We see a lot of interesting things during football games, we often take pictures of them and share them with our readers both in print and online. But sometimes we forget we shot them in the first place – forever to be lost in a pile is misfit photos in our libraries after a game.
We tag, we star, we rate, we post, we tweet.
But in the mix of all of this, we often forget.
This is one of the best parts about having a dual role in Gainesville.
Monday through Friday I am the visual coordinator and adjunct lecturer at the UF College of Journalism and Communications.
You can usually find me in my office working on projects and meeting with students or in a classroom lecturing about my weekend.
My weekends are often spent on the sidelines and almost always on the road.
It is the most rewarding thing in the world to take what you experience on a Saturday and bring it into a classroom on a Monday.
This gets back to our problem - losing content (photos in this case) during a game and when they are most important to our readers.
We’ve made some amazing advancements in workflow during football games. We can edit thousands of photos in mere minutes at halftime to send out before Coach finished his pep talk to the team.
Heck, I haven’t seen a darkroom since high school. Nor have I ever had to use one professionally.
What used to take hours now takes seconds.
Yet, we still miss the point of all of this technology – storytelling.
And, sometimes, parts of the story need to be told immediately.
This is where technology and storytelling meet at a critical point
Shooting a football game requires an immense amount of skill, focus and sheer effort.
So picking up an iPhone to tweet a photo can be the same moment you miss the most important play of a game.
But, looking back at a game routine, we are often standing around for minutes at a time waiting for a TV timeout, injury or a delay of game – these are critical moments to bring the story to our audience.
Equipped with a Verizon Mifi (allowing me to have a personal wifi hotspot) and a pair of Google Glass, I was able to keep fans up to date this season and offer a unique perspective of how I see a football game.
The Mifi allowed me to take photos of the back of my camera and tweet them out from my phone when there was a spare moment during the game. This proved to be a viral combination after one particular tweet of a sign in the stands saying “We Want Bama LOL JK” was re-tweeted more than 15,000 times. This would not have happened if I waited until after the game.
Google Glass brings its own technological storytelling weapons. First, it can offer a much unseen point of view perspective to what we do on the sidelines.
We even put it on the drum major of the Gator Marching Band to show everyone what it was like to take the field with the Pride of the Sunshine.
It also has the power to take photos, video and share them via Twitter without me having to take my hands off the camera. By gesturing my head I can turn it on, then I can tell it to take a photo or video through voice activation and share it on Twitter with a caption.
This starts to cut down the time it takes to share content and becomes less of a distraction during a game.
While Google Glass is certainly very useful and a cool tool to have on the sidelines, the technology is not perfect. Often I would have to repeat a gesture or say a caption multiple times before it would get it right. You have to remember that we are trying to talk to computers in a stadium with thousands of screaming fans.
While the technology is not perfect, it is moving in a direction that will allow us to share more content, faster and build a place for us to interact during a game.
Just like our writers respond on message boards, twitter and emails during a game, photographers need to join this conversation as well.
I believe tools like Google Glass will help us not only bring you to where the action is in real time, but allow you to interact with the content as well.
In just a few short years of covering Gator sports, we’ve gone from photo galleries, to post-game videos, live tweeting, Google Glass perspective and live photo galleries.
Like all new technology, it is driven by a demand. Sometimes the demand is not even known until it catches on.
As the Gators are resting and rebuilding during the offseason and coaches are drawing up new plays to bring to the field next season, I can assure you there are coders and developers working on new apps to bring you the latest content in exciting new ways.