Last year was a solid four seasons of hard work in the Capture department. Per usual, more than a few thousand miles in the air and on the ground.
We shot plenty of jobs for old clients and quite a few for new ones. We made a lot of good pictures and videos and definitely shot some bad frames and setups along the way as well. That's just kind of par for the course when it comes to this crazy gig of shooting. The photo leading off this post is a good metaphor for this whole photography gig. Sometimes the way forward can look a little hazy, but it always manages to clear up in the end.
I'm sure you used a lot of photographs in your marketing this past year. I bet you also took hundreds or thousands of them in your personal life for Instagram or Facebook or whatever it is you like. We look at so much imagery nowadays, it's easy for it to get tossed to the wayside.
This year I took a lot of photographs. No surprise there. I also lit and shot a lot of videos, some of which I have pulled frames from for use here. It's good to look back on a full year of work, or just life for that matter, and be proud of some of what was accomplished. So here are my Top Ten Photographs/Stills of 2015, in no particular order:
- Illinois Football -
This was a still from a shot we did up in the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium. It's just such an impressive view with all of the columns receding into the distance that I knew I wanted the team framed up for a shot there. Does it make sense that they're randomly walking around up there? Of course not, but it looks good, which is the primary focus of any intro video.
- Kennesaw State Football -
Another still pulled from a video shoot. This is the first year that Kennesaw State has had a football team, so there's pressure there to show people what they're all about. I liked this frame because you can see how intensely he's keeping his eye on the ball. It feels like he could be stepping out onto the field any minute.
- Utah Football -
I took this frame during a shoot where we were primarily looking to capture action. But I caught a glimpse of the gold teeth and I knew I just had to show them a little more closely. I also love how his helmet is slightly crooked. He's a linebacker anyway, so to me it feels like he could be celebrating after just laying a big hit on someone, cockeyed helmet and all.
- USA Softball -
We shot a lot of individual photos for USA softball, all of the ladies by themselves, posing in various ways. But I loved the interaction when they got together, playing off of one another. The frame before this one was very serious and then they couldn't help but laugh at how 'tough' they were trying to be.
- SMU Basketball -
I really enjoyed the contrast of this one. The subject is 6-9 and 250 lbs but he brought his very new, very tiny puppy to the shoot and really wanted to get a photograph together.
- Illinois Basketball -
Here's a still pulled from the video we shot for the Illinois men's basketball team. All of the lighting was from continous lights setup around an indoor gymnasium. I light a lot of setups for video that I think are often more impressive than the setups we get to do for still shoots and this was one of them. We smoked up the whole gym and then brought in icelights really close to light his face. It's a wide angle lens pushed in close, so not the most flattering angle, but a cool shot I think.
- SMU Basketball -
Another one from SMU basketball, but taken during a different shoot. They wanted to highlight their fans on some of their ticketing materials so they put a call out for "superfans". I just really like the look on her face as she goofs around with her husband of many years.
- North Texas Football -
A still pulled from a video shoot here. We shot this video at night, right as the sun was going down with the stadium lights on. There's some supplemental lighting coming in from either side here as well. I really like the stadium name filling the dark area at the top of the frame, the hand in the back making a number one sign and the eagle statue in the front. Lots of little things going on in this frame which is why it made my favs from the year.
- Texas Tech Football -
Another one from a video shoot and a total contast in style to the last photo. This one was all about the action and the captured moment. No supplemental lighting or setup really here. Just me backpedaling through obstacles on the ground with a steadicam in my hand and trying to stay out of the way of a very fast, very strong athlete.
- Tulsa Football -
There's something about the look in his eyes that gets me here. I also love the tape on his knuckles and the little scowl that's starting to creep onto his face. Not someone I'd want staring me down from across the line.
Well, that's if for this post. Thanks for stopping by and check back soon for more Capture news.
