Throughout preseason football camp, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Rachel Perreault will take you on a behind-the-scenes look at different aspects of the football program that go beyond the practice field. In today’s fourth installment, she checks in with the Video Department.
Similar to most departments, football camp provides the busiest time of year and longest days for the video office. With a hand in all visual elements seen everywhere from the video board in Lane Stadium, to TV, to hokiesports.com and even in the new Olympic weight room, the fall is a hectic time for Director of Visual and Broadcast Communications Kevin Hicks and his staff.
Leading up to camp beginning, Hicks is making sure that even little things like the stoplight and sound system on the tower in the middle of the practice field are good to go for day one of practice. With his student staff back in town for the start of camp, he is scheduling who will head up the tower on what days to film practice and who will be in the office editing, while also sorting out the rest of his requests.
Done are the days of climbing the side of the tower and using a pulley to get the equipment up, Hicks and his staff are grateful for the new tower. With not only the number of hours the video office works throughout the week but for situations like spending upwards of two hours atop Coach Beamer’s practice perch with one or two co-workers is why Hicks puts such an emphasis on personality when hiring workers.
Also always preaching the importance of safety and comfort, the tower provides greater security and a smaller chance of anything going wrong. Losing just two cameras in his 15 years, Hicks has been fortunate that with this way of doing business, he has a very high safety success rate.
Camp is not much different from the season for the video office; it’s just a matter of being thrown back into the craziness. The day begins early for much of the staff, as someone is always around when the players and coaches are in meetings, just in case there are any malfunctions. Hicks has his student staff in the office for a few hours throughout the day to assist on other projects before they begin to gear up for football practice two hours prior.
During practice half the student staff is stationed around the field getting various birds-eye-views of all the drills, while the other half is in the office preparing the footage for the coaches to use later on. Though the students are good to go after this is all done, there is at least one full-time person that sticks around until all the meetings are done.
Often able to hear the call from his office, located between the coaches’ offices and the Michael Vick hallway where most meetings are held, Hicks admits that with the proper instructions and direction, the coaching staff doesn’t have too much difficulty with the computers and monitors used to display film. All of the footage is fed from the video office to each of the meeting rooms after it is completed, leaving it in the hands of the coaches to get the film up on the monitors. Though he may not be a problem child for Hicks, being tech-savvy is a requirement for the graduate assistant and players in the offensive line meeting room, as o-line coach Curt Newsome understands those things are better left out of his hands.
Though football is a huge responsibility for the video office, that consists of five full-time and nine student videographers, it’s just a small slice of the work they put in. Also shooting TV commercials and interviews for hokiesports.com, the video office works closely with the marketing department and IMG to put together sponsorship videos for the video board in Lane Stadium as well.
In a rare turn of events, the video office had the grueling task of making a video about themselves this week. No two days are the same for Hicks and his staff and though that is the way they like it, it’s always sad to see their down time from the middle of May to the middle of July go.
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