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print-ad-goGamecocksDevin.jpgThis summer's "It's Great to be a Gamecock" series launched recently with a 90-second video that debuted in social media. Throughout the summer fans will continue to see more videos featuring individual student-athletes as well as two different series of photos. The first photo released was of Marcus Lattimore, while an image featuring Devin Taylor (left) was posted earlier this week. With the excitement leading up to football season, we wanted to take a look inside the creative process that went into creating the campaign.

When thinking of key messages about the 2012 football season a few things in particular stood out to the creative team: the historic 2011 season, ("what happens after history?"); being driven to continually improve both the football program and our facilities ("We can either admire what we've done; or we can keep pushing, keep building, keep demanding more."); two new fan amenities in the new parking area at the former Farmer's Market and the new video board ("And we're changing our landscape, too."); several stand out student-athletes; and that fans and the home stadium environment have a big effect on the game ("We're all difference makers. All of us make the moment.") These ideas led to a central theme of "Experience it for the first time...again."   Fans can enter to win prizes by telling us about their first game at GamecocksOnline.com/Football2012.
 
"We believe that coming to a Carolina football game this year will be so different that it will be like the first game you ever attended in Williams-Brice Stadium," said Eric Nichols, Assistant Athletics Director/Marketing. "The line is also a nod to Coach Spurrier and the list of `firsts' he has accomplished since he has been head coach at South Carolina."

Several different creative elements had to be compiled to come up with a full campaign that would live on multiple platforms: television, print and online video and photos. The creative team wanted all the elements to still have a similar look and feel. Multiple photo shoots were the first step in the process early on in the spring. Fans first saw James Quantz's football images on the 2012 poster which shares similarities with one of the photo series that will be released later this month. Read more about Quantz's photography work with the Gamecocks here.

With the photo elements in place, the script and video were the next pieces. The series needed a script that could communicate all the different key messages, but also be equally effective in a video as in print.

"In our brainstorming session, we kept going back to how 'the game has changed' for Carolina football.  The expectations for the team have changed.  The experience of going to a game at Williams-Brice Stadium has changed. We wanted a script that tied those elements together," explained Andy Demetra, Gamecock IMG Sports Network radio broadcaster and author of the script.

"Once James [Quantz] and Justin [Stoll, Assistant Director of Gamecock Productions] laid out the artistic direction, I started to bang out a script.  I'm a pretty avid runner - 6-7 miles a day - so I used that time to let my creative juices flow."

Demetra's script contains several phrases that immediately resonated with fans. We asked fans on Facebook for their favorite lines and the leader so far has been, "Turning 'Wait til next year' from a consolation - into a threat." which was also Demetra's personal favorite. Other highlights fans mentioned were "This is about creating a legacy. Not living off one." and "Earning titles, not acting entitled."

While Demetra worked on the script, Stoll and the Gamecock Productions crew went to work with individual video shoots for the student-athletes. The video shots were formulated around the look of Quantz's photos, such as the close-up shots of the players' faces that have a similar feel to the black and white still images as in the Marcus Lattimore example below.

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Screen grab of Marcus Lattimore from the final video (left) compared to the similar look and feel of a print version (right).


"For all the players we just wanted to get them in their element, get them working out," said Stoll. "Marcus was a key component to the entire video - to get his rehabilitation on camera and be able to shoot during an actual rehab session was very real. When he was trying to press the weight, grunting or making faces that was him doing his actual rehab work on his knee."

With so much movement in some of the shots, Stoll and Gamecock Productions Director Paul Danna had to use multiple cameras during each shoot to capture what they needed and a dolly rig set-up with one of the cameras to help it slide smoothly from side to side or closer into the subject of the shot. The gliding movement helps give the video a smoother, more professional look.
 
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Connor Shaw's video shoot (top) with a resulting screen grab from the video (bottom).


One key element of the video was revealing the visualization of the new video board. By zooming out from the shot and revealing the board, the goal was to create the effect that the viewer had been watching the entire video on the new screen. During the editing process, Productions sifted through about three hours of footage from the student-athletes' video shoots plus picking out clips from game footage to piece together the final edits. They also shot a time lapse of the removal of the old scoreboard at Williams-Brice to include with the video.




The countdown is on until the start of football season... It's Great to be a Gamecock! 2012 season tickets are available now. Check out GamecocksOnline.com/Football2012 for more information.


Check out more behind-the-scenes photos from some of the video shoots below: