick those that will do better in a fun situation and pick a pair that knows a fair bit about each other.

Sports – Great flexibility to show off your Olympic sports

Other Fun Stuff

Beyond the game show, we started a series called Take Five, five fun questions to five athletes from a single team. In this example, we used our Men’s Basketball run the regular season to time up the release of our first Take Five. Using already recognizable student athletes and those we are introducing as faces of the program, this allowed us to show the future of the team while teaching fans a little more about our “star” guards. Again, be fun with the questions and catch them off guard.

Equipment – One camera, one microphone, wireless lav mic is preferred.

Editing – When editing, reorder the piece so each athlete gives their answer to the questions in order. So, question 1, athlete 1 answers question 1, athlete 2 answers question 1, etc… Add fun music and keep the pace up in the edits.

Focus – This is all about personifying the student athlete and letting their personality shine. Pick those that will do better in a fun situation.

Sports – Great flexibility to show off your Olympic sports

Feature Off the Field Accomplishments

Highlights and post game interviews are great, but sometimes your athletes are even more impressive off the field. Try a feature story or two. Interview a few people on a topic, say an athlete who gives back to a village in Africa, an athlete who overcame cancer to continue her playing career or another that nearly died after being run over by a truck, piece it all together and tell the story. These can be extremely difficult, time consuming and hard to plan with schedules the way they are. But these also are the most rewarding and timeless pieces you can create that show what kind of athlete and person your institution looks for.

Each is situation is different and can be handled in many ways, so I won’t do the editing, focus and equipment run down, but treat as a chance to not only show off the subject but also your creativity and skills.

Equipment hurdles can constrain a lot of these ideas, but as long as you see the importance of creating different types of content to stay fresh, you will find a way.  That is what makes our jobs so interesting and fun, telling amazing stories about people who are numbers on a stat sheet or jersey to most.

Make a great fan and an informed fan, stay fresh my friends.