Lights, Camera, Action
Jeff Taylor has a background that includes 25 years of record producing and engineering in the music industry, working with such iconic names as Lionel Ritchie, Janet Jackson, Boyz to Men and even the late Michael Jackson.
His former employer, Minneapolis-based Flyte Tyme Productions, had direct corporate ties to the late Prince. From 1988 to 2007, he worked there as a Grammy Award-nominated staffer. Taylor has been involved with world tours, music videos and television shows, too.
Yet, ask him about his work with the Stetson Hatters over the past one-plus years, and Taylor’s eyes really light up.
“We’re looking forward to a big momentum shift,” he says. “Sports are definitely on the rise at Stetson.”
Taylor is director of broadcasting for Stetson University under the name of Stetson Broadcast Productions, where he and his team work in conjunction with ESPN3 and the Atlantic Sun Conference to create, direct, produce and broadcast football, basketball, volleyball and baseball (with additional sports possibly to come).
Can’t make it to a game but want to watch the Hatters in one of those four sports? Taylor’s crew has it. In turn, so does ESPN.
With a trailer full of broadcast equipment, action is shot in real time and streamed to ESPN, where is can be viewed via the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 is a live multiscreen digital network that provides thousands of live events annually, as well as replays of recent ESPN events.
In this environment, his chief elements aren’t sounds of genius from globally renowned music artists. They mostly are Hatter student-athletes who are showcased using equipment like Ross Carbonite switchers, NewTek 3Play instant replay, Ross Xpression graphics, Hitachi cameras, Clear-Com communications, Logic Pro and more.
Taylor is joined by two full-timers, David Maisel and Matt Osbourne, and a football game-day crew of more than dozen, including students and contractors.
During those broadcasts, four high-quality cameras are used, including one with a super-zoom lens on top of Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, along with GoPros. The big cameras, of course, offer replay while a “full ESPN graphics package” is used – “just like what’s used on ESPN broadcasts,” describes Taylor.
Notably, the stadium video board pulls from their game feed, and the plan is to “always have something exciting happening,” he adds. So, fair warning in the stands: Be on the lookout for yourself on big screen or a friend.
“Across the board, we have a very professional setup,” Taylor continues. “Our quality is absolutely ESPN quality. We’re looking as good as anything on ESPN.”
Stetson’s broadcasting capabilities are available across the campus and encompass more than athletics. Taylor is eager to assist all, but adds that sports come first and the schedule is often hectic.
“We literally take our trailer and drive it to the football stadium. Load it up again and take it to the Edmunds Center for a volleyball match,” he says. “Then as football is winding down, volleyball and basketball pick up at the same time. They all overlap.”
No complaints from Taylor, however.
He’s been around the world. Now he’s happy running around Stetson.
“This is the tip of the iceberg for us,” he says. “We’re ramping up!”
By Michael Candelaria
Editor’s note: Students, don’t forget. You can be part of The Hatters’ Coaches Show – 15 minutes of interactive fun about Stetson athletics on YouTube.
The show, broadcast online leading up to each home football game, is modeled after the fast-paced format of ESPN’s popular ESPN’s Sports Nation TV show. A host leads a head coach (Roger Hughes for football) through discussions of past and future games, opponents and previews – all mixed with a little mayhem. The plan is to broadcast shows through the year for various sports.
To participate in the show, tweet with #SBP. Or #stetsonbroadcastproductions for Instagram.