The Filming of Football

Student film crew records plays for football team


The football film crew team, including (from left to right) senior Nick Andrews, freshman Hunter Petkovich, sophomore Logan Meyer senior Zach Alexander and sophomore Siddharth Prasad, poses for a picture. Photo contributed

Gourav Pany, Staff Writer

In the chaos of a Center Grove football game, a group of teenagers on top of a red tower north of the football field put aside their emotions and turn the camera to the 2-yard line, where the kicker will attempt to net an extra point. They move with a swiftness in a serene environment, detached from the rest of the crowd, but as involved in the game as the players. This is the football film crew, which films games for the football team in order to help them learn and progress through mistakes.

Senior Zach Alexander is part of this film crew. It also includes senior Nick Andrews, sophomore Siddharth Prasad, freshman Hunter Petkovich and sophomore Logan Meyer. They are tasked with not only filming home games, but away games as well, with the help of complicated technology that makes the transition between camera and iPad seamless for the coaches and players alike. However, the crew’s biggest struggle is not the technology at hand, but the process of training and getting incoming film crew members.

“For everyone new that we get, we try to make sure they go to a practice first,” Alexander said. “Having a practice first helps us show how you’re supposed to frame the field and frame the players. You want to go cornerback to cornerback, receiver to receiver. And that should be your frame. Try to be as middle of the frame as possible while filming as well as timing everything. We want to get them to a practice first so it’s not like a ‘hey, this has to be right.’”

While these practices are crucial to training the incoming members of the football film crew, it is important that they can work at a critical time to be prepared for anything that would come their way.

“The setup is [one of] the hardest parts of the games. That’s where we have the most problems; where most of the stuff goes wrong. Teaching them at a home game is a lot easier than taking them with us to the away games and [going through] all the random stuff we go through in an away game,” Alexander said.

Training the newer members includes the tips and tricks to make the crew’s lives easier, as well as general rules to keep the crew on track, so that they can use these newly acquired skills to progress through the games with ease.

“Once you get used to it, it’s not that difficult, but I would definitely say starting out just making sure you have the plays framed right. Because even though I say filming is the hardest part, once you have that down, all you need to do is to make minor adjustments to follow the ball and to track the play as it is unfolding, or to make sure you don’t get in too tight on a certain player because the coach really wants to see the entire play unfold as opposed to where the ball is,” Alexander said. “My rule of thumb for myself is to keep a 3-5 yard circle around where the ball is. Just making sure to do what the coaches want. The easiest way to do it is to follow the numbers, so either the quarterback or the running back if you know it’s a pass play. You follow their numbers because it’s an easy focal point for the camera to pick up, or if you don’t know where it is going, just follow the ball as much as possible. So like on punts and kickoffs, follow the ball through the air to whoever is catching it.”

These details, when worked on with the dedication the crew carries every game, can help the football team prepare for games.

“If [the football team] didn’t have film at all, they would have no way other than the coaches yelling at them in the moment like ‘hey you did this wrong’ to be able to fix it. [With] us actually having film for them, they can actually see what they’re doing wrong. If the coach is saying to a lineman ‘hey, you were supposed to go in this gap of the [offensive line], and you went into this gap’, then the lineman can say ‘okay, I’ll fix it’,” Alexander said. “During the game, you can’t just see it live. The coach can’t just see ‘oh this was a mess up’ until something bad actually happens, like the quarterback getting sacked. During film, they can be like ‘hey, we missed this blocking assignment. What happened? Watch the film!’”

While the football team benefits from the film that the film crew provides, the crew members gain experience in the field of videography and football filming that may help them in the future.

“Football film crew is quite fun because you get to film things for scouts and you get to watch the players,” Prasad said. “Overall it’s a really fun job. I think you can get really good jobs through filming and stuff, and you can get [offers] by colleges to film for them, which may be a potential avenue I can take.”

Although film crew can be an opportunity for future career avenues, one does not need to have a goal in filming in mind to succeed in the film crew’s daily activities.

“Honestly I wanted to be a part of the film crew because I missed being a part of the team,” Alexander said. “I’ve played sports all of my childhood and I can’t anymore because of injuries. After this year, I’m going to the Marine Corps, [which] I’ve wanted to [do] since I was a little kid, and I’m finally able to live out that dream. As far as the future goes, I really do not know how [football film crew] is going to help or if it will at all, but I really enjoy [it].”