2015 was busy! It was filled with lots of projects for a wide variety of clients. When I was asked to share a few of my favorite projects from 2015, I knew it was going to be challenging. Every project is fun and unique in its own way. A few of the projects from 2015 that stick out to me are:
1. Towson Women's Basketball Intro Video
I enjoyed this project because the Towson Women's Basketball coaching staff had a clear vision of what they wanted this video to be. We traveled to Towson to shoot footage of the women's basketball team and Baltimore to bring their vision to life. It was the first video shoot I'd been a part of where we captured footage off campus. My favorite part of the video is how our video crew was able to show the movement of the team and basketball through the iconic locations in Baltimore.
2. Army Football Videos, Graphics and Animations
We had the opportunity to do 6 different videoboard projects for Army football. I really enjoyed these projects because each one was so unique. We had the opportunity to do a high end 3D logo animation, a Make Some Noise crowd prompt animation, a Shuffle game, a Derby game, a hype video and an intro animation for Army to use prior to their own video features. Stay tuned for some awesome new projects for the Army / Navy basketball game on January 23 at Madison Square Garden.
3. Delaware Custom Font and Wordmarks
This project was great because we had the opportunity to create a custom font for the University of Delaware and then used that font to design wordmarks for Delaware and all of their sports. Since Delaware was getting a new uniform supplier, all of these marks were then used on their 2015 team uniforms. It was really cool to see our work being worn by all of the Blue Hen athletes.
4. Duke Social Media Graphics
I enjoyed this project because we were able to work with Duke to create a consistent brand across all of their sports. This included creating profile pictures and cover photos as well as a wide variety of templates and holiday graphics for each sport to use. We based the social media profile and cover images off of the Olympic sport poster template design to create an even more cohesive look.
2016 is already off to a flying start with some exciting projects underway. I'm looking forward to another year of memorable projects!
Obviously, I don't have favorite clients...I would never...I love you all the same! However, when it comes to projects, even though I love everything that comes from our designers, I have a few that I could call favorites from this season.
So, without further ado...away we go!
In no particular order:
Illinois Football Intro Video:
This was our first trip out to Champaign for the season to see our Illini friends. Deb and Dustin worked with Brad Wurthman to create a visually appealing concept, and we used orange and blue gels to cover the lights we set up to give the video an intense orange and blue look.
I love how we incorporated their Victory Badge logo into our transition effects.
My favorite part of this video is the music...its so dramatic. Gets me everytime...
And that stare at the end...my goodness.
Mizzou Women's Basketball Intro:
I love this whole concept. The song is "I put on for my City" and we used campus and city b-roll, and even incorporated those into the silhouettes of the girls.
While this silhouette concept was trendy this year, I like this one because we used city footage instead of highlights.
Colorado State Basketball Commercial:
Deb had an idea, and Nick at CSU let her run with it. Inspired by American Horror Story, this commercial scares me a bit. It definitely makes me want to come experience the Moby Madness. If not for basketball, at least for this guy:
Presbyterian Men's Basketball Poster:
Simon at PC wanted to highlight the one senior on the team this year.
In years past, the designs we did had a darker look to them. This one is lighter and just stood out to me among our posters this season.
Syracuse Template Posters:
This design started as a unique poster for women's ice hockey last year.
They liked it so much, they decided to use it as the starting point for the template for most of the Orange sports this season.
Old Hat Creative recently launched the website RaiseUpCarolina.com.It was and is a unique project that had some interesting results.
First, while this is not always an option for websites, we were able to meet with the clients face to face and discussed the website. UNC has long been a friend of Old Hat’s, but this was the first website we would be doing with them. Zac and I went to Chapel Hill once together and then Zac returned with Dustin to shoot some of the footage used on the site. We were able to go through what they wanted out of the site and get a feel for what they envisioned for their athletic department over the next year. We do not always get to do this with clients, but when we do, it helps the process go considerably smoother. Plus, I always enjoy a trip to see our clients.
Once we have met with the client and received the content we start building out the site. Dustin is great at what he does and his ability to lay out content in an efficient manner is one of the things that take our sites to another level. Our process is another one of the reasons we are able to create amazing websites and working closely with a client on a website allows us to refine this process to match the goals of their website. UNC wanted to push season tickets for football and that is the main goal of the website. To accommodate this push, Dustin worked hand in hand with the marketing and ticket staff at UNC to make sure the content was laid out in an effective and aesthetically pleasing manner.
