Photos By Hillary Ehlen
Technology continues to change how we live our life. And when it comes to college athletics, this couldn’t be any more true. Whether it’s from filming games and practices to recruiting, from highlight videos to injury recovery, technology has played a major role in making it all happen more efficiently.
We delve into all of the newest technological improvements in the NDSU athletic department and how it benefits Bison student-athletes.
Read more parts of Bison Illustrated‘s “How NDSU Programs Success” cover story here.
PART 4: NEXT LEVEL ENTERTAINMENT
When the Bison Sports Arena was renovated into the Sanford Health Athletic Complex, the list of upgrades was almost endless. One of those upgrades may not be noticed by fans, but it’s definitely noticed by the athletic department, and especially the multimedia team.
The in-game product fans see on the videoboards, scoreboards and scorers tables are produced by NDSU multimedia coordinator Ryan Nelson and his team.
From intro videos, hype videos and promotional videos to statistics, logos, out-of-town scores and sponsors being displayed, Nelson’s crew is laying it out and making it happen.
- The scoreboard and scorers table was provided by Daktronics
- The control room was installed by AVI Systems
- NewTek TriCaster is the system used to put created content onto the videoboards
Did You Know
When the videoboards were first installed in the BSA, everything was controlled from the Fargodome. Now with the control room in the SHAC, NDSU received a huge upgrade for its in-game content.
Making It Happen
During the days of the BSA, the multimedia department didn’t have a staff in place to run replays and graphics. A team in the Fargodome did that. During football games, the Fargodome crew is still staffed to run the cameras and control the videoboards.
Now, there are usually four people in the SHAC’s control room producing games.
- Nelson serving as the director.
- A freelancer running the replay system.
- Someone controlling the Daktronics computer, which is monitoring the graphics and throwing up the content created for that game.
- An audio person making sure the sound in the arena is where it should be.
Planning for each home game is a team effort between the multimedia staff and the marketing team. Pregame, halftime and timeouts are key in making sure fans stay engaged with what’s going on. If there’s a 45-second on-court promotion during a media timeout, it’s easy to show on the videoboard. But it’s up to Nelson’s team to decide what’s going to be shown the rest of that time.
It could be as simple as the “Kiss Cam” or “Show us your moves” crowd shots. They also implement different social media interactions for fans to take part in. Along with all of this, the team needs to make sure the sponsors are getting the correct amount of time on the videoboards that they paid for with the right logos in place.
“During the game, we’re going to let the athletes be the entertainment for the fans. When the athletes are in a timeout, during halftime or before the game, that’s when it’s our job to engage the fans. It’s crucial because there are those downtimes in the games and you don’t want those times to be when people are pulling out their phones and not paying attention to what’s going on.” – Ryan Nelson
Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro, the multimedia department sometimes creates more than 20 highlight videos a week.
- During home football games, 8-10 video packages are sent to the Fargodome, from 15-30-second promos to two-minute hype videos.
- Every home event for every sport has a postgame highlight package that goes on YouTube and GoBison.com.
Types Of Cameras Used
These look like a standard picture camera, but do a great job of capturing videos that make a highlight video feel like a highlight video, such as slow motion or other dramatic effects. The team uses these cameras during pregame warmups when they can control the environment and have more access.
A typical full-body camera used during games. This camera makes it easy to follow the ball and allows you to be mobile and get out of the way of the action.
Highlight videos have become a staple for every athletic department. They are used to hype a crowd up or promote a big game that week. But it’s also turned into a valuable recruiting tool to help market NDSU and the Bison.
“NDSU will never be a place where we recruit student-athletes because they like our hype videos,” Nelson said. “I wouldn’t want that either. But at the same time, it’s doing anything we can do to help promote our university and our athletic department when the coaches are visiting recruits or they have recruits on campus. What can we create for them to sell their message? To show them what NDSU Athletics is all about.”