Video production team create fan-free home environment

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers 42-35 in a hard-fought victory until the last possession.


What do you want to know

  • Ohio State Athletics announced earlier this week that players’ families would not be allowed inside Ohio Stadium for the game against Indiana
  • With no fans in the stands, it meant the video production team had to work even harder to create a home gaming environment.
  • The video production was tasked with pumping out crowd noise, signaling the band, and running trending videos on the dashboard
  • The team typically employs around 75 students, but due to budget cuts, was unable to hire any students this year.

In a year full of changes, Buckeyes parents had to adjust this week after finding out they couldn’t attend the game this weekend, and no fans meant the video services team had to step up his game to create a family environment for the team.

It was a strange Saturday at Ohio Stadium. A top 10 match with zero fans in the stands, not even the players’ families.

“Inside the stadium, we were so separated that I felt very safe because there was hardly anyone there,” said Amanda Babb, Kamryn Babb’s mother-in-law.

Those families were invited to watch the game from their homes this week, a sacrifice Babb says was well worth it.

“We were extremely disappointed,” she said. “Most, all of the parents have kind of made this pact that we’re not going to see any of our kids except in the stands. And so that’s really the only time we can see them is at the end. football game, they turn around and give us a big wave.

But now, with no one cheering on the Buckeyes in person, it means even more work for the video services team who are now tasked with pumping out crowd noise and playing video on the scoreboard to energize the team.

“These are things that we don’t worry about or think about,” said Russ Hoeflich, director of video services for OSU Athletics. “The fan noise, the band, a lot of those things are just things that happen naturally in a game. And so going into the year knowing we won’t have the band, we won’t go to the cheerleaders. We’re not going to have a lot of fans in the stands, we had to find ways as a department to recreate that.

Hoeflich has been part of the Video Services team for almost 20 years. He said they typically employ 75 students to help create content and run production, but this year is anything but typical.

“Our budget didn’t allow for students,” he said. “So what we’ve usually taught students how to make things work, we’re now making things work on our own.”

So now the small team is working really hard to make sure everything is T-planned.

Timing the songs, preparing the group and learning as you go to make it the best possible experience for the team.

“It’s been a learning curve,” Hoeflich said. “And the first game, there were holes. We learned a lot in the first game of the season. Like, ah, that’s normally when the crowd would react.

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