It was just this brain child that we should do this, and do it well—really get at the emotions and energy, get at the story of the game, with multiple cameras to get the floor…
Whether you consider it providence, foreknowledge, or simply an accidental good idea ahead of its time, back in the 2016-17 school year, Dan Vos, HC’s Registrar, had this seemingly crazy idea that he and a few students could live stream HC athletic events. Not only that it might be possible, but also that it might be a good idea for students to learn, and could maybe even be good for the whole community. Dan knew of some old HC iPads mostly collecting dust in storage, and when tinkering around in his off-time, found software to connect them to each other.
And it worked—not too badly for a few old iPads pulled out of dusty closeted retirement. And despite some initial limitations: they couldn’t zoom in to the action, they had to prop iPads on folding chairs, and the internet was often spotty. But some students noticed from the sidelines what Dan was doing, and their interest piqued. Plus a few grandparents noticed they could watch their grandkids’ games while wintered elsewhere…
And then one wintry walk out of a Civic Center basketball game that Dan and his skeleton student crew were experimentally live streaming, back in the old Civic Center still, the parent of a player walked out with Dan and told him how much his parents loved watching their granddaughter’s game streamed online. And then asked Dan what would it take, how much money would he need to do this at a higher level, to do it really well? Dan went home that night, researched, sent him a bare bones equipment list with prices, and the next week found a check arrived in the mail.
“It was this weird idea—just this brain child that we should do this, and do it well—really get at the emotions and energy, get at the story of the game, with multiple cameras to get the floor, get up high, get in close to the action,” Dan said.
Five years and one COVID pandemic later, we’re so grateful for that conversation that turned into HC Live! Because that’s when things really got going, in the fall of 2017, after Dan purchased new equipment that enabled him to use four cameras borrowed from HCHS chapels in combo with new cables, monitors and a switch box with an intercom system, so the camera operators could be warned ahead of time their cameras were about to go live.
“I like to have students run everything,” Dan said. “Graduation [livestream] was all run by students—cameras directing, drone flying, everything! I’m there to oversee, step in if needed, but I prefer students do it all. And it can be quite a commitment,” he agreed. Dan generally starts by showing students how to set up and work a camera, then have them watch directing a few times, and maybe eventually do some crew directing, though not all students choose to direct.
One rare student has “taken the time to learn how everything works, how to put all the pieces together,” Dan said. “To be honest, he’s the linchpin of the whole thing. When he came on the scene, he made everything just work.” That linchpin is Adam Wassink ’22, the curly red haired kid you may have seen behind the cameras at the recent graduation or live streamed sporting events. “Adam is very good at it—he anticipates what’s coming, is very encouraging. One time on the fly he says, ‘Let’s do a coach in a box!’ and he whipped it together in the midst of game directing so you see the action, and [HCHS boys basketball coach] Brad’s reaction to the action—that’s the kind of stuff Adam can pull off.”
“I love doing HC Live!” Adam added. “I love that I get to sit behind what feels like an airplane seat and turn what could be a very boring one camera live stream into a multi-camera stream full of graphics, audio mixing, and replay which really pulls the viewer in.” Plus “I get real life practice video producing and directing which is not easy!” he said.