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The New England Patriots Trust 8K Solutions’ mastRcam to Safely Film Practices

The mastRcam allows head coach Bill Belichick and his team of champions to film outdoor practices from high angles with ease.

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Photo via mastRcam

(8K Solutions is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

For football coaches and administrators, filming practice is a necessity in order to help their team improve. For many years, however, this was not the easiest or safest process.

In those days, a video coordinator or student intern would be positioned at the top of a scissor lift, or some other high structure, with a camera. This put the camera operator at risk of serious injury or death should they fall off or have an encounter with the elements, such as high wind, extreme heat or cold, or lightning.

Thankfully, 8K Solutions presented an answer to this problem with the introduction of the mastRcam four years ago. The mastRcam is 8K Solutions’ line of cameras that are able to film from tall heights while being operated by a person safely on the ground. Twenty-six of the NFL’s 32 teams (as well as 27 NCAA programs) utilize some version of the mastRcam, including both teams playing in this Sunday’s Super Bowl: the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.

READ MORE: Microsoft’s NFL Campaigns Culminate in Super Bowl Week Activation

Now in their fourth year of regularly using the mastRcam, the Patriots have seen firsthand the benefits that this technology provides. The New England region regularly gets hit with microbursts, which are small, but very strong windstorms. Since head coach Bill Belichick prefers to practice outside whenever possible, the Patriots’ video team would film from the top of a scissor lift. After a particularly strong microburst, that resulted in the loss of a camera, however, the team needed a better, safer option to film practices from high angles.

As Patriots’ video director Jimmy Dee explains, this is when the team made the switch to the mastRcam.

“You can’t be up on a lift with more than 20-mph winds,” Dee says. “But with the mastRcam, you’re not going to miss a practice. When the weather was bad, we still would try to find another way to film by going up in a nearby building or something like that, but it wasn’t the same as being in our designated location for shooting practice. With the mastRcam, we can shoot in high winds and it’s safe.”

Multiple versions of the mastRcam exist, including the mastRcam mobile, mastRcam SC, and mastRcam Tower. All of these enable the user to safely position a camera high above a practice field. On top of providing teams like the Patriots with a safer way to film, the mastRcam is also more maneuverable than a traditional lift or a stationary structure.

READ MORE: Nike Turns App Into Store With First SNKRS Pop-Up in Atlanta

“Sometimes you would have trouble getting multiple good camera angles with a lift compared to what you can get with a mastRcam,” Dee adds. “It has tremendous range and great flexibility. You can move it really quickly if you have to instead of bringing a lift down, starting it up, and driving it to a new location while practice is going on. If you have to bring the mastRcam down, you can just push it. It’s a great product for us.”

8K Solutions was contracted by the NFL to supply mastRcams for the practices leading up to the game in Atlanta this week. With the mobility of the company’s cameras and the ease of operation, preparing for the biggest game of the season became a bit simpler. This is the kind of service that championship video professionals like Dee have come to expect from the Florida-based company.

“8K Solutions are great. They’re always willing to give us as much help as we need. They’re the best.”

For more information on the mastRcam and the 8K Solutions’ family of products, visit 8KSolutions.com.

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Game Changer MVP’s ‘Filter Fan Cam’ Ramps Up PBR’s In-Arena Atmosphere

PBR began using Game Changer MVP’s fan cam last year — and this year, you’ll be able to catch the Fan Cam at every event in the Unleash The Beast series.

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Photo credit: PBR

(*Game Changer MVP is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

One of the most enjoyable aspects of camera-integrated apps like Snapchat and Instagram is playing with filters.

Game Changer MVP brings this fun to sporting events on a larger scale with its “Filter Fan Cam” technology. Cameras at a given event film the faces of fans and the video feed runs through a computer where the fan filters are applied and broadcast onto the arena’s jumbotron.

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) began using Game Changer MVP’s fan cam last year in Las Vegas — and this year, you’ll be able to catch the Fan Cam at each of the 26 events in the Unleash The Beast series throughout the country.

PBR Arena Video Director Kelly McCommons attests that the Fan Cam has helped bring a great level of energy into arenas full of bull riding fans.

READ MORE: Game Changer MVP Offers Unique In-Stadium Media for Australia’s KFC BBL

“It really it brings a lot of attention to the jumbotron in a way that is new and exciting for a lot of our fans,” McCommons states. “It’s a really great way to get people to interact with our content and our own custom filters that Game Changer is able to provide for us. We love it because it gets the fans engaged.”

McCommons also sees potential in the tool to integrate it into sponsorship packages in the future.

“I think it’s a great tool that eventually will play a part in our sponsorships because it is one of the most interactive things that we do and it gets people’s attention pretty quick. It really gives a chance for us to showcase the names of potential sponsors recognized on the screen with something that’s very cool and interactive.”

