Two weekends. Two tournaments. Three rounds filmed. Two already published. One yet to come. Graphics work. Scoring work. Copying files from one place to another. Maybe commentary.
To say the least, it’s a lot of work that goes into creating a tournament coverage video. I’m still in the infancy of making them. It takes practice, time on the course during a tournament, the right equipment, a decent computer, video editing software, and of course time. Lots of time.
In the beginning…
I have been looking at some of the more popular disc golf tournament footage channels on Youtube. I wanted to see how they started out. How did things look when they started? Text, graphics, video resolution. All of it has to start somewhere. What am I doing that others have moved past?
I decided to go with Central Coast Disc Golf for this post. Ian first posted disc golf videos way back in 20011. His first videos are of the 2011 Santa Maria Open. Shot with a Canon Rebel digital camera, it’s a good set of videos for the time. As Ian mentions in my last interview with CCDG, it had zoom limitations.
There’s a couple of things that stand out about these early videos. First, is the title text used in them. It’s all just basic text. Ian started with Windows Live Movie Maker, which was very limited in its capabilities. It could make a good simple video, which is what they all are. Second, is that from the very first video, Ian was doing commentary. It was all Ian in the Santa Maria videos. He does have a very smooth voice that is candy to the ears. I know many folks hope he continues doing disc golf videos for a very long time.
Just a few months after the Santa Maria Open videos, Ian got a new camera. He said it was the Panasonic HDC-TM700. According to the details on Amazon, it shoots 1080p60 and has an 18x optical zoom. The first video with some disc golf action in glorious 1080p is what you see below. According to a Wikipedia article about Youtube, 1080p videos were allowed in November of 2009. Videos at the 60fps rate weren’t allowed until October of 2014. So there is quite a time gap between camera capabilities and what we were able to view. Almost 3 years just looking at the CCDG channel videos.
It’s The Little Things….
After getting the new camera, not much changed for quite a while. More of the same simple text titles. 1080p video resolution. Silky commentary. I could first find two-person commentary in the 2012 Coyote Classic MPO videos. This was also when Ian jumped to Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing. A rendering issue on one of the videos necessitated the move to the industry standard for video editing.
More of the same continues in the videos after the Coyote Classic videos. The graphics work improves somewhat, mostly in the area of the images that are used in the videos. Sponsor graphics, hole graphics, and the use of stills from the videos to give you an idea of where the basket is by the use of a highlight arrow.
The next upgrade in the CCDG timeline was the introduction of 1080p60 videos. Like the YouTube history Wikipedia page mentions, it was October of 2014 that 60fps videos were enabled. The first CCDG tournament video at the frame rate was the 2014 Worlds 4th card video featuring Simon Lizotte, Chris Becker, Dana Vicich, and Steve Rico.
There are some graphics upgrade noticeable in the video. Hole graphics during the scorecard segments look to be taken from the caddy book. That’s an easy way to help the viewer know about the hole coming up. Also, there are some lower third graphics that pop up with info to help the viewer know who is throwing.
Going further along in the viewer info line, the 2015 Beaver State Fling videos are the first ones that I find where the hole info is present during the parts where the players are throwing and putting. Also, an OB indicator flares to life in that video as well for those particular shots. They may be present in earlier videos, but they are more noticable to me due to the red text and highlight box around the text.
Let’s Watch Some Disc Golf
When you think of CCDG videos today, there are three things that come to mind. First is the silky tones of Ian’s voice on commentary. Second is the phrase Let’s watch some disc golf. Third, and what has become synonymous with CCDG videos is the intro music. The song is Rocking to Brock by Unique Syntax feat. Atheist. The first use of that song I can find is in the 2015 Masters Cup round 1 video. It’s kind of covered up by Ian doing some voice work, but it’s there.
The first use of the “Let’s Watch Some Disc Golf” phrase was in the first video of 2015 Worlds. Just a short usage of it right at the beginning, and nothing like what we see today. Still, firsts are going to happen, and this is it.
Although it doesn’t say it in the video, looking at later videos, Overstable Studios started doing some work for CCDG with the 2015 Rocky Mountain Disc Golf Championship videos. The intro graphic is really sweet, featuring folding, flipping, rotating text. It’s basically the first gen look of Overstable/CCDG videos. And it only seems to be the CCDG stinger part of the video that comes from Overstable in the first gen.
We finally get to the intro we all have become familiar with, and along with Jomez and The Disc Golf Guy, is one of the most recognizable intro among all disc golf videos. Starting with the 2015 San Fransisco Safari published on Feb. 2, 2016, The CCDG Intro begins.
It’s one of those things that once it’s done, there’s no need to ever change it. Other than some of the sponsor graphics that change from tournament to tournament, it’s an instant classic part of disc golf YouTube videos that will forever be remembered.
The next part of CCDG to get updated came with a total graphics package from Overstable Studios for the 2016 La Mirada Open, the first ever Disc Golf World Tour event. Things have changed up just a little since then, and all of us fans have taken in all of the content from CCDG in the last two years.
Looking back on this media heavy article, I can take a few things away from the evolution of the videos the CCDG has been releasing for the past several years.
To begin with, nailing down the skills needed to film disc golf doesn’t come automatically. The unpredictability of discs when affected by weather and obstacles just makes the job even harder. Unlike other sports, disc golf during play is in a constant state of flux. From my limited experience filming, you can miss things easily. Fast play, a bad tree kick, unexpected wind gusts, white discs on a blue sky, the list goes on. Even with the experience the crew that is CCDG, it can be hard to film disc golf.
Editing takes time. Distractions make it take longer. Having to create graphics adds to it. Putting in the scores can be a pain. From my two interviews with the CCDG crew, I’ve learned that Ian likes to create a clip for each shot he records. That means he stops recording after each shot and starts again before the next one is made. It speeds up his editing process. I like to record a hole from start to finish. These last two tournaments I figured out a better method of looking through an individual hole to make it a quicker edit. To each his own, and I’m sure Ian’s method makes it really quick compared to how I do it.
My boss in my daily job told me once that one person can’t know how to do everything. I’ve taken that to heart because there are lots of things about IT work that I don’t know. Looking back over the history of CCDG videos as I have, it’s plain that they don’t have the skills that Juan of Overstable does. That does not mean that Juan is more skilled in video work, nor does it mean that the CCDG crew did a bad job before Juan brought his skills to the table. Taking the best of both created an awesome product that we know and love today. When you’re doing something because you love to do it, no matter how small or nil the paycheck is, you do your best and learn how to improve when and how you can.
Keep it up Central Coast Disc Golf!