Combining marketing automation with a well laid out website can bring a whole new level of efficiency to your staff and this was one of the primary goals of the Raise Up Carolina website. We were able to target specific demographics of the fan base with newsletters and content, see how they reacted, and then adjust our focus to fit that specific demographic. This is something we work closely with UNC on and that is still going on at this time. When we know and understand the goals of our clients, we will adjust what we do to make sure we help them accomplish those goals. Ashley and Joel (from our OKC office) have studied the goals of UNC so much that they are starting to see things in shades of Tar Heel Blue, but this is what we mean we say we are here to help.
Deadlines and seasons change easily in our industry. Teams that we might think will be sitting at 2-8 end up sitting at 8-2 and looking to get into the playoffs. Our experience working on campus and in this industry has prepared us for that. We have our processes in place to handle these changes and are able to deliver for our clients when few other firms could. Every project will have these challenges, but that’s part of the process and another reason why we make sure we know everything we need to about your goals.
In the end, major projects like this are about the relationship. We got in on the ground floor with UNC for this site and it helped throughout the process. We are still working with them to target their marketing efforts, using analytics to study their fan base, and using marketing automation to make them as efficient as possible.
We are on the same team on projects like this. We will help you accomplish your goals.
Our 2016 New Year’s resolution: share more of what we know.
In the past 12 years, we’ve learned a lot about sports marketing and fundraising. In fact, we’re not going to be shy about saying this: we’re experts. And we’ve realized that our clients, friends, and fans would benefit from our expertise – so we’re going to start sharing more of it.
Over the upcoming year, you can expect to see more articles on our blog about sports marketing best practices, achieving fundraising goals, advice for common sports marketing challenges, marketing trends, and more. If you’ve got a sports marketing question or challenge that’s keeping you up at night, send it to us! We’d be happy to tackle it in our blog and give you some free advice. After all, our staff has a combined 482 years of experience in sports marketing and development. I know what you're thinking. 482 years? Seriously? No, not seriously. But it's a lot.
But don’t worry, if you like hearing about our antics and personal escapades you’ll still be able to read about them on all our various social media outlets. Robert will still run shirtless through the snow. Zac will still do uncomfortable interviews with the OH staff. And Geoff might write a haiku again sometime.
So buckle in. Twenty-sixteen is poised to be the greatest year in the history of years. And your best resource for making it the best for you is right here at the Old Hat blog.
As a sports marketer, what do you sell? The simple and obvious answer is, of course, tickets. Those game ticket sales in turn fuel other revenue streams: concessions, merchandise, and indirectly other types of program support.
But in reality, you’re selling much more than tickets. You’re selling an experience of your school’s brand and what it means to be a fan of your particular sports program. That experience means different things to different people.
Your entire target audience has one important thing in common: they’re all fans of your program to some degree or another. That means all of them are likely to respond to certain visual cues like your logo, colors, and images of your team, campus, or game venue. However, if you really want to market yourself strategically and effectively, you need to segment your audience further and get to know what drives them.
There are several ways to segment your fans: alumni, donor level, development group member, fan club member, season ticket holder, single game ticket purchaser, whether they’re die-hards or jump-on-a-winning-bandwagon fans, and of course the usual demographic indicators such as age, gender, and geographic location. One of the best ways to segment your current target audience is through market research surveys that enable you to understand their motivations for being a fan and what the game experience means to them.
Here are a few simple examples of what this might look like and how you could use it to drive tailored communication strategies:
·Students might value the fan experience because it reinforces their connection with the school and contributes to their sense of personal identity at this stage of their lives. What makes the student experience unique at your school? Think about how you can tap into traditions like these.
Alumni might be motivated by the opportunity to relive the fun and excitement of their college days, reconnecting with the brand through a combination of sense of tradition, nostalgia, and present day pride. Why not take advantage of opportunities like social media’s #TBT (Throwback Thursday) to help you reinforce that connection and encourage greater engagement?
