Eyes on the sidelines: Videographers film Butler squads

BEN SIECK | Asst. Sports Editor

Photo by Jaclyn McConnell

Photo by Jaclyn McConnell

Every game. Every practice. Every rep.

Butler’s student video coordinators and team managers are responsible for filming all of it.

“Any live situations or any situations coaches want to see, we record it,” men’s basketball manager and videographer Jared Todd said.

The Butler football and men’s basketball teams both utilize film as a tool to prepare and educate their players.

As many as four different cameras are running during football games and practices.

Student video coordinator Stephen Blowers said cameras are usually set up on both sidelines and each end zone to make sure nothing is missed.

The football team also utilizes a lift that takes the videographers up for a bird’s eye view.

Blower said the lift is typically in the parking lot, but it sometimes comes down to the field for practices.

Blowers was in the lift for most of his freshman year, but has since moved to shooting wide shots of practices from the press box for the team.

One of the team’s other video coordinators, senior Leland Watson, goes up in the lift frequently.

“I usually take it up to about 30 feet, so I can clear the trees,” Watson said.

Lifts were likely an afterthought in the minds of many videographers before Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan.

Sullivan died while filming practice on a lift that tipped over in high winds in October 2010.

Now, the operator’s safety is paramount.

Watson said the team takes the necessary precautions for the lift operator’s safety.

“You can’t go up in the lift if the winds are over 20 miles per hour,” Watson said, “and it takes two hands to actually operate it.”

Blowers said he knows the risks of the job, but he is confident in the team’s protocol.

“I would still go up, (because) it’s still safe. You just have to be smart and don’t listen to anyone else,” Blowers said. “It’s all your own comfortableness.”

Todd said the basketball team never has to deal with the filming risks the football team does.

However, finding places to film can be challenging.

“On the road, we have to scramble,” Todd said. “During a trip to Wright State, they had to winch you up to where you could film.”

Todd said filming at Hinkle Fieldhouse is never a problem.

“We film on the east side up above by where the TV cameras are,” Todd said. “The good thing about Hinkle is there’s not a bad view in the place.”

Todd said former coach Brad Stevens and current coach Brandon Miller both look to find tendencies when they watch film.

“If we can find tendencies in players, we can figure out how to stop (opponents) better,” Todd said. “If we find tendencies in our players, we can encourage the good and use video to help fix the bad as well.”

Blowers, Watson and Todd aren’t just filling these roles for fun.

They all see a future for themselves in this sort of work.

Blowers said he is currently looking for a graduate assistant job, or anything available at the professional level that would allow him to stay in football.

“I knew I wanted to pursue being involved in football coming into college,” Blowers said.

Watson hasn’t been involved in sports videography as long as Blowers, but said he has found it as a way to diversify his skill set as a recording industry studies and digital media productions double major.

Watson said he will soon be doing film work for the National Basketball Association’s Indiana Pacers, and he hopes he can continue doing similar work in the future.

For Todd, the ultimate goal is becoming a basketball coach, but he said he will gladly take work in videography.

“It would be ideal if I could get a video coordinator or graduate assistant,” Todd said. “I’m kind of looking everywhere and seeing what pops up.”

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