filming NDSU Bison games
Football

How NDSU Programs Success: Checking The Film

Technology has become vital to the success of our society. It’s no different at NDSU Athletics. We travel around the athletic department to the find the coolest and most creative pieces of technology the Bison are using to perform their best on the field.

Photos By Hillary Ehlen

Technology continues to change how we live our life. And when it comes to college athletics, this couldn’t be any more true. Whether it’s from filming games and practices to recruiting, from highlight videos to injury recovery, technology has played a major role in making it all happen more efficiently.

We delve into all of the newest technological improvements in the NDSU athletic department and how it benefits Bison student-athletes.

PART 1: CHECKING THE FILM

Director Of Video

Jake Otten has been the director of video for the NDSU football team since 2014. Otten and his staff of six student assistants are tasked with filming practices and games and distributing the film to coaches and players. Otten is also responsible for film exchange with opponents.

Otten’s dad, John, is the video coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Otten would join his father at training camps when he was 10 years old and help with film. After studying at Cal Poly from 2009-2013 and being the video coordinator there, Otten was hired full time by the Bison.

Jake Otten director of video for the NDSU football team

A full-time director of video is rare in the FCS. Youngstown State and Illinois State are the only other teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with someone in that position. Most video coordinators are graduate assistants.

“I do think that this job is really important for college athletics,” Otten said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to be a part of this team because our administration does such a good job of helping me and getting me what I need.”

Otten’s position has proven to be invaluable for preparation each week for the upcoming opponent.

HOW THEY DO IT

During games, NDSU uses three cameras. One camera is the sideline view called the “All-22.” This means all 22 players are in the frame the whole time. The end zone camera will get the box, focusing on the line of scrimmage.

filming NDSU Bison games

The last camera is focused on the scoreboard. Before each play on film, the down and distance and the time remaining are shown.

DVSPORT

DVSport

NDSU uses a website and server called DVSport to upload its practice and game film for coaches and players to watch. With 25 terabytes of storage, Otten is able to cut up and label each play through the system.

ACCESS TO FILM

In his early years at Cal Poly, Otten was still using tapes, which would take up to two hours to get the film to coaches. Now, technology has helped make film access almost instantaneous. The video crew uses SD cards with each camera having two. Halfway through practice, they will switch out SD cards and bring the first card to Otten. He’ll upload the first half of practice so coaches can watch it right when they get back to the offices. During this time, Otten is uploading the second half of practice. The coaches, who want to dive into the film immediately, don’t have to wait.

DVSport

And for the players, they have access to film 24/7. In Otten’s second and third year in Fargo, he came up with the proposal to buy 80 iPads to distribute to players so they can watch film at home.

“That’s a lot of money and was a stretch to get,” Otten said. “But we ended up finding a way to get all 80. This past summer, we got 25 more so now we have 105 iPads distributed to players. So 105 of our players have access to our films whenever they want.”

NDSU purchased 80 iPads through Otten’s first three years at NDSU to give to players. This summer, they reached 105 iPads and now every player can watch film on their iPad whenever they want.

105 IPADS

NDSU purchased 80 iPads through Otten’s first three years at NDSU to give to players. This summer, they reached 105 iPads and now every player can watch film on their iPad whenever they want.

FILM EXCHANGE WITH OTHER TEAMS

NDSU, like a majority of Division I teams, uses a website called DragonFly to exchange game film. In the MVFC, there is an open agreement to send all film to every team in the conference. The agreement says to have the film uploaded by 10 a.m. the day after the game.

DVSport

It gets trickier come playoff time, where Otten has to make more phone calls. He said they all understand getting 12 games uploaded in one night takes a lot of time, but most teams’ video coordinators are good about it. Playoffs usually mean late nights. Otten has a cot in his office in the upstairs of the Fargodome for those nights when he’s uploading game film until 4 a.m., and has to be up by 6 a.m., to finish it.

DEADLINE
All Missouri Valley Football Conference teams need to upload their game film to DragonFly by 10 a.m. Sunday.

How NDSU Programs Success: Checking The Film
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