Because Game Changer’s technology is easily portable and straightforward, McCommons and the video team are able to integrate within all the different arenas that the Unleash the Beast Series travels to.

In doing so, they catch the eye of fans and tech professionals alike.

“We travel to different venues all over the country, but we travel with our own LED screens. Sometimes we use the in-house screens depending on how good they are. But we get a lot of different markets that don’t have the technology that this software brings to the table. So we get a lot of interaction from different people around the country who have not seen this type of technology before that are really engaged by it and very surprised by it.”

As a partner of Game Changer MVP, PBR works closely with COO Matt Coy to make sure the Fan Cam continues to work seamlessly and add to the fun of the event.

“They’ve been great over email as well as over the phone,” McCommons states. “They come out to events when they can and they’re very responsive on new projects that we’re working on and any changes we need for content or graphics. They’ve been awesome since the start.”

For more on how Game Changer MVP is leading the charge in high-quality in-stadium media, visit its website here. You can also schedule a demo by calling 1-800-464-9445.

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Managers on a Mission Gave an Equipment Manager a Lifelong Network

Participants make connections with the people they serve alongside as part of MOAM — and this certainly was the case for TSU’s equipment manager.

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Photo credit: Managers on a Mission

(*MOAM is a Proud Partner of FOS)

In the nearly six years since the organization’s beginning, Managers on a Mission (MOAM) has been giving young people within the sports world opportunities to grow professionally and spiritually through service projects all over the United States as well as the world.

In nearly all cases, participants make lasting connections with the people they serve alongside, as well as learn valuable lessons about what a career in sports entails. This was the case for Andrew Johnson, an alumnus of MOAM and now head equipment manager at Texas State University.

Johnson graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2013, where he became an equipment manager for the football team. While working as an equipment manager for the New York Jets in 2014, Johnson heard of MOAM’s work through the organization’s founder, Drew Boe. At first unsure of whether he would be a good fit for the program as a post-grad, Johnson eventually applied and accompanied MOAM on a mission trip to Malawi in the summer of 2017.

“The experience of the trip was awesome,” Johnson describes. “You go there thinking at first that you’re going to have this huge impact in the life of the kids, but they teach you as well and you end up leaving as this totally new person. My biggest takeaway is just how awesome it is to be able to work with people that are from totally different backgrounds as us. These people obviously don’t have the same resources as most Americans. So it’s an uphill battle from day one for them, but they keep the faith and they do what it takes to make it.”

READ MORE: How MOAM Gave a Basketball Coach a Whole New Perspective

In addition to leading daily prayer and devotions of faith, Johnson and company led local children in daily games including basketball, volleyball, soccer, and American football. They accomplished this despite a significant amount of their equipment going missing upon arrival. Ironically, this inadvertently helped teach Johnson the biggest lesson he learned while in Malawi.

“The trip taught me the importance of being able to adapt on the fly and do what you need to do to make it in that situation,” Johnson states. “When we first got to Malawi, half our luggage was lost. So we just had to make do and change our schedule because we didn’t have our equipment. You never know what hand your going to be dealt during a game or in life, but you have to adjust on the fly and take care of it and keep the faith.”

Since returning from the trip, Johnson still regularly finds time to connect with the other participants from his mission trip as well as other contacts he has made through Managers on a Mission.

“Everybody that’s ever been on a trip is in this group chat,” Johnson explains. “In addition to things like prayer requests, we also try to connect people in the group that are looking for jobs with open opportunities that we know of. Every major sport at all different levels is represented. For a young person in the industry, it is a great way to branch out and grow professionally.”

During his travels, Johnson will often chat with these contacts in person and occasionally try to help recruit new participants for the program.

“I still donate and anytime I see them at a convention, I’ll stop by the booth for a little bit. I gained so many lifelong friends and business connections through MOAM. It’s just an amazing group of people.”

In addition to still frequently communicating with his colleagues in MOAM, Johnson hopes to lead a domestic service trip sometime in the near future. For any young professionals considering applying for a Managers on a Mission project, Johnson doesn’t think you will regret it.

“If you’re nervous about leaving the country or being away from home, MOAM will make sure you’re ready to go. They’re not going to send you if you’re not ready to go. If you feel that you’ve been called to do this, take that step and give it a shot.”

(*MOAM is a Proud Partner of FOS)

Deadline to apply for the summer trips is March 1! Applications for the 2019 summer mission trip can be submitted here. Potential applicants should contact MOAM Director of Discipleship Seth Ralston at sralston@managersonamission.org with any further questions.

