By Markian Nychka
In early March, the football team and I, juniors Ross Eagle, Matt Marinozzi, and Brian Zhang, and sophomore Oscar Bachmann, with permission of Assistant Athletic Director Brett Alcantara, held a football media day during Superintendent’s Day. This was in the works since early September, and it took a lot of planning to pull it off. Additionally, this was the first time that I ran a shoot, much less one with 40 participants. Initially, this was incredibly intimidating, but with the help of captains David Gold and Hayden Fruling, we came up with an incredibly efficient and safe way to run the shoot.
In order to ensure a successful day, we needed to bring plenty of equipment and gear. My “support” items consisted of a tripod, a video monopod (a tripod but with only one leg), a mini tripod, and a gimbal. The mini tripod was set up with a GoPro to timelapse the shoot. This camera was placed in one of the signs that identify the field. I handed the large tripod off to Matt, and he used it to set up our interview station. For the interviews, we asked each senior to reflect on their previous seasons, provide insight into what the season was going to look like from their perspective, and describe what they hoped to accomplish this year. I used my camera and Ross’ Sigma lens for all of the photos, and Ross used his Sony A7III with an 85mm f/1.4 for his photos and slow-motion videos. Additionally, we had a microphone that was attached to a field recorder (portable microphone/recorder), and I attached the microphone and the recorder to the monopod to use as a boom pole–an extendable pole that has a padded side to hold and a mount on the other for the recording devices. Oscar operated this equipment to capture the sound of the interviews. We also used an iPad that was linked to Matt’s camera to record the interviews. That served as a wireless external monitor and enabled the players to see their current placement and frame themselves properly.
Once everything was set, we ran the day with three main stations: An interview station run by Matt with Brian serving as the interviewer and Oscar on sound; a second station manned by Ross for slow-motion content, from which recorded the players doing random actions, which were then turned into gifs; finally, a photo station ran by me. Ross and I worked side by side and were able to capture twice the amount of content in half of the time. He came up with a handful of poses, and each player completed them as we snapped away. Simultaneously, Brian was interviewing the players. The entire shoot lasted about three hours, which is a lot shorter than what we were expecting.
When we returned home, we backed all of our footage up. This entails creating multiple copies of every file: one copy on my backup/storage drive, the next on the drive I’m editing off of later, and lastly, a third on the cloud. Processing your content like this creates the highest chances that if something were to go wrong, your files are always safe. This process can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to many hours. Later in the evening, Ross, Matt, and I FaceTimed to start the editing process. We reflected on the day, and Ross exclaimed, “It was awesome to get out there and just capture some great content.” When he said, “We are thankful to the athletic staff for allowing us to have this opportunity to get some amazing photos and videos of the football squad,” he spoke for all of us. Like Ross mentioned, we just had a great time, and helping a team and fellow classmates and the school made it even more rewarding. Everything went smoothly, and if it weren’t for the athletic department’s enthusiasm and support, this definitely would not have been possible.
During our brainstorm, we switched gears and mapped out a strategy for editing and releasing all of the content. I ended up releasing a story on my Instagram as we were speaking and had the whole team repost it. This created an enormous amount of traffic to my account in addition to Matt’s and Ross’. In the Instagram story, I posted a timelapse of the whole day, and that served as a sneak peek into what we were working on, a teaser if you will. In the evening of the same day, I edited a reel, which is a 1-30 second vertical video, that showcased the day’s work, which got 5,154 views! After that, Brian began using my edited photos for content for the school’s social media accounts. He created dynamic graphics that attractively advertised the upcoming games. David Gold, the kicker for the team as well as one of the captains, used the slow-motion that Ross shot, as GIFs for the athletic department’s Twitter game updates. After talking to the team and discussing the day from their perspective, David Gold, senior captain and kicker, said, “It was a really amazing opportunity to get to put on our jerseys and take photos for the last time. Markian, Ross, Matt, Brian, and Oscar knocked it out of the park, really creating something amazing.” I couldn’t agree more: the content we got was outstanding–far better than we ever expected–and working with the team was a fantastic experience. Their cooperation and enthusiasm let us glide through the day with no problems at all.