Live From Final Four: Villanova Unites Video, Marketing in Digital-Focused Strategy

Wipe Out Productions helps produce Inside Villanova Basketball linear show

A white-hot run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has the Villanova Wildcats back in the Final Four for the first time since 2009. Seven years doesn’t sound like much, but, in the video-filled digital and social-media world we live in today, it’s a whole other universe.

Ryan Christiansen, Video Coordinator for Villanova is on site in Houston at the Final Four creating content for the athletic department's various digital platforms.

Ryan Christiansen, video coordinator for Villanova, is onsite in Houston, creating Final Four content for the athletic department’s various digital platforms.

This weekend, the combined efforts of three individuals are telling the story of Villanova basketball through production and distribution of behind-the-scenes content for a wealth of platforms from Inside Villanova Basketball (a television show that airs on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia) to the athletic department’s website and various social-media channels: including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SnapChat.

Ryan Christiansen, video coordinator, Villanova Athletics, is onsite shooting video of the team both on the court and off, using a Sony NEX-EA50UH camcorder and working with Jacob Witten, coordinator of marketing and events, Villanova, to determine where and when to best distribute content to various platforms.

The duo has developed a strategy for each social-media channel, sending 15-second video clips to Instagram and going a little longer on Facebook and Twitter videos.

“We’ve really started to place a focus on directly embedding the video into Twitter and Facebook, so people don’t have to click links leading them out of our social media platforms to watch the content,” says Christiansen, who also used an iPhone to produce for SnapChat. “Anything longer than two-three minutes we push to YouTube and send them there.”

A piece of content that has resonated with ’Nova fans back home was a video called “Villanova Travels to Houston,” an insider’s look at the team as it boarded the plane and arrived in Houston last week. It included a drone flyover, shots from a GoPro positioned in a crowd of fans, and a time-lapse video to go along with the regular shoulder-mount footage Christiansen was shooting.

“We got a lot of great content out of that,” says Christiansen, who oversees all live event and postproduction video for Wildcats Athletics throughout the year. “It was a little more unique than any of our other videos that we have produced. We had so many different things going on in that video. It was everything you could want in a video all wrapped up in to one.”

Villanova Athletics is also working with Wipe Out Productions, a New Jersey-based independent production company founded by veteran sportscaster Scott Graham. Wipe Out’s Curtis Albucher is shooting and shipping footage to be used for Inside Villanova Basketball. He is also sending a lot of his footage to Christiansen to be repurposed in shorter forms for web and social media. The high-end game footage also helps Christiansen fill out longer feature pieces he will create.

Christiansen is editing on Adobe Premiere and uses Adobe After Effects to produce and render content. To make the operation as efficient as possible, he used Adobe software to create templates of beginning and ending title sequences and lower thirds, enabling him to edit pieces together quickly and get them posted online in a timely manner.

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