CSVS Q&A: Joel Kitay, President, Kitay Productions

In anticipation of the second-annual College Sports Video Summit, to be held June 8-9 in Atlanta, SVG has assembled a distinguished group of college sports-video experts to serve as the advisory board to help shape the event and ensure its relevance to the industry. Leading up to the two-day summit, SVG will check in with all the members of the board to discuss their involvement, what they hope the Summit will accomplish, and how CSVS can help the industry move forward. This week, Joel Kitay, president of Kitay Productions, discusses the importance of the event for networking and problem-solving among college and university professionals.

Why are you involved with the College Sports Video Summit?
I’m committed to the event because I think the college industry doesn’t have a single go-to place where people who work in the college field can share both technical and creative ideas. More emphasis is on the technical here. I know there are other events out there for creative sharing of ideas, but there really isn’t a single source for technical best practices, and this event is great for that.

What do you hope the event will accomplish?
I come from the perspective of the end user who the university or college hires to execute their vision on game day. What’s critically important for me is that the colleges and universities are able to provide us with adequate tools to execute the vision that they have in their head from what they’ve seen done at other venues. We’ve seen a lot of situations where colleges and universities don’t know what they don’t know and then we’re brought in to run a show and we can’t execute their vision because we don’t have the right tools. That puts us in a difficult spot.

What we’d like to get out of the event is to continue educating these schools on best practices, what they need. We want to help them distinguish what’s a nice bell and whistle to have versus what’s really necessary to make our job easier and to produce a better product for them, which is our overriding goal.

Give us a feel for the state of the college sports industry when it comes to video. Where are we? How can CSVS help move that bar?
I think there certainly is a lot more awareness now as to what’s involved in doing your own video production. I think there still needs to be a lot more education. A big issue in the industry is an effective cost model: How can I pay for this? Do I use students for labor? Where do I need freelancers? If I’m going to hire a full-time person, what can I expect them to do? What level of qualification can I expect? Those are the critical issues facing the industry.

I’ve had clients come to this event before. In a lot of cases, when you’re working in a college or university, you’re focused on your institution and what’s going on within it. That’s just the nature of the industry. You could be supporting 20 or 30 athletic teams, some that have video production and some that don’t, so it’s very hard to have time left over to focus on what other people are doing, what best practices are, and to have that dialogue [with] people.

What I’ve noticed with this event is that it gives people a concentrated opportunity to network with colleagues, many of whom are facing the same problems. In a short period of time, you can gather a lot of information and be able to make decisions that would otherwise take months of staying in touch with people to accomplish.

What are you most looking forward to at CSVS?
I’m looking forward to networking opportunities, but I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the newer gear that’s come out in the last year that is priced for the mid-major- and small-college market. I’ve been reading primarily in the SVG newsletters about some of the lower-cost replay solutions and character-generation solutions that are out there. For us, that mid-major market is a big growth opportunity so any opportunities that we can find to save clients money are something that we’re definitely interested in. I’m also interested in seeing how people can use social media to advance their video productions.

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