March Madness, Connecticut High School Style

This was the second year in a row that Mohegan Sun arena played host to all eight Connecticut high school basketball state championship games over the course of two days. We had two local teams this year (NFA girls and New London boys) but since the games were in our back yard, we decided to shoot video highlights of all eight games. We did the same thing last year with three teams in the finals.

Last year, we published one video of NFA’s championship game on Friday night, and then two videos on Saturday, a wrap up for the boys and for the girls. The girls one had decent viewership since Old Lyme and Bacon Academy won their respective titles, but we didn’t get a ton of traffic on the boys’ video. This year, I tried a different approach: an individual video story for each of the eight championship games. This meant working 27 hours over two days to shoot, edit and post eight videos.

My normal workflow for a single basketball game is to shoot the whole game to miniDV tape with a Sony Z1U, and then to capture the entire tape in Final Cut Pro. I chart out the play by play of the game while it’s capturing so I can scrub pretty quickly to the plays I want to include int he edit. This allows me to be very thorough, but is also a bit time consuming. I used this workflow for the NFA and New London games, down-converting to SD so I could edit in Final Cut Express on my laptop. To shoot and edit six more games in a similar fashion would have taken far too long, especially given that the potential audience was a bit of an unknown.

I did my best to shoot the game while taking notes. I was able to set up on a tripod at court side in the corner next to the press table, sitting in a chair with my notebook in my lap. I missed a few plays while I was taking notes, but having a play-by-play of the game next to the corresponding time code made editing a breeze. I had time a halftime and between games to capture only the bits of tape I needed and write a voice-over script. I recorded most of the voice-over in the basement concourse just outside the arena, and then did all of the fine-tuning and posting to our Web site once the games were over. It remains to be seen whether we get enough traffic to justify this sort of effort in the future. So far, our local games have gotten the expected traffic, with some interest in the Class LL boys game. The viewership for the rest of the videos has been pretty meager.

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