By Dylan Frazier
Croy gymnasium on the University of Findlay campus is known for its “sixth man” presence. It’s legendary. The Findlay community embraces their favorite basketball teams and pack the stands at games.
This basketball season that special ingredient will be missing from the Oiler basketball games as COVID-19 restrictions are keeping fans out of the stands. But UFTV has been challenged to help bring the magic to Oiler fans everywhere.
UFTV Manager AJ du Fresne is working tirelessly to get as many games covered as possible. With the help of the athletic department, the viewing experience should be crystal clear this season.
“UF Athletics graciously and thankfully purchased new equipment this summer for UFTV to use to produce and livestream games,” said du Fresne in an email interview. “It was time to replace our SD cameras. The new 4k cameras are compact and powerful.”
UFTV also has a new VMIX software based livestreaming PC and graphics laptop, and Taradeck remote cameras.
“It will be a much better in-game viewing experience because we will have two remote and two stationary cameras, or four in total,” said du Fresne. “It will not be as fun because we won’t have crowd and student section shots to cut to during the game or after a dunk. But we will have all access to the gym, so we will have a variety of shots to work from.”
On Oct 26 Dave Emsweller announced that
“For events where students are competing inside (basketball, indoor track and field, swimming/diving, volleyball, tennis, and wrestling), no spectators for either team will be permitted through the end of the academic year. This will be revisited if COVID cases decline drastically. Competitions will be live streamed whenever possible.”
UFTV was already hard at work streaming many events on campus. That much traffic can lead to a drop in stream quality. Du Fresne and UFTV, along with ITS, say they are trying to make sure viewers have a quality experience.
“Our main issue is to ensure we have enough bandwidth to stream video at a high quality for the viewer,” du Fresne said. “UF – ITS has been great in helping to ensure we have suitable bandwidth on game day.”
Du Fresne says UFTV was also contracted to film Findlay High School basketball and hockey games which has caused some bandwidth problems.
“We have had issues with bandwidth at the Cube for hockey games. It can be frustrating, but I hope it is resolved before the next hockey game,” du Fresne said.
The next big challenge is workers. With the basketball season starting while many students are already home on break there aren’t very many students in the area to work the games.
“While it has been a struggle to fill positions, I am confident we will have the crew,” du Fresne said. “We want to be safe. We have had students drop out due quarantine. That is expected. Others have stepped up and we are appreciative of that.”
Du Fresne says it takes a team effort to ensure a safe and healthy environment, but says the productions are fun as well.
“We want to give the viewer the best entertainment we can with our new tools,” du Fresne said. “We have also recruited outside of UF. I have hired some former students who have graduated, as well as some in the community.
Students interested in helping with the UFTV sports productions Don’t need to worry about experience. Training is available for these student production assistant positions.
Students interested in helping with other productions outside of sports are welcome too.
“We are also scheduled to film several arts programs in the community,” du Fresne said. “We are filming the Kahuna Jam with WKXA fundraising for Toys for Tots on Dec 9. We love doing these types of events. The UF’s A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play was extremely fun, challenging, and awesome,” said du Fresne.
Du Fresne says the various opportunities allow UF students to gain experiential learning that are unique compared to other university communication programs.
If interested in helping with UFTV email AJ at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pay is between $9.95 and $12 per hour, plus free food an hour before the game.