Live From Final Four: Oklahoma Entertains Fans With Hybrid Linear, Digital Coverage
SoonerVision shines in Houston, with lots still going on back home in Norman
The University of Oklahoma boasts one of the most impressive video-production units in college sports: SoonerVision. So, when the OU men’s basketball team reached its first Final Four since 2002, it was little surprise when the group offered comprehensive video coverage of the team for fans and alumni.
“It’s been awesome to be here,“ says Brandon Meier, assistant AD, broadcast operations, OU. “We sat down and developed a really good content plan. There’s ebbs and flows that occur along the way, so it’s important to be nimble. The advantages of being embedded with the team and having the team know who you are have been great. You can’t ask for anything more than to cover your team in the Final Four.”
SoonerVision produced a wide range of content, including three 30-iminute shows — which aired on Fox Sports Southwest leading up to Saturday night’s game — and a slew of digital content.
The SoonerVision team was onsite shooting behind-the-scenes content and features with a pair of Canon XF-205 cameras and additional DSLRs. Game footage was shot with a Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35 camera system. All content was edited using Avid.
The onsite crew also had help from some editors in Norman, especially for the shows airing on Fox Sports Southwest. SoonerVision rented a satellite truck for a few hours on Friday to feed content to the campus, where editors worked to churn out the finished products of the linear programs. In addition, the team leveraged cellular-bonding technology with the help of a LiveU device to continue to transmit after their satellite time was up. The crew was even able to send footage while on the team bus driving to the hotel.
On the digital end, OU has a robust mobile app, SoonerSports2Go, where SoonerVision posted numerous pieces of 2- to 3-minute-long video content: features, interviews, reports, opponent previews, coach’s breakdowns, and more. The app also has a premium version, and some of the longer-form content that SoonerVision creates is available only to those premium subscribers.
What exactly makes content “premium”? “It’s longer; it’s extended versions of content,” Meier explains. “We try to keep it to stuff around coaches. I’d hate to put something premium that is the only thing we will do on a certain athlete at the Final Four. We want his family and his friends to be able to see that.”
As anyone in college athletics will tell you, just because your team makes it to the big stage doesn’t mean things slow down on campus. All four teams at this year’s Final Four lived through that over the weekend.
For SoonerVision, while a selection of its crew was onsite in Houston, live linear and digital coverage was being provided for baseball and softball home series. On Friday night, a Fox Sports crew was in SoonerVision’s Control Room A to produce live coverage of an OU baseball game for Fox Sports 1, and a softball game was simultaneously being produced out of Control Room B for Fox Sports Oklahoma. Those productions continued on various platforms throughout the weekend.
“I credit it to have a really deep, talented crew,” says Meier. “We don’t have a lot of people here so it’s not like we are stealing all of our resources to go to the Final Four, but there’s a ton going on. Everybody is chipping in to help.”