A Behind the Scenes Look at the 2015 Collegiate Sports Video Association Convention

WEDNESDAY (5/13/15): MEETING OF THE MINDS

Wednesday's at the convention are usually when the conferences have their annuals meetings. FCS as a whole is considered a conference by the CSVA, so usually we’re left to our own devices. This year, however, was a little different. In past years, I was the only representative from the Big Sky, but this year I was joined by my colleagues from Eastern Washington, UC Davis, and Montana State. The four of us sat down for over an hour and discussed guidelines we would like to establish for the conference when it comes to video. We were all pretty much inseparable for the meetings during the rest of the day.

After lunch, we sat in on meetings going over issues like exchanging data, dealing with media entities like ESPN and FOX, workplace safety, and intellectual property.

Once those roundtables were completed, we had our second general assembly meeting, where we again discussed upcoming trends in technology, as well as time management, and increasing the involvement of our student workers.

Dinner, again, was provided by another major vendor along with a group outing of bowling and karaoke. Tomorrow, we get to sit down and meet with the staff of the Arizona Cardinals, who have graciously allowed us to pick their brains on issues they deal with that could eventually filter down to the college ranks. It’s almost hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the convention. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

 

TUESDAY (5/12/15): DOWN TO BUSINESS

 

Getting ready to discuss upcoming changes in athletics technology

 

This morning began with a discussion on current and foreseeable changes in the athletics video progression. The main topic of discussion was the idea of 4K becoming a standard in athletics video. 4K is a video resolution that is about two steps above high definition.  Once that meeting was over, we went right into the first general assembly of the convention. The first assembly is more of a “Welcome to Phoenix” and a chance to introduce all the vendors who will be at the convention. Convention-goers are strongly encouraged to visit all the vendors in the hotel’s main ballroom.

WALKING THE FLOOR:

 

Testing out a “steady-cam” rig at a vendor’s booth.

 

Another purpose of the convention is to act as a trade show for some of our vendors. You have giant corporations like Sony & Panasonic next to smaller companies trying to encourage us to patronize them. This year, we have 10,000 square feet of space filled with vendors displaying all sorts of items. From the latest in camera equipment to software to rigs such as the one in the picture above. Some of the vendors have giveaways where you leave a business card or fill out a slip of paper and you could win prizes (wish me luck).

Tuesday is also known as “Post-production Day.” There are classes held where you can learn tips and tricks to help make your highlight videos and recruiting videos just a little bit better.

At the end of the day, XOS Digital, the company that provides our coaching film software, took a large group of us out to eat. We ended up going to a place called The Duce. It literally had something for everyone: food, drink, some games. It even had a boxing ring and a swing dance class, which some of us tried to take part; trust me, it didn’t turn out too well for those of us with two left feet. 

 

LATE MORNING - MONDAY (5/11/15): CHECKING IN

 

Picking up my name badge and getting checked in at the convention

It’s time…

The first thing once I arrived in Phoenix was check in with the convention at the hotel. It’s always fun catching up friends and colleagues that you only see once a year, as well as guys you see every fall.

This year, we have about 150 members of the organization in town for the convention. This is probably the most people we’ve had in the years I’ve been attending.

For those who are lucky enough to arrive on the first day, there are usually some roundtable discussions and workshops to take part in. This year, the workshops dealt with networking, financial planning and social media.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME:

Once the workshops are completed, there is usually a group outing for the entire convention. This year, one of the title sponsors, XOS Digital, took us to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Washington Nationals. As you can see above, we were located in the right field bleachers for what turned out to be a blowout. For the most part, this outing is usually designed as a get- together for us and some of the vendors we deal with during the rest of the year. 

 

SUNDAY (5/10/15): T-MINUS ONE DAY TO CSVA

 

Packing just about every piece of NAU labeled clothing I own for a week in the valley

 

Ah, mid-May…

Other than the start of fall camp, this is probably my favorite time of year. The middle of May is when the Collegiate Sports Video Association (CSVA) has their annual convention. The convention allows video coordinators from all across the country and from all levels of athletics (CSVA membership may have started at the collegiate level but now ranges from high school all the way to the NFL) to meet and discuss changes in the industry. We also hold workshops and discussions on post-production techniques, workplace safety, changing trends and interactions with media (ESPN, Fox Sports, etc.). The location changes from year to year, but it’s always a good chance to pick the brains of my colleagues from schools like UCLA, Notre Dame and Alabama; as well as the video staff of the Arizona Cardinals.

While every convention is a marquee event, this year’s is even more special for two reasons.

The first is the location of this year’s convention. As I mentioned earlier, the site of the convention changes from year to year. This is my seventh convention and my third representing NAU. In previous years, I’ve been to Jacksonville, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa and Houston. What makes this year’s convention so special is that it is located in Phoenix. The Valley of the Sun. Our backyard. Another perk of this is NAU, along with Arizona State and Arizona are considered the “hosts” of this year’s convention.

The second reason is admittedly a little more personal. One main feature of the convention is the awards banquet on Thursday. It is where we honor the best in our profession. This year, I will be amongst that group being honored. Earlier this spring, I was named the FCS Video Coordinator of the Year by a majority vote of CSVA members at the FCS level. You can read the press release of the story at this link: http://nauathletics.com/sports/fball/2014-15/releases/20150505ceq06u.

For these reasons, I was asked to give Lumberjack Nation a play-by-play of my time in Phoenix. So, I’ll try and post one of these entries every day of the conference and hopefully give you all a better idea of what goes on inside the Athletics Video office in the Skydome.

I can’t wait for tomorrow…

 

James Foran