One of our current producing projects is FullTimeDEVILS, Fremantle Media Interactive’s YouTube channel for Manchester United fans. Football vlogging is fairly new on YouTube (as indeed is football on YouTube as a whole), but the success of channels such as The Redmen TV and ArsenalFan TV demonstrates that there is a market for fan-centric content, certainly for clubs with large fanbases. The challenge for channels such as this is how to create engaging content without any official assets; if you’re doing things by the book, match footage, Premier League images and even club badges are all off limits. Another hurdle to overcome is the fact that unlike most channels on YouTube, it doesn’t always pay to collaborate with channels in the same area; we’ve worked with both The Redmen TV and Arsenal Fan TV and although it’s interesting to have an opposition fan’s perspective on matters, the simple fact is that a Liverpool fan isn’t going to subscribe to a Manchester United channel. This said, after only 6 months we’re now firmly established within the YouTube/football community, and can claim to be the largest Manchester United fan channel on the platform.
We’ll be writing in more depth about YouTube as the site finds its feet again, but in the meantime don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop us a line if you have any YouTube-related enquiries.
In 2012 we were proud to help launch Copa90, one of the first European funded ‘Original’ channels on YouTube. Produced out of Bigballs Films, Copa is a youth-oriented football channel aiming to celebrate the beautiful game from a fresh angle, featuring entertainment formats, short-form documentaries, gaming strands and more. Working with Bigballs for the first few months of the project, Resolution Square helped run the production team and was central in the development of several early formats. A year on and Copa has established itself as one of the major players within the digital football community and is certainly a channel to watch for the future.
Sports Tonight Live was Kelvin Mackenzie’s foray into digital sports broadcasting. I went intending to freelance as a day producer but on my first day was thrown into the channel manager’s hotseat and asked to launch a new, nightly live broadcast within 3 weeks…with a team of keen graduates I’d never met and a radio presenter who had never worked on camera. A long story, and a real challenge!
I’m one of the team currently producing video content for Texaco Fan Central, where Sky Sports’ Fenners visits Championship clubs and films feature interviews with players and managers. Check out the content here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/TexacoUKFC
In June 2011 I was asked by FATV to be the FA’s official videographer for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. Together with their reporter, I was embedded with Hope Powell’s squad throughout the finals campaign from the squad announcement in London, training camp in Leicester and the tournament itself in Germany. I shot (EX3 and 7D), edited and uploaded daily content from the camp including player personality profiles, training footage, interviews and edits of player video diaries.
These were distributed on FATV/YouTube and several clips were used by the BBC to supplement their tournament coverage.
Upon our return I put together an overview edit of the team’s story:
The work aside, the experience was something I was privileged to be part of. Having worked with professional football for over 10 years I’m very familiar with how the industry works, but spending an extended period of time with a working squad gave me a new insight and understanding of what players go through at a major tournament. I also came away with a huge respect for women’s football and particularly for the commitment and professionalism of Hope Powell’s players and staff, and if things had gone our way in the penalty shootout I think we could have seen them going all the way.
Due to my commitments on GoalMouth and also to the fact that he’s got more staff now, I haven’t done much for Sheephead at FATV recently. In fact those who knew Channelbee will be happy to hear that Joe’s not only got Jon Dyson but also Tony ‘the Hammer’ Watson on board now which is great news as he’s a top bloke who knows his football even if you can’t understand what he’s saying most of the time. So naturally I was happy to get the call to do a day with the team up at Wembley covering for Dyson who was on U21 duty.
FATV seem to be growing as an operation and now have tv giants Endemol behind them so I fully expect them to go from strength to strength; think of the assets they have at their disposal (England players/footage, FA Cup) and the huge fanbase (pretty much anyone who’s interested in football) and you can see I’m hardly going out on a limb there. Joe and his team have the access, they have the creative experience and vitally they have the trust of the hierarchy at the FA and the end result is a great example of what branded content should be; it engages the audience whilst promoting the product. They’re not taking it easy either; on Saturday at various times I think I counted 8 pieces in production. That’s a lesson to any brands seeking to get into video; one glossily produced corporate or brand promo does not a digital audience make, unless you get lucky with one of those elusive ‘virals’. In my humble opinion little and often is the key to building brand awareness and eventually loyalty through video.
