By Dylan Frazier
With many of University of Findlay sports in the fall getting delayed until the spring because of COVID-19, there are some sports that the Oilers participate it. One of those sports is golf, both men and women. UFTV has had a light workload this fall in airing sporting events since football and volleyball have been on hold. That was until the Doc Spragg Invitational that is held at the Findlay Country Club every year. This year it was on Sept.21-22.
With 12 teams participating, it was a large event in Findlay. But this year, UFTV streamed the event live, something it had never done before.
Director of Athletic Communications Kyle Niermann said streaming a golf tournament at this level is a huge accomplishment.
“It’s worth noting that at the Division II level, and even the Division I level outside Power 5 schools, a video stream is almost unheard of, even at the national championship level,” Niermann said.
For the Manager of UFTV, AJ du Fresne, it was a welcome challenge to him and the rest of UFTV.
“UF Athletics is always challenging us to ‘be the first’ in the GMAC to produce and live stream an indoor conference track tournament or an outdoor golf tournament. UFTV has yet to say ‘no’ to one of their production challenges. It makes it fun and interesting for all involved, especially for our assistant student producers,” said du Fresne.
Associate Director of Athletics, Development and Business Jim Givens acquired a lift for one of the three cameras that provided a nice ‘birds-eye view’ of four different tee boxes and greens according to du Fresne.
“This helped to make the production more interesting to the viewer and challenged camera operators to find good shots,” du Fresne said. “It is the first time we have had our mobile streaming unit outside.”
Neirmann was very excited to be a part of this historic event that was covered by UFTV. He applauded UFTV and its crew, saying it was impressive how they covered the tournament.
“For this event specifically, it was fun to work through some new challenges that we don’t face while streaming other sports. For one example, noise is never a factor in any other sport we stream, but on the golf course, keeping as quiet as possible while still being able to operate efficiently was extremely important and the members of UFTV adapted and delivered,” said Niermann.
He said another unique challenge on the course was simply the distance that needed to be covered with cables, wires, etc.
“At a football or basketball game, it’s standard to have a couple of cameras both located next to each other, panning back and forth,” Niermann said. “But in golf, trying to cover as much of the action as we could, we had three cameras spread out to cover four holes and learning when to anticipate the action and cut between the shots was something we hadn’t experience before. But again, the members of UFTV did a great job learning and delivering.”
UFTV has covered several sporting events for the Oilers as well as many other non-athletic events on campus over the last six years. Very soon, its productions of the events will be even greater in quality.
“With the help and funding dedication of Athletics, we have been able to acquire new audio/visual equipment, which is on the way,” du Fresne said. “We will have four new HD/4K cameras, two with 1000-foot wireless capabilities, better remote live-streaming capabilities, a mobile PC, and a slick graphic package. This combination will help us create better live streaming productions for athletics, as well as all of UF college events and within the community.”
If you missed out on watching the tournament, have no fear, there is a plan to cover another tournament later this week.
“We have one more home golf tournament this fall and that is on the women’s side, the William Beall Fall Classic on Oct. 5-6,” said Niermann. “That event has been running for quite a few years now and, again, it will be the first time it has been streamed. We look forward to seeing how we can deliver an even better production now that we have one tournament under our belt.”
With new equipment on its way, du Fresne is excited about the challenge of covering golf once again.
“Our new equipment will be very beneficial in upcoming productions. Especially the wireless cameras on a golf course will be able to follow golfers down the fairway, or on the sidelines in football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer will be tremendous,” said du Fresne. “Having four cameras will make for a better production value for us and the viewer.”
Niermann is hopeful that this is only the beginning of UFTV’s coverage of the Oiler golf teams.
“The feedback for this stream has been extremely positive,” Neirmann said. “It is neat to hear from student-athletes and coaches, not only from our school but from others as well, about how happy they were to have that event on the air.”