SVG College Sports Summit Q&A: Crimson Tide Productions’ Justin Brant
The SVG College Sports Summit is now less than two weeks away, and SVG has assembled a distinguished group of college sports-video experts and television executives as speakers to share their expertise with the industry. Leading up to the two-day event, SVG is checking in with key members of the program to discuss their involvement and what they hope the Summit will accomplish, as well as to impart some initial pieces of advice.
Justin Brant is entering his fifth year as Director of Crimson Tide Productions for the University of Alabama Athletics Department. His responsibilities include oversight of all creative video operations, graphic design and live production. Since joining the Crimson Tide the department has grown from 2 staff members to 11 and will increase to 15 in the fall of 2014 with the start of the SEC Network and the launch of a new Digital Media Center at Bryant Denny Stadium. Crimson Tide Productions covers nearly 200 live events, 40 coaches shows and nearly 50 broadcast shows for regional and national distribution.
I would say that our greatest accomplishment in the past two years is that we recently finished our Digital Media Center housed in Bryant Denny Stadium. Its a 40,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility that houses three different groups allowing athletics and academic groups to work together for a great campus collaboration of media. There are three control rooms, three studios, 10 edit suites and a lot more that allow staff and students to create content second to none.
In what ways have you seen the college sports video-production industry evolve in recent years and what technologies are driving this evolution?
The industry has changed so much. Some schools used to just have a “video person” that created videos with a particular sport or worked with coaches film. Now the shift has been to a department within athletics that is very influential because it has an effect on just about everything in an athletic department on a daily basis; sponsorship Revenue, recruiting elements, coaches shows, ESPN productions, graphic design, student athlete promotion – the list could go on forever.
Some of the technology driving this is new and some is not. In some cases the technology is not new, the schools are just incorporating more of it than in the past. In our case, some of the technologies driving us into the future are definitely related to mobile content and how that is delivered to fans. Be it a digital program app with embedded videos to make it come to life on a tablet or phone or delivering a replay to cellphones in the stadium so fans can see exclusive content, the technologies that are most associated with this are related to getting content to fans as quickly as possible.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Summit?
I always look forward to collaborating with other schools, sharing ideas and the awards ceremony. It’s great to see all the great content that other schools/organizations create.
You are speaking on the workshop panel titled “Pre-Production: Preparing For Success”. What is one piece of advice you have for an athletic department looking to boost pro-produced video offerings to fans?
Keep it simple and keep the fans in mind. In some cases, fans want to see exclusive video they can’t get anywhere else. Other times they want to be incorporated into the video. So, either use exclusive content or interactive content and make it more about the fans. We often get so caught up in accommodating sponsors or checking a video off a list that we lose some of the edge with the fans. I would also say that if you work in an athletic department then you know your fan base and the culture of the program better than anyone, so use that to your advantage when making great videos. Most importantly, just have fun with it.