8 pieces on the go in one day also meant I was in for a pretty full-on day’s graft. First up was a 3 camera acoustic set and interview featuring Brother, hosted by ESPN’s Richard Lenton. Lighting conditions weren’t ideal and it was a fast turnaround in edit so it’s pretty rough and ready but we prioritised getting the piece out before kickoff rather than making it look and sound prettier:
Channelbee trivia point about Richard Lenton: he appeared as a guest in the original pilot show for the project. Back then he worked at Sky but not on camera, and came to us with a brilliant clip he had of him when he blagged his way onto an African channel as a presenter during the World Cup. During one game his co-presenter was caught short whilst he was on air…cue a lot of jiggling in his seat and an eventual panic dash off camera whilst Richard tried to hold the fort. Wish I could find the clip on YouTube…
Back to Wembley, and Brother duly edited and uploaded, next job was pitchside to pick up whatever I could for a low angle perspective on the game. I may have been 10 feet away from the Swiss keeper but I can tell you, crouched behind the goal isn’t the way to watch football. Stuck without a stool, hunched over a tripod just high enough to peek over the hoarding but low enough not to attract the wrath of the fans in Row A, sweltering under the mid-afternoon sun wrestling with temperamental kit…so I couldn’t tell you how we played but it was certainly a buzz. Then a mad dash into the tunnel for half-time, a desperate swap of cameras and off out onto the pitch with the England Women’s team for their official send off to the World Cup. Back into the tunnel for interviews with some of the Women’s team, back pitchside for midway through the second half, another mad dash upstairs after full time and another hurried edit to get the pitchside cut up on the site for 10pm. Again, priority for the edit was to get it up as soon as possible rather than creating a masterpiece, but I think it’s always interesting to view action from a different angle and here it is:
Today I edited the interviews with the Women’s team so that’s up now:
A pretty full-on day but as I say, I really believe in what FATV are doing and it’s a pleasure to put the hours in with them. Looks like I could be heading out to Germany to be the videographer for the Women’s team at the World Cup which if it happens would be a real honour.
In spring 2011 I series produced and helped shoot ‘GoalMouth’, a 5×21 minute football magazine show for Disney XD presented by Tim Warwood and Adam Gendle.
Disney’s brief was to create a fun show for boys 8-12 which not only featured Premier League names but also helped promote the Premier League Schools Tournament. I was asked by Sassy Films to assist with the initial pitch and development of the format, and then to write/produce the show which was a combination of archive footage, pre-recorded location packages with Premier League footballers
mascots from Premier League and Football League
plus action from the schools tournament and studio gags/links.
Operating with a skeleton team, I was required to take on multiple tasks including writing the script, shooting inserts, researching archive footage and booking Premier League contributors.
Matt Le Tiss is one of my favourite footballers. Pure class on the pitch in his day, now pure gent off it. I had the good fortune to meet him a couple of times back in the Soccer AM days and our paths have now crossed twice more in the past year, first for an 888 video pre-World Cup, and back in February for an FATV shoot. Partly due to his experience on the box and undoubtedly equally because he’s generally a top bloke, you know that when you’ve got a shoot with him, he’ll give you exactly what you need without any fuss.
We were at Warsash Wasps FC, regional winners of the FA Charter Standard Development Club award last year, to help launch this year’s nomination process for the FA Community Awards http://www.thefa.com/yourgame and after a tour of the (very impressive) club he gave me an interview on his early days, influences and memories in football:
While we were there I picked up a few more bits with him including his fantasy 5-a-side team (edited by FATV):
It was the first outing for my new rig including my new Canon 70-200mm F4 IS lens which was pretty essential for the football action, and all in all I was pretty pleased with the result. Part of the problem with filming mostly ‘run and gun’, reality style pieces is that it’s tough to get those perfect shots and there’s always a degree of compromise but I think the key is to have a plan. Yes, 90% of the time that plan will change with the weather, the schedule and usually the talent, but a plan is a good place to start!