Parents of students might see the experience as a way to strengthen their connection with their child and may feel a sense of ownership and pride based on their financial contributions to the school. Consider how you can encourage mom or dad’s commitment to the team.
Parents of younger children (whether they’re alumni or not) may value the fan experience as a means of creating memories, passing down a love the game, or teaching kids about teamwork. How is the game experience different for them, and what can you do to showcase the family-friendly side of your brand?
Locals who aren’t alumni and don’t have children attending your school may relate more to a sense of local pride or deep-rooted geographic rivalries. Think about what you can do or say that will recognize and encourage their continued support as honorary members of your organization.
When you understand what motivates your different fan groups to be part of the game experience, it’s easier to identify the right marketing themes. Some motivations or feelings will span segmented groups and resonate with the majority of your fans. Those are the themes you should consider for your overall marketing message. Other motivations will be specific to certain segments, and you should use those to tailor your engagement with each group.
Every ticket or season tickets package you sell represents a wide range of emotions and motivations that are felt by your fans as part of the game experience. So don’t just sell tickets: sell can’t-hold-us-down commitment. Sell remember-when-we nostalgia. Sell ours-is-better-than-yours rivalry. Sell this-is-our-house pride. Your fans will love you for it.
Football season is winding to a close and basketball season is heating up. No matter which sport you work with, these four tips will help you take your marketing efforts from having an average season to dominating your goals.
1. Talk smack.
As a sports marketer, you basically get paid to talk smack. How glorious is that? It’s a beautiful thing – as long as you get it right. Good smack-talk galvanizes your fans and increases ticket sales. Just remember that when you talk smack for your program, there are two groups who have to deliver on it: the team (of course) and the operations guys whose efforts ensure a good game-day experience for fans. Make sure you’re working closely with both. The other thing about talking smack is that in order for it to resonate, you have to talk the right smack to the right group. That can be tough if you’re new to a particular program, because every school and every sport is unique. When your messages are on point, you’re near the eye of the hurricane helping chart its path. If your messages aren’t on point, you’re going to be the guy getting crushed by the hurricane. To make sure you’re not that guy, follow the lead of your coaches and players: watch some tape.
2. Watch tape (a.k.a. do your research).
Do you know any college or professional football team that doesn’t watch tape? Yeah, us neither. There’s a reason for that. Watching game film gives players and teams insight into what went well (or didn’t go well) and what to expect from their next opponent. That type of research and analysis provides an important edge. Why not do the same thing with your marketing? Just like reviewing game film, there are two key areas you need to analyze: your brand and your target audience. When was the last time you thoroughly reviewed what your brand stands for, where it can improve on delivering the customer experience, and how strong your marketing strategy is? You also periodically analyze your customers: who they are, what they value most about the game day experience, how well their needs are being met, and what their satisfaction level is. The good news is that you can get away with investing in this type of in-depth analysis periodically (once per season) instead of having to do it for every game.
3. Develop your plays.
On the field or off, analysis is useless if it doesn’t translate into strategy. Use your brand and market research to develop your overall marketing strategy for the year, select the themes and media that are most likely to help you achieve your goals, prioritize your budget, and develop campaigns. Your marketing year can probably be divided pretty easily into its own set of seasons, and you need to have a solid campaign plan for each. Once you find something that works, there’s no shame in recycling it for the next year as long as you don’t get complacent. Complacency kills. You don’t want fans to be able to predict your next poster, email, etc. any more than your team wants the opposing players to predict their next move. So figure out what worked last season, make some adjustments to keep it interesting, and take the next year on like you own it.
