8K Solutions Improves Safety For NCAA Videographers

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Photo Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

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Filming football practices from atop a scissor lift comes with a variety of major safety concerns. As a result, college programs and NFL programs all over the country have taken major steps in the last decade to make sure that serious or fatal accidents.

While the NCAA itself has few procedures in place to do this, it largely falls on individual universities to ensure their students’ safety. As of this writing, 25 of the 32 NFL teams and more than two dozen NCAA football programs have turned to the 8K Solutions family of products to solve the issue of safely videoing practices.

“Once everything happened at Notre Dame, there was a university-directed emphasis on safety, which shifted expectations of what should be in place,” says Kevin Tomaszek, Boston College Football Video Coordinator. “Once we started looking at the indoor facility, our board of directors saw the capability of 8K’s machines and how much more safe they were while providing the same quality of film.”

The Northwestern University Wildcats also utilize 8K’s mastRcam at the Wildcats’ Walter Athletics Center along with a host of other safety procedures.

“Now that we have 8K cameras, all of our practice safety concerns have been greatly minimized, says Darby Dunnagan, Football Video Director at Northwestern. “

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

As more video crew continue to move on from scissor lifts, teams will likely do something similar to Stanford Athletics’ Video Director Mike Gleeson does, and take mastRcam on the road. The mastRcam mobile is a trailer, which makes it easy to move from place to place around campus and to other sites on road trips.

“The mastRcams are a really good solution, and they’re portable,” he says. “We raise them when practices start and after practice we lower him down, and the whole process only takes about a half hour. And there’s really no risk because if you trip and fall off the trailer, you’re only falling two feet.”

Some programs have evolved to the point where their video operation is almost completely away from the field. This is possible thanks to the remote capabilities of the mastRcam and 8K’s other products. Army, for example, has its film crew in an office controlling all of the cameras from the control room apart from ground-level shots.

“Having this control room setup has totally eliminated the safety concerns that we had before,” says Jack O’Reilly, West Point’s Director of Football Video Operations. “Then, aside from the safety aspect of it, the fact that I can look at [my videographer’s] screen and know what they’re filming to make sure they’re getting the right thing and doing it properly, et cetera. It’s life-changing for a video guy because you send a freshman out there and tell him to tell him something, and he doesn’t take the lens cap off or something. We could miss a whole period of practice, and that was expected and understood because human error. Last season, we didn’t miss a single play. It’s hugely helpful.”

8K’s VP of Sales and Marketing Bob White sees the remarkable trend towards safety in the past four years as the convergence of awareness and technology.

“Everyone has had safety protocols in place to protect against wind and lightning but a series of unexpected accidents really raised awareness that there had to be a better way to shoot practice than in a scissor lift,” he says.  “Within a two-year span, a team had a lift tip over because of a mechanical failure, one had a sidewalk collapse and cause a tip over, one caught fire, and several had operators pass out while in the lift.

“At the same time, the PTZ camera technology took off where the quality and affordability of those technologies matched and exceeded the ability of a camera on a scissor lift. Clearly the trend in the industry is towards safety and the efficiencies of mastRcam and PTZ camera systems.” 

A common theme with all of the teams that utilize the mastRcam and 8K solutions is the satisfaction with their customer service. The Florida-based company is just as committed to safety and high performance as its clients.

“Bob White is an awesome guy,” says O’Reilly “They’re just unbelievably helpful and very interested in making sure that I’m able to do my job the best I can. It’s been a really positive experience.”

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