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Inside the Atlanta Falcons’ Social Media Presence With Kyle Benzion

Throughout all of their content, the Atlanta Falcons utilize three different hashtags that each play their own part in telling the team’s story.

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Photo via @AtlantaFalcons

(*Team Infographics is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports)

Here are two things that are difficult — but essential — to achieve in sports social media: Establishing a balance in tone, and capturing the voice of the home city. In recent years, one of the best examples of doing both can be found in the Atlanta Falcons’ social presence.

To show how they have achieved this, Falcons’ social media coordinator Kyle Benzion provided some insight. For starters, the Falcons’ Twitter account reaches a nice balance between humor/clever copy and emotional storytelling.

“We really focus on creating a balance between what our audience wants and what our football team represents,” Benzion says. “Everything we do starts from insights. Our goal is to understand what our fans are feeling and then develop content and share news that they are interested in. Whether it means being the source of the news, interacting with other teams or brands, pumping up one of our players, or creating strong emotional videos, there are always insights that are tied to our decision making.”

This past season, the Falcons put forth another example of their strong storytelling abilities with the Falcons’ remix of “Welcome To Atlanta.” The team released the song and video at the start of the 2018 season to get fans excited about the upcoming year.

“The Falcons remix of ‘Welcome To Atlanta’ illustrated the strong connection between the city of Atlanta, the fans and the football team, but it wasn’t just a song about the football team,” Benzion clarifies. “Although it represented the continued growth of the Falcons Brotherhood and what this team can become, it was really a song about the city of Atlanta. The words embrace the past, yet, similar to the team’s mindset, are also focused on owning the future.”

Benzion goes on to credit team leadership for establishing a path for the social team to connect with fans as opposed to being transactional both with the “Welcome To Atlanta” video and with other social campaigns.

“We’re always encouraged to think big, really big,” Benzion adds. “In this case, it took a ton of planning from a variety of members throughout our organization. Everyone had to be on the same page to pull off a season launch like this. The video was the most shared video on Facebook in professional sports the first half of September and it was an incredibly fun and rewarding project to be a small part of.”

For in-game content, the social team keeps fans updated with scoring-drive motion graphics that it creates hand in hand with Team Infographics.

“Team Infographics is a great company to work with,” Benzion testifies. “I originally worked with Team Infographics when I worked for the Nebraska Huskers. I really liked what they were able to bring to game day and their fantastic customer service. We have worked directly with Team Infographics for two years and they have been nothing short of incredibly responsive and easy to work with. We look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Throughout all of their content, the Falcons utilize three different hashtags that each play their own part in telling the team’s story: #InBrotherhood, #RiseUp, and #TogetherWeRise. Benzion explains the thinking behind these.

“#InBrotherhood, #RiseUp, and #TogetherWeRise live simultaneously but each carry their own equity. #RiseUp is a call to action or a rallying cry that represents what Falcons do. #InBrotherhood represents the relentless spirit in which we work for each other, support each other and fight for each other on the field. Each equity allows us to bring the team, the city and the fans closer together in different ways.”

#InBrotherhood was originally created during the team’s 2016 playoff push that ended with a Super Bowl appearance. Our goal was to create something that helped bring the football team together with the city and the fans.

“For the Falcons and Head Coach Dan Quinn, “Brotherhood” is not just a word we toss around, but rather a way of life and something the team strives for every day,” Benzion adds. “Our entire city was able to relate to the traits that the ‘Brotherhood’ representes such as toughness, grit, hard work, and getting back up again and again no matter the circumstance.” 

One unique undertaking for the Falcons’ social team in the last year has been promoting the opening of Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which the Falcons call home. Benzion and company consider themselves fortunate to help tell the venue’s story alongside digital team members dedicated solely to the stadium’s channels.

As Benzion puts it, “Making people fall in love with a place requires a different strategy than falling in love with our team; but it’s not hard to do with the world-class technology, architecture and community connection that our owner, Arthur Blank, has built. During the lead-up to the opening of the stadium, we worked hand in hand with our communications team, dropping monthly time lapses, drone videos, and other stadium ‘firsts’ or reveals that were always incredibly high-performing pieces of content. Any new news on the stadium, fans loved. It was very unique because it allowed us to break out of our usual NFL fan base and reach completely new audiences.”

At the end of the day, Benzion believes that in order to achieve a high ranking digital position in the NFL is to avoid having a one-dimensional skill set.

“My biggest advice to a college student that hopes to be in my position one day would be to be multidimensional. Be great at what you do. Be a master of it and have a variety of skillsets. The more you can do, the harder it is for a potential employer to say ‘no’. If you can do graphics, video, social insights and analytics, photos and write, you are setting yourself up for success.”

(*Team Infographics is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports)

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