NOTE: On Thursday, May 30, 2014, Seasons was given a nomination for a Heartland Emmy! We will know if the Emmy is presented to the CU Sports Video department in July. Go Buffs! Below we revisit a Q&A that was done when the video was initially released in December.
BOULDER—The CU video guys are at it again. That will likely be the popular thought among those in Buff Nation on Monday morning as they check in on social media and CUBuffs.com and find the latest release from the Sports Video Department. Those video guys are, in fact, at it again, and the latest release, entitled “Seasons,” is their best work yet.
“We wanted to tell the story of a lifetime experience of being a Colorado Buffalo,” Director of Sports Video Jamie Guy said. “Colorado is a special place, before you get here as a child watching, then while you’re here and it goes so fast – that’s what every player says is how fast it went – then coming back and supporting the team, it’s a cool dynamic.”
We sat down with Guy and Assistant Director of Sports Video John Snelson, who along with senior Film Studies major Connor Cassidy were primarily responsible for “Seasons.” But they will all be the first to tell you that they couldn’t have done it without a lot of help.
CUBuffs.com: How did this video get started?
Jamie Guy: “Early last February, the Boulder Experience was just released, and (John) Snelson and I were sitting around thinking ‘What’s next year?’ We both said, ‘I don’t know!’
“There’s a film called Life Cycles that we’ve used for inspiration before but never for the theme of it. That’s how it got started, we thought we should do something like Life Cycles and use the theme for football, basically tell a story of growing up, experiencing college at CU and finishing and then how you’re still involved after the fact. That’s the base concept.”
CUB: In the last 10 to 11 months, how much has changed from what you originally envisioned?
JG: “I feel like it’s close, the base concept stayed the same, but at the same time it’s very different from how we originally envisioned it. We thought it would be over 20 minutes. We tried different things on the script, figuring out the sequencing to tell the story, as we got footage and started putting it together, it was nowhere close to the original idea, just the original concept.
“We had all these great thoughts and examples of shots we could use for the passing of time, growing up, things of that nature, but we didn’t have a story for quite some time. We ultimately hired a writer to write a Hollywood style script that we could follow. That’s how we got started in July, but we had been doing things and getting started before that, some of the shots are very long term.”
CUB: Give an example of something new you were trying that didn’t work, and some things that did.
JG: “Some of the shots I was doing were more of the long term shots. During Fall Camp, I attempted to shoot cleats and a helmet every day to show the wear and tear on those and that didn’t work quite how I envisioned it. I did another one outside in the trees with the mountains in the background. It finally came together during the second snow of the year. It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but it was pretty cool.
“We had a lot of decisions to make throughout the video and we definitely dreamed big throughout and tried things we’d never tried before. Not everything worked out, but how it turned out is better than what we envisioned to begin with.”
“I tried a technique called hyper lapse a few times and one shot really worked out. I went the length of the football field and you can see Duane turn and the mountains turn and the clouds in the time-lapse sequence. It took me about five times to get one good shot.”
CUB: Who’s this kid seen throughout the video?
JG: “That’s Jerome. We went to Jerome’s house and shot a lot of things there. We set up a lot of things, but the best stuff was just him running around with the football, the unscripted things. We did that in July and that’s really when we thought things were coming together, we used him throughout the video. The first time we tried to get Jermoe looking at Ralphie, Ralphie didn’t run, the first game of the year, but we ended up getting it at the Oregon game.”
CUB: What was the hardest part of the process?
JG: “Probably the hardest part, and John found a way to work it out, we didn’t really have an ending, and endings are always the hardest part of any video in my opinion. We had several different iterations of the ending, and we finally ended up using something with Jerome and I thought it was awesome.”
CUB: What are you trying to say with this video?
John Snelson: “Colorado Football is more than just four years of playing football. It’s a lifetime of dreaming and working and doing and living the rest of your life learning from that. We’re trying to sell Colorado Football to fans, kids, whatever, we can only show the city so much, the highlights so much, the sales pitch is that it’s a lifetime decision. It’s not just somewhere you’re going to go where a cool uniform for four years.”
CUB: You talked about outside help, explain.
JS: “It was amazing how many people were willing to spend time helping us. We had a guy doing sound, a guy composing music. The narration is awesome. People wrote a script for us. There are probably too many to mention.”
JG: “We couldn’t have done it without Connor Cassidy. He made a lot of those shots; he hooked us up with the audio guy Grayson Simon. It was really him and the both of us working on it all the time, and then a lot of people contributing. Our Student staff was also big helping us, they were able to get some really cool things when we were busy with practice and other duties.
“We had a local company Elevations Video they have what’s called a MoVI, which is basically a motorized gyro camera stabilizer, Jon Stevenson contacted me after they bought one and wanted to try it out during a game. This was most likely the 1st time a MoVI was used at a college football game. With their contribution were able to get amazing shots with that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
“We had another guy, Ross Stoner, got in touch with us in the spring, he volunteered his time and equipment, and he got a lot of shots from a different perspective. A lot of times we’re focusing on the play only, and he got stuff that was awesome for us to use. His parents live on campus, he grew up here, season ticket holder, it’s always been his dream, he had a great time coming in to help us out, but that shows the diversity in all those that helped us out, we can’t thank all of them enough.
“Sefo (Liufau) was a huge help, he always stopped in saying he wanted to help and how could he help. Paul Vigo was big. I want to mention Chad Brown, he was a huge help and worked with us several times. There are too many people to get everybody.”
“One thing we did, we tried to treat it like a Hollywood-style production throughout the process, but it was in combination with a documentary style. We did all those different things, sound design, color correction, all these other things we’d never done before, it was awesome having people wanting to help, we couldn’t have done it by ourselves.
“In Hollywood, everything is compartmentalized, one person does graphics, one person does color and somebody does audio. We’ve always done it all at once and now we’ve experienced some of those elements, and it’s definitely a much better product because of that, but it took a lot of help.
CUB: What’s Next?
JG: “This is way better than the Boulder Experience, which is a great video and a great accomplishment we had, this is better than that but we can still do more and better. We’ve grown up a lot, we can do a lot of cool things. Delving into the world of 4K is awesome for us, this is just the beginning of that.”
JS: “What I want to be known is that we want this video to be a beginning and not a climax of what we’re doing. We spend a lot of time researching in the off season. There’s a lot of competition in college football, who has the best jersey, best facilities, we’re trying to have the best videos in the nation. I’m ready to make one way better already.”