CFP National Championship 2021: Crimson Tide Productions Link Contemporary Success to Storied Legacy
In another noteworthy season, digital platforms shine a light on its tradition of excellence
Over the last 15 years, the University of Alabama have a stronghold on postseason play. Whether it’s the former Bowl Championship Series (BCS) or the present-day College Football Playoff (CFP), the Crimson Tide have made seven appearances in the National Championship and have lifted the trophy five times. There has been an individual at the head of Crimson Tide Production throughout all of the team’s accomplishments, and that’s Associate Athletics Director Justin Brant, who arrived shortly after the university’s first BCS victory in 2009.
“This will be the seventh time that I’ve been to a National Championship,” he says. “I’d love to say it gets old, but it doesn’t ever get old.”
The winning ways of Alabama is omnipresent and set-in stone around campus and within Bryant-Denny Stadium. This year, more feathers have been added to its cap with wide receiver Devonta Smith’s winning of the Heisman Trophy and another trip to the title game. With these current accolade, the program’s digital channels have perfectly blended creative highlights of this season and nods to the past.
The Link: Alumni in the NFL Create Synergy Between Past and Present
With the meteoric rise of Alabama football, the university has become a consistent system of talent that excel at the next level. With household names like running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins, and many more, the pipeline is pretty deep. For instance, if a graduate of the program makes a stellar play on Sundays, Crimson Tide Productions is sure to give them props and show their approval:
TO THE HOUSE 🙌🙌🙌🙌 @jerryjeudy
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 4, 2021
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman back in 2009 during his time in Tuscaloosa, recorded a message for Smith after his historic night:
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 6, 2021
“We have a lot of players in the NFL, so there has been a lot of content related to that,” says Brant. “We’ve had a lot of things to create.”
Cinematic Shooting: Season Stories Provides a Serialized View of the Journey
Anchored by Assistant Director of Video Production Steve Jenkins and Director of Football Graphics Jonathan King, the duo helped Crimson Tide Productions create a refreshed look to their postgame recaps. Instead of straight forward stats and highlights taken from the linear broadcast, Season Stories became a long-form series that tells the narrative of each game in a captivating and creative way:
“They did most of this series for our group and worked really hard on to develop that cinematic style,” says Brant. “Steven worked with the Washington Football Team, who shot a lot of cinematic video, so he brought some of that knowledge to us and was really instrumental.”
Short-Form Content: Graphics, Quick Clips Capture Monumental Moments of 2020
Throughout the season, still images have played a huge role in the team’s social efforts. While these projects are aimed toward recruiting the best high school players in the nation, these images also create engagement with their widespread fanbase. These projects are a result of working in close contact with the program’s photographers and the creative ideas conceived by King.
“We worked so closely with the photography group because we use a lot of their photos for all the graphics that we put out,” says Brant. “We’ve really been one group working together.”
For example, the team developed simple and clean graphics like the one celebrating Smith’s Heisman win as well as more complex designs announcing the team’s arrival in Miami for the title game:
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“We’ve honestly done a lot of things to keep our fans engaged,” admits Brant. “A ton of players won awards, so there’s certainly been a lot of buzz around that.”
Along with longer videos, quick clips of game-changing plays has been another visual strategy. It’s used to summarize the game in a digestible way and fires up the guys on the team:
My. Ball. @Charris_36.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 7, 2021
The Gatekeeper of History: Crimson Tide Productions Aim to Tell Engaging Tales
Now, in the picturesque environment of Miami, Bama will face a formidable Ohio State squad. Typically equipped with Sony PXW-FS7s, other Sony cameras, and Canon cine lenses, the crew will have even larger Canon lenses and ARRI Amira cameras to continue the trend of cinematic video. Regardless of the outcome, Crimson Tide Productions will offer stunning visuals of the action and a cohesive story of the game for fans back home.
“We just try to document what happens,” concludes Brant. “The players and coaches make a lot easier for us to tell a story, but our role is to make them look as good as they possibly can.”