Old Hat just recently completed video shoots for The University of Illinois' football and men's basketball teams. We were very excited to once again head out to Champaign and work with the Illini marketing staff and their respective student-athletes on a unique video concept. 

When we started talking with Illinois about these shoots we wanted to find a way to show their student-athletes and the familiar concepts of a football and men's basketball shoot in a different way. We settled on stop-motion as the method of telling our story. 

A stop-motion video is simply a series of still photographs played back at the speed of video which is typically 24 frames per second. That means for every second of video we show on-screen we shot 24 photographs to make that moment come alive. 

Let's get to a few of the technical challenges with this video. It was shot with a Canon 7D Mark II, which shoots stills at a maximum frame rate of 10 fps. Obviously this isn't quite up to the speed of 24 fps of shooting video, so you get a unique staccato, strobe-y feel to the video. The 7D is great because it's basically the poor man's sports shooter.  Just as many frames for way less than their flagship cameras. 


In the photo above you can see the 7D Mark II sitting atop a Glidecam 4000 on a steadicam arm. One of the things we wanted to do on these shoots was to really move the camera around like we would a video camera, even though we were shooting stills. Shooting with a steadicam allowed us to achieve that look. 

Here's a reverse angle of a slightly different setup. You can see that two strobes are on stands and the larger octabank is being handheld by light-holder extraordinaire Brad Wurthman, who also happens to be in charge of marketing at Illinois. In several other setups and throughout the day we had a person holding each individual light stand to facilitate movement of the camera and all of the lights simultaneously. 

We shot with Profoto B1 strobes. The B1's are battery powered and gave us the ability to move around quickly without having to worry about extension cords and finding power. We could go anywhere and continue to light our subjects. User replaceable batteries meant we could have backups charged and ready to go whenever we were running low. All in all we shot over 8,000 photographs between football and men's basketball, which is a lot of flashes. 

Stay tuned for the football video to make its debut in the coming weeks!


No, I'm not talking about Christmas. It's shoot season!

It's the time of year when we get to travel around the country and see our clients in real life! I also enjoy getting to see everyone in their natural habitats on campus.

Recently, Dustin and I adventured out to Salt Lake City to see our friends at the University of Utah. We were on-site to capture football and volleyball photos. The photos we take at this shoot go on pretty much every marketing piece Utah sends out, so we make sure to take plenty to last them all season. 

We also caught up with our on campus Old Hat designer, Douglas. It's always great to see him as well.

Here's a few photos I captured on my iPhone while Dustin was capturing photos on his "real camera":

Yay Douglas! 


When we got to our hotel, the power was out for most of the evening.  All I had were these two glow sticks to light up my room.

Obviously we have to take some diving photos.  Always one of my favorites.

Very intimidating.

Dustin...also very intimidating.

Swoop came by, and before we knew it, we had a handstand contest on our hands!

Dustin and Swoop in deep conversation...not having a handstand contest.

Once every four years, the world turns its attention to the Summer Olympic Games. The hype begins even before the start of competition...have you had your fill of incomplete construction updates, been scared by the Zika virus, and are waiting to hear more news on the Russian doping scandal? And in more positive news, are you following any of your favorite athletes on their road to Rio and looking forward to seeing Team USA's final medal count? 

Beginning on August 5, and for the next 16 days, our attention is placed on a variety of sports. So many people get first-time exposure to competitions they've never seen. Many of us will become USA swimming, wrestling, track & field, beach volleyball and gymnastics superfans, as these events and athletes enter our world through primetime television and are all over social media. But why let our fandom remain just temporary? Can you use the piqued interest during the 2016 Olympic Games to build a bigger fan base for your sports OTHER than football and basketball? Can you take advantage of the attention the Olympics brings to get fans to more of your volleyball, field hockey and soccer games? Here are some ideas that may help get you started. We know all programs are different, but perhaps one or more of these would work for you or spark another thought.

If you have a 2016 Olympian on your campus, make sure you're promoting them heavily on social media and your athletics website. Not only now, before the games begin, but after, as they can offer a recap and inside look at experiences that so few get the chance to have. 

Consider hosting Olympic watch parties and give fans a chance to get to know your facilities and mingle with your athletes. Develop relationships with potential fans now so they'll support you during your competition season. 

As childhood inactivity/obesity continues to pose a great concern, why not host offseason youth sports clinics and camps to increase youth interest in your sport and promote activity and good health at the same time? Face time with athletes they can look up to could lead to increased interest in your sport and attendance at your events. Believe me, you want those kids begging their parents to take them to one of your tennis matches or swim meets.

Do you have any former or current Olympians in your program? Or even that live in your area? If so, can you schedule them for an appearance and autograph session at one of your games? Consider honoring or retiring their number and making a promotional night that could bring in new and different fans. 

Make sure to cross-promote your events. Take advantage of full houses at football and basketball to give your other sports a chance to shine - maybe gymnastics could perform at halftime or your field hockey team could be introduced between quarters to promote next week's game? 

Consider offering and promoting season ticket packages for your Olympic sports earlier than usual to take advantage of peak fan interest at Olympic time.

Could you offer an Olympic-sports mini plan for people who wish to attend several events each across multiple sports? Maybe with two general admission tickets each to a volleyball game, soccer game, tennis match, a track meet and more? A plan like this may entice fans to attend more games in the future if they enjoy their experience.

Enjoy the Olympics and good luck promoting all of your teams this year!


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