BT Sport is running a successful initiative with the Vanarama National League whereby it is offering students across England the opportunity to film and create highlights packages of all clubs in the leagueâ€™s top division for broadcast on the networkâ€™s The National League Highlights Show.
The scheme is the first of its kind and provides the students involved with a great foundation on which to build a career in film, production and media.
All season, BT Sport have been providing students from each Vanarama National League club with professional filming equipment, editing software and professional support. BT Sportâ€™s producers and technical support staff offer first class advice and guidance on all elements of filming and production all season long.
BT Sport on Thursday welcomed more than 40 students from around the country to its Stratford Olympic Park studio, for an event celebrating the broadcasterâ€™s educational partnership initiative with the Vanarama National League. The event â€“ which was hosted on Thursday by BT Sportâ€™s Vanarama National League presenter, Mark Clemmit â€“ gave students a unique opportunity to see how a broadcast studio functions during a busy night of UEFA Europa League programming.
There were 41 students in attendance at the studio from 15 clubs including; Aldershot Town, Barrow, Cheltenham, Chester , Dover Athletic, Eastleigh, Forest Green Rovers, Halifax Town, Grimsby, Guiseley, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City, Macclesfield Town, Torquay United, Tranmere and Woking.
The students were treated to a Q&A with some of BT Sportâ€™s most high profile pundits, including two time UEFA Champions League winner, Steve McManaman and former England and Liverpool goalkeeper, David James. The students were also provided fascinating insight into the requirements and responsibilities of being on screen, by BT Sport presenter Matt Smith. The students watched on as BT Sportâ€™s presenting line-up went live on air ahead of crucial UEFA Europa League games - Liverpool vs Augsburg, Manchester United vs FC Midtylland and Tottenham vs Fiorentina.
Matt Smith, David James, Steve McManaman and Mark Clemmit
The students met with Head of BT Sport, Simon Green, and Tony Kleanthous, Chairman of National League Broadcasting.
Tony Kleanthous, Chairman of National League broadcasting said: â€œWe could not have asked for a better partner in BT Sport, they have embraced the National League with so much enthusiasm and it is refreshing to see people taking a real interest in the league. Not only do they show the regular highlights but they provided training for the kids and even the equipment they need to do such a great job. The kids are fantastic and it's nice to work with such a passionate team of people. They can be proud of what they are doing for themselves and the league.â€�
Head of BT Sport, Simon Green, said: â€œToday is a culmination of all of the hard work that we have put in to this initiative and demonstrated the enthusiasm, eagerness and willingness that the students have shown to this concept. It has been a vindication to the results and how far these students have come since we started and we are so proud of what we have been able to achieve.â€�
Mark Clemmit said: â€œIt has completely exceeded my expectations. Weâ€™ve invested and recruited in these students who have gone out there, learned the trade and produced the material to the extent they have â€“ I think itâ€™s been absolutely fantastic. Iâ€™m actually very proud of it.â€�
An insight into the partnership with BT Sport, WFC TV and Woking College from Woking FC's Michael Phillips:
IN THE GANTRY
WITH MICHAEL PHILLIPS
The Cards have scored 38 goals at the Laithwaite Community Stadium this season (or 49 if you include a solitary goal in pre-season and the 10-0 victory over Sutton Common Rovers in the Surrey Senior Cup) and they have all been filmed, edited and uploaded for your viewing on Woking FCâ€™s official website and YouTube channel, Woking FC TV.
Full match highlights are edited for every home match and there is normally an interview with Garry Hill or Steve Thompson online the same evening of the match. Woking FC TV now has over 850 subscribers and isnâ€™t too far from 1 million views (currently around 960,000).
There has been a huge change to filming matches this season as BT Sport are working with National League club volunteers and local college students to film all league matches to get edited highlights which are then broadcast on the National League Highlights Show, hosted by my Dadâ€™s favourite TV presenter and non-League expert, Mark Clemmit. In July, Nick Shaw and I represented Woking at a training course at Barnet FC and BT Sportâ€™s headquarters in Stratford to get up to speed with the new camera and editing software.
The two days included filming Barnet v Peterborough at The Hive and an impressive tour of the BT Sport studios.
Editing for BT Sport after a match has increased the workload Nick and I have on a matchday considerably. Post-match, we now have to burn the full match to DVDs, upload footage to the FA, film John Mooreâ€™s interview with Garry Hill (or Steve Thompson), edit key match points and upload these and interviews to BT Sport. This is usually all done within an hour or so of the final whistle at a frantic pace by the two of us.
Over the rest of the weekend, we still manage to find the time to produce full highlights for Woking FC TV. I do the editing and Nick tries to make all my footage look more professional by sending me some fancy graphics to include.
It didnâ€™t used to quite be like this. I started filming for the club in 2009, working with a fairly basic camcorder and tripod combination, and certainly didnâ€™t need to produce DVDs after the match let alone edit and send anything to BT Sport.
I used to make quite a number of the away fixtures in Conference South and have filmed matches from ground level at Wells City and Bishopâ€™s Cleeve to the back of stands at Swindon and Brighton. Iâ€™ve filmed from some rather interesting spots too, many of which have involved climbing some rather high and/or unstable ladders, particularly at Tonbridge, AFC Wimbledon and Farnborough (the latter done while recovering from an ACL injury!)
Filming on top of a roof at Maidenhead in 2012
Perhaps the weirdest place Iâ€™ve filmed a match was on the roof of the Maidenhead dressing rooms the day we clinched the Conference South title. I havenâ€™t been able to make as many away trips in the National League, due to work and longer journey times, so the last few seasons Iâ€™ve mainly been confined to the, thankfully, stair-accessible gantry at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
With all extra work involved in filming this season the Club has enlisted the help of two students from Woking College (Jordan Hookins and Lucy Longley) who have been invaluable in helping with everything post-match so itâ€™s slightly less hectic.
Lucy Longley & Jordan Hookins
They have even allowed me to watch a match as a fan a couple of times this season without having to worry about catching everything on camera and holding back from celebrating Woking goals.
Itâ€™s quite a weird feeling to be able to do that again after so long! With the three of us and two cameras at our disposal, we now film from two camera angles (one from the gantry and the other from the top of the Leslie Gosden Stand) which are both incorporated into the highlights for Woking FC TV.
On Thursday the students got their chance to tour the BT Sport studios in Stratford and attend a Q&A with Europa League pundits in the studio that day, hosted by Mark Clemmit (my Dad is very jealous!)
I hope if you have seen highlights on Woking FC TV over the years you have enjoyed watching them as much as I have enjoyed editing them. If you havenâ€™t then I hope you will be encouraged to check out the work we do.
The National League Highlights show is on this Sunday at 10pm on BT Sport 2, but with the Cards in FA Trophy action they'll next be shown on the Highlights Show on Sunday 6th March. Full match highlights of every home match can be found on WFC TV