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Clemson's Digital Video Team Remains at the Top of Its Game During Yet Another CFP Championship Game Run

17/01/2020

Clemson's Digital Video Team Remains at the Top of Its Game During Yet Another CFP Championship Game Run New staffers, new gear, new platforms, same mission in Clemson's visual storytelling quest By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital

Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:54 pm

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Every successful culture has a simple, but deeply engrained mission. The wildly successful digital media team at Clemson Athletics is no different.

With appearances in four championship games (and five semifinals) in the six-year history of the College Football Playoff, it would be easy for this group to allow themselves to grow stale. Instead, they remain the standard-bearers of video success in a social media age.

Clemson brought a team of 11 staff and students to produce digital and social content at the CFP National Championship Game in New Orleans. Top (left to right): Jonathan Gantt, David Platt, Dawson Powers, Carly Gough, Jack Birchfield, and Whitley Ruffin. Bottom (left to right): Madison Williams, Tyson Hutchins, Taryn Carroll, Alex Mueller, and Nik Conklin.

New students, new host cities, and new opponents always help bring a level of freshness to the football proceedings, but Clemson's digital video and design team have continually found success as the pioneers of social video by staying true to one North Star.

The main principles have always been to answer the question what it's like to be a Clemson Tiger?' says Jonathan Gantt, associate athletics director of creative solutions for Clemson. To focus on content that helps recruit student athletes to Clemson. That remains the same. How we package it is always different.

Changes In Personnel and Gear Through the Years

Since the team's 2014 appearance in the Orange Bowl where it topped Ohio State and Gantt was largely running around the stadium producing content by himself - it's been a steady and spectacular climb to the top for the Tigers digital media team, accompanied by important hires, and expanded student staff, and an investment in the tools to make all of the talent sing.

While we joke that these media wizards in orange are here every year, the truth of the matter is that there is a healthy turnover in staff year in and year out, whether it's in the form of full time staff or, especially, students. So how does Gantt keep his group prepared to deliver the high quality work that's expected from it at an even like the CFP? Consistency.

We're trying to put our best foot forward from Game One, says Gantt, who has been with Clemson since 2013. I had a lot of the new employees come up to me leading up to this and ask, okay, so what do we do that's different? I say, nothing. You keep doing the same thing that you've been doing for 20 weeks now. It's a nice thing to be able to rely on it for those people who are nervous or maybe a little bit anxious about going through something for the first time and feeling like they don't know what to do. No, you've been doing it week in and week out and the only way we can mess up is if we don't execute the same way that we have been. So there's a lot more people around, there's a lot more people paying attention, but ultimately the content plan and the way that we execute is exactly the same as it has been from Week One.

Want to know what makes Clemson special?

Watch

: https://t.co/CUnsUJvpgS

: https://t.co/Zz6DKZp3ol

: https://t.co/rwlAWtbxtQ

Because at Clemson, it s different.#ALLIN pic.twitter.com/pYwMBIfADA

Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) January 8, 2020

This year's group is again a loaded one, with Tyson Hutchins, a super-talented content creator that the Tigers recently added to the staff after a successful run at Brigham Young University's athletics department. Clemson's semifinal appearance in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl was his first day on the job.

For me, Clemson was always the gold standard of social for the way it was shot, the way it was executed, the way it was produced and published, says Hutchins. Now to have had that background and that affinity for the way things had been done and following that process, it's I frankly have to pinch myself sometimes. Now I am part of this machine that has been such an example for everyone in the industry. I feel extremely fortunate, to say the least.

Hutchins is taking over the role of Senior Director of Creative Solutions from Nik Conklin, who worked his final event with the Tigers at this CFP National Championship Game. At Clemson since 2014, Conklin played a transformational work that strongly steered the modern era of social video not just at Clemson, but industry wide.

Specializing in video at this CFP, Conklin and Hutchins were joined by Associate Director of Creative Solutions Carly Gough and student videographers Jack Birchfield and Alex Mueller. The remainder of the creative team is filled out by designers, publishers, and photographers. That included Taryn Carroll and Whitley Ruffin (who are both Associate Directors of Creative Solutions), Coordinator of Creative Media Madison Williams, and photographers David Platt and Dawson Powers.

In terms of video gear, the squad was shooting primarily with devices from Sony and Canon. There's a Sony PXW-FS7, a Sony A7S III, and a Canon EOS C300, all paired with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lenses. The crew was also outfitted with a number of Canon EOS 5D Mark IVs combined with a mix of 50mm prime and 24-70mm zoom lenses.

The blend is really a result of Clemson's digital media continuing to more deeply integrate with its linear video department colleagues that are working in their first year of the ESPN-supported ACC Network. Gantt says that
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2020/01/17/clemsons-digital-video-team-rem...
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