4. Monitor the stats.
Ticket sales, game attendance, season ticket renewals, alumni contributions – these are all statistics you should be benchmarking and comparing to prior data. But don’t stop there: there’s more to measure if you really want to know how effective your marketing efforts are. While it can be difficult to measure the success rate of traditional marketing tactics (posters, print ads, billboards, radio, etc.), digital marketing offers a goldmine of statistics. Go beyond looking at basics like number of new and returning website visitors, and start measuring responses to calls to action and actual conversion. Incorporate a marketing automation tool so you can target your messages to different groups, move them along the conversion path, and measure the response you get to each email you send. Make your emails more personal and more interactive with videos that are customizable to each recipient – it’s more affordable than you think, and it helps seriously drive engagement and ultimately ticket sales.
I've been out shooting a lot of work for clients lately. In the last several weeks we've done video and photo shoots for Wyoming, SMU, North Texas, and Illinois just to name a few.
With football season well underway and basketball season ready to tip off I'd like to share a few things I learned during this season of Old Hat Capture shoots.
1. Every University has great student-athletes/coaches.
I guess this is the eternal question right? How do some coaches/schools maintain success while others struggle? I see amazing athletes, administrators and coaches at every single university I visit. They all want to win just as much as the next guy. I suppose that's why they pay some people the big bucks when it comes to coaching, some people just have it figured out.
2. 4 wheels for the win.
My trusty rolling camera bag went down for the count this year. It was a large, 2 wheeled Tamrac 5552 that I've taken all over the country for the past 6 years. One of the wheels finally fell off, well almost fell off. But it was getting pretty hard to drag it through airports with one good rolling wheel. I'd been looking at Thinktank Photo's rolling bags with envy and our replacement bag is the Airport Roller Derby.
You may not think this is a big deal, but if I could put everything on 4 wheels and roll it upright for the rest of my life I would. This thing is awesome and it's saved my back and arm on multiple shoots so far this year. Here's to another 6 years and beyond with this baby.
3. Where there's smoke, there's cool shots. And sometimes firemen.
I like smoke. It adds atmosphere and can make for some epic looking shots. It's not right for every shoot but it sure makes stuff cool on other occasions. But you have to make sure the fire alarms are turned off and the proper people alerted. We did those things recently at Illinois but we still had some firemen show up. And if that happens, just make sure to include your local heroes. They'll be way more likely to forgive you. ;)
There is a chance we will have our first frost this weekend. It is actually a little late in the season for this to be happening, but I am still bothered because my garden is still growing and producing. Once the frost starts to become more and more frequent, that is done and I will have to rip my plants out of the ground. It is kind of sad considering how much work and effort I have put into keeping those plants alive. It was worth it, I have loved to be able to harvest vegetables every day after work or be cooking, run out of something, and only have to walk outside to get what I need. The harvesting is the easy part.
I do not mind putting in the work at the beginning of the season. The stress of spring rains and tornados ends up being worth it, but I am still going to be annoyed at the present time. That is kind of what our busy season at Old Hat is like. It is stressful, it is annoying, and it can be a pain, but in the end it is worth it. We create some amazing pieces for our clients and we do things that should make all of our staff proud. We are not completely through the busy season, but check out some of the cool things we have done below.
You like that play on words? There's a lot more where that came from... well, no, not really. I just realized today was my blog day so I'm keeping it super short (you're welcome).
So today we held the first of many Old Hat/Third Degree productions, and probably one of the most important efforts by both sides. I'm talking about the Chili Cook-off Contest!
I don't want to brag too much about the Old Hat side, but we did take 1st place (thanks to Tanner) and also a share of the 4-way tie for 2nd place.
Here are the final results:
1. Tanner Naeher
2a. Katelyn Drake
2b. Kriste Day
2c. Zac Logsdon
2d. Deb Livingston
3. Misty Copeland
Here's a look at the chili, after we ate it all.
In other unrelated news, I just got back from a shoot in Orlando for the American Athletic Conference basketball media days. We had a good time- got to talk with the WBB coaches and players, and the MBB players from around the conference too. I'm looking forward to the PSAs we put together for both sides.
Here's a creepy painting that was at the end of the hall at our hotel... pretty cool though.
And to tie in videos and painting, I heard Bob Ross' entire collection is now available on YouTube. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I hope you'll find your inner artist and paint what your heart desires.