I love a good behind the scenes video. Yes I pick up a lot of work making them (really wish I could have done this one) but watching them brings out the geek in me; I really want to know how things are done. So when I saw @cinescopophilia tweet this today I had to check it out…it’s a pretty in-depth overview of how Sky Sports put together a 3D sports OB:
A few points I noted in particular which may or may not be of interest…firstly it’s always music to my ears hearing the great Bruce Hammal on a voiceover. Now that certain people have…ahem…departed Isleworth, there’s certainly an argument to be had that he should be crowned King of Sky Sports for his long and distinguished service. I had already been a fan, having watched TransWorld Sport for years, so when we started using him for voiceovers on Soccer AM it was an honour. Robbie had the good fortune to be producing him on his sessions and I don’t think he ever got used to hearing that voice behind everyday conversation…so you’re thinking “THE TITLE DECIDER….TWO GIANTS GO HEAD TO HEAD…MANCHESTER UNITED VERSUS CHELSEA, LIVE, ON SKY SPORTS 1 AND HD 1″ and you’re getting “Ah, Robbie, feeling a little worse for wear this morning?” There’s a half decent sketch about living with a voiceover guy – this one the equally great Peter Dickson – here actually:
Sorry, I digress. My second point about the 3D video is that an accusation often thrown at technology is that it cuts jobs; 3D has done the opposite. In this case, Sky Sports now have two separate teams broadcasting two different feeds, and completely new roles have even had to be created; it’s someone’s job to calculate the perceived depth on any particular shot, for example. On a slight tangent, the video explains why the shots chosen on the 3D feed are often very different to those on the standard feed…
…which brings me onto my final point. Soccer Am viewers should notice another familiar voice, if not face, from the piece. If you didn’t, go back and listen to it again when they’re at the OB…
The match director wearing the specs is Steve Smith…of Steve and Jonty fame. We’re going back a long, long time, and I only joined the team towards the end of the Steve and Jonty run, but it has gone down as one of the most fondly remembered items. Top blokes who went on to become two of the most senior football producers and directors in Sky Sports. Anyway, if you fancy a dip in nostalgic waters…
The Badgers v Williams F1…I’d forgotten they used Colonel and Ginger as mascots because we weren’t good enough to play for them. Seem to remember having a decent day out though; had a random love note posted on my car (planted I’m sure by someone on the team), met Dean Whitehead who then was just a young pup making his name at the mighty Oxford United, and then, as always with Badgers matches, had a few drinks with the boys. I do seem to remember this one ending very abruptly when a few local lads turned up to cause trouble but that’s another story, mainly because I can’t remember what happened.
I think I started this talking about 3D technology and ended up talking about a ruck in Didcot but that’s my career for you.
Edit: It almost completely slipped my mind to mention Mr Lovejoy’s hair, more accurately Steve and Jonty’s description of it looking ‘like an onion’, and that penalty miss…think it marked the very start of the ‘Lovejoy’ penalty cry we would hear often over the next few years…
I think I’m able to give a bit more information about why things have been a bit quiet from my end recently but I think I still need to be a bit cagey with information so excuse me if this is a little vague!
In the summer I was approached by a production company to help them put together a pilot for a new football show. Naturally it was an honour to be asked in the first place, but also a great opportunity to do some more ‘proper tv’ work which I’ve missed since we finished doing David Beckham’s Soccer USA back in 2007. I love working in digital and the fact that I get to do all manner of different shoots with PR and brands, but it was always my intention to work across all sections of production, whether made for box or laptop. In fact I’m firmly of the belief that nowadays, where your content is played out is much less vital than the content itself, and also that every tv show should now be produced with one eye very much on its digital appeal, but that’s for a longer article to be posted on here in the future. So anyway, whilst I believe I’m in the right place by working in digital, it certainly doesn’t harm to have another tv credit on my cv and this project was too appealing to turn down.
Over the summer and autumn we put together and eventually recorded a pilot for our new show, it ran well with research groups and after consideration by the broadcaster it has been commissioned! I really don’t want to say who it’s for until the broadcaster announces it themselves, but we’ll be producing a short series to air hopefully in May time. I think I can say it’s a football show, it will be fun, and I certainly think there’s a place for it in the schedule. For me, it’s my first series producer credit which is a personal milestone and I think I’ll also be doing some shooting on it as well which is a bonus.
We are hoping to incorporate user generated clips on the show so although you don’t know much about it, if you have anything funny and football related you want us to consider, do get in touch with me either via the site or on Twitter. Obviously the usual rules apply for this content; it has to be your own work, but we can sort out the details if we like the clips. Best at this stage not to send video files themselves, more a description of what you have or a link so we can see it as we are looking for some quite specific content.
As soon as it has formally been announced I’ll tell you about the finer details of the show. It’s not going to be made for everyone, but hopefully the target audience will love it!
As far as my work is concerned, I should be able to juggle working on this and continuing with my digital/brand work so do get in touch if you need any producing/shooting/editing done!