Monday, October 20, 2008

Basketball: Maryland Madness 2008

I originally planned to hit part of the men's soccer game on Friday evening but elected to dedicate more time to Madness. We've covered all of the men's soccer games this season and Madness promised to have some unique presentations and displays that I really wanted to capture.

I think I made the correct decision to stay and shoot more of Madness. We were able to publish photos from a whole spectrum of coverage and had I not been there we would've missed those shots. Dave stuck around and wrapped up volleyball before joining me in Comcast Center for most of Madness.

Madness was a tremendous learning experience for me in a lot of respects. I was very comfortable working down on the court having spent so much time in the arena last winter covering men's and women's basketball. But I was not prepared for the rapid pace of the events and how that would effect my ability to get good shots.

Before all basketball (and football) events the marketing and media relations folks at Maryland put together a count-down sheet that outlines whats going to happen and when. It helps them keep the event on track and more importantly keeps the night moving on schedule.

If the events during a basketball game are complex then Madness has got to be considered a grandmaster vs grandmaster chess match. Carrie Blankenship primarily is responsible for keeping things on track and this evening she coordinated a Gary Williams look-a-like contest, women's basketball player intros, women's coaching staff intros, a gymkana performance, a dance team performance, a cheerleaders act, and a show by the competitive cheerleaders. The lady Terps also played a scrimmage, and the men were introduced after entering from the stands. Gary Williams arrived in a Bearcat and spoke, and last but not least the men played a 10 minute scrimmage. This all unfolded in about 3 hours.

I kept a digital copy of the schedule in my iPhone and was able to anticipate what the next event was and that really gave me an advantage. I knew when we were heading into a 70 second media break or when the Terps were going to display a 4 minute promotional video on the women's basketball team. It sounds crazy but those brief little respites of time allowed me to race back to the media room and offload photos. When you're shooting with 3x2GB cards and 1x4GB card you start to run out of room pretty quickly!

All in all I shot about 1700 frames across 9.1GB of media just for madness. I also captured about 512MB of imagery at volleyball that I had to keep on my laptop during Madness. I can't say much about the post-processing because there was so much of it and such a wide variety of shots that I could choose from. But I can say that I learned a lot working on the floor Friday night: be prepared with media, and do your best to get a schedule so that you know what's going to happen and when.

I wrote up a history of Maryland Madness and posted it over on the DC Sports Box. You can also view my photos from the evening at the bottom of the article.


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