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How Austin Hansen - Loyola Chicago's One-Man Video Band - Stepped Up During the Ramblers' Improbable Final Four Run

26/04/2018

How Austin Hansen - Loyola Chicago's One-Man Video Band - Stepped Up During the Ramblers' Improbable Final Four Run In his first year at the school, the video-production pro faced a wild March By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 2:55 pm

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It has been a month since Loyola Chicago captivated the sports world with its incredible trip to the Final Four, and Austin Hansen is still glowing (now that he has finally caught up on some sleep, that is). The Ramblers' director of video production hasn't even completed his first year on the job, and he has already experienced a lifetime of memories captured through his camera lens.

Loyola Chicago's Austin Hansen was a one-man band covering the Ramblers' run to the Final Four with outstanding video content.

Telling the story of the men's basketball team's Cinderella run was a unique and captivating challenge for the Iowa native, but he more than delivered on the sport's biggest stage, producing content that took Ramblers fans behind the scenes of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The incredible part of it all? He did it, largely, on his own.

In fact, his role didn't even exist prior to his arrival at the university last June. Unlike his colleagues at, say, Kansas or Michigan, Hansen didn't have a team that he worked with on the Final Four in San Antonio. He did it all: shooting, editing, archiving, posting. The works.

Others who work at mid-major schools can certainly relate. So how in the world did he pull it off?

It's a game-by-game thing, says Hansen. It was such a big deal for us to even win the conference this year. This team hadn't been to the NCAA tournament for 33 years. You can never plan for something like this. Like the team, you take it game by game.

When it comes to producing content during a historic moment like this for his school, Hansen acknowledged that it can be easy to be sucked in to biting off more than you can chew. With limited resources, he says it was important to pick his battles and not to lose focus on what he's done best up to this point.

Always keep in check with your style, says Hansen. It can be tempting as you get deeper in a run like this to want to do something new and big. Stick with your style. Trust yourself. Really create what you think people would want to watch. Make it your own. You know what your fans want. At the end of the day, see what's going to make your content unique.

That was a common trend seen across the other schools [Villanova, Kansas, and Michigan] at the Final Four. With such a massive media presence, there to tell their versions of the most popular storylines, the most important thing an athletic department team can do is leverage its relationships with the team, the access they receive and use that to differentiate themselves through their content.

You don't want to leave anything out or miss anything, he says. But you have to focus yourself. I tried to take five or so things that happened in a given day and crunch it down. What I can produce that ESPN, CBS, or WGN aren't seeing? What can our fans see that's total inside access?

One of his favorite pieces was one where he told the story of the Ramblers' players seeing the Final Four court inside the Alamodome for the first time. It perfectly reflected the type of highly personal content he hoped to create.

It felt like the Hoosiers moment stepping onto a big court, he says. This wasn't any beautiful crazy footage but it was authentic reactions that no one was going to be able to see on the news or during the game broadcast.

His strategy clearly worked as the Ramblers' YouTube channel and athletic department website saw huge spikes in viewership. The team also saw its Twitter followers balloon by 20,000 in a 24-hour time frame after it qualified for the Final Four.

Typically (when the men's basketball team isn't shocking world), Hansen serves as the chief liaison for all of the Ramblers live event productions for ESPN3 and any nationally televised games. The department expects to produce somewhere near 80 live events this academic year. He also oversees all in-venue videoboard entertainment, which this year included a new set of videoboards at the school's basketball and volleyball building, Gentile Arena. He also is responsible for creating all of the video content that appears on the school's various social platforms.

During the NCAA Tournament experience, Hansen shot with a couple of different cameras. He has two Panasonic LUMIX G DMC GH4 cameras that can shoot both in 4K and at up to 96fps (frames-per-second) for slow motion. He also has a shoulder-mount Sony camera that he uses to capture traditional game highlights.

I couldn't have done it without the technology, Hansen says. I don't have cutting edge equipment or anything crazy but its just enough to get the job done. I'm super thankful for that. That made my life really smooth knowing that I could trust my equipment.

Hansen admitted that tackling a project like the Final Four by yourself can be extremely scary and overwhelming. Loyola Chicago now joins the ranks of the George Mason's and the Virginia Commonwealths as mid-majors to go this deep into the tournament. So for the next school that may experience this, Hansen would offer this advice to their video director: have a responsible plan and take your cameras with you literally everywhere you go.

Get as much footage as possible, he advises another video director in his position, I carried my camera absolutely everywhere. Even if I wasn't going to a shoot or an event, I'd bring it. I was getting shots of the Riverwalk, outside the Dome, the exterior of the Alamo. There were Rambler flags hanging outside
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2018/04/26/how-austin-hansen-loyola-chicag...
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