BYUtv Sports Goes Behind the Scenes With Inside BYU Football
An all-access show surrounding the Brigham Young Football program had been the goal of Mikel Minor since he arrived on the Provo, UT, campus five years ago. And he finally had a real shot.
Minor, who is senior coordinating producer for BYUtv Sports, a division of nationally broadcast BYUtv, received a call out of the blue this summer to set up a meeting with head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Minor’s requests had finally caught the coach’s attention. Now he just needed to sell him on it.
“I showed him what other schools, including a lot of other schools he was going to be playing this season, were doing as far as all-access,” says Minor, who came to BYU following a career at ESPN that included overseeing the production of SportsCenter. “Admittedly, my goal going in was to get them to let me do training camp as a compromise. By the time we were through with the meeting, he said he was in: let’s do this all the way through the season.”
From that meeting was born Inside BYU Football, a 15-episode series that will chronicle the entire BYU football season from the inside.
“I give Bronco a lot of credit for having the foresight to see the opportunity to do this and the benefits that will be a payoff to recruiting and the national fan base that’s eating this up,” says Minor. “We have the technology to put fans on the field in our live event coverage, into the helmets of these guys almost, with these long lenses and the great audio that we have. But what we haven’t been able to do is take our fans behind the scenes. That’s what the fans want.”
Like many inside-access shows, the series is a production and logistical challenge. Members of the BYUtv Sports team are essentially working on an episode of the series at any given point throughout the week. A team of three camera operators, using Sony PMW-EX3 cameras, are embedded with the team virtually all of the time.
Sit-down interviews are done with players and coaches during the week leading up to a game, before the production schedule hits high gear over the weekend at and following a Cougars game. On Sunday morning after a game, Minor and other members of his team put together a rough cut of the show using three Adobe Premier editing stations.
Throughout the day Monday, that rough cut goes through the required approval checks (from the head coach, the football operations manager, and compliance) to make sure all are happy with the product. Minor receives notes by Monday night, and tweaks and any required adjustments are made via BYUtv Avid. The show is processed through Pro Tools for audio and color corrections, getting the final product in to BYUtv master control by 3 p.m. PT for its first airing at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The show has a gritty, rough-and-tumble feel to it, which fits Minor’s vision of an all-access show: the real world of college football is not clean and polished, so why would a show about the life of it be?
“Let’s not be so hung up on making sure every shot is on sticks,” says Minor. “If we get a camera bobble here and there, it’s not the end of the world because it’s going to feel more realistic. In a locker room, you’re going to get jostled around a little bit. When we can, sure, let’s make sure we light it really well and sit-down interviews are in a controlled environment. But I wanted it to have kind of a wild feel to it so it is immersing the fans in the world of BYU football.”
Inside BYU Football airs Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. ET, with episodes also available for viewing at byutv.org.