No fans are currently allowed at school sports events but the Marysville School District is hoping a new broadcasting program will help community members watch the games and support the teams.
Adam Edinger, a middle school video production teacher as well as athletic director at Totem Middle School, is helping lead the program.
“My athletic director came in and saw my studio and said ‘wow, that’s cool, can you do that with us,”' he said.
The Marysville Student Broadcasting Network allows students from all parts of the district to come help broadcast games on the district’s Facebook page at facebook.com/MarysvilleSD.
Currently they hope to film all varsity games, or as many as possible, said Edinger.
“It’s really about getting our kids’ faces out there in the community and allowing them to be seen,” said Edinger.
“If the families can’t come to the games, we have got to find some way to show them their kids playing,” said student Collin Williams who is participating in the program.
The district hoped to broadcast the games once Wesco, the school athletic conference for the district, decided no fans were going to be let in late last year.
“We wanted to make an effort to give the parents and fans as much as we can and to give the students a chance to learn this. It’s an actual job profession and they’re learning actual job skills,” said Edinger.
In addition to teaching, Edinger is a videographer who works at Angel of the Winds Arena and as a camera operator for the Everett AquaSox.
Students were excited to gain real-life experience with video work.
“I’ve been getting into editing recently and my dad saw this e-mail about this new program and I thought it would be great,” said Williams.
“I’ve been doing video for a couple of years and slowly getting myself used to a camera,” said Owen Duddler, a student who's participating in the program.
Participants in the program are working with iPads and other filming equipment.
“Cameras on iPads, cameras on cell phones, are almost to the quality of professional equipment at this point,” said Edinger.
“We had a little bit of a COVID issue because we were hoping to get SlingStudio [live stream equipment that connects cameras to the internet],” he said, however that shipment is held up in China. They hope they can still receive that equipment before the end of the school year.
The broadcast program is also planning on using multiple cameras at a game, so students are setting up from multiple angles for the videos.
“We like to go with the one game camera and we want to have a hero-cam, a close-up cam,” said Edinger.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has had a broadcast unit in the past, but they only filmed about one game a week, usually the Friday night football or basketball game, said Edinger.
The program has had to wind up in a short amount of time to broadcast the first games on March 3.
“We’ve been doing a couple of training sessions with Edinger,” said Dudder. “It’s a little stressful because it’s starting up so quick and we haven’t got a crazy amount of training."
Edinger agreed it was stressful because of how much some parents will rely on the streams.
“If the stream doesn’t go well, than that’s a bunch of parents that are not able to see it,” he said.
The start was “a little choppy” and Edinger said they’re relying on the school’s outside Wi-Fi to transmit the film to the internet.
“It seems to work alright but it doesn’t seem to stay up, so that’s just the main issue,” he said.
The program is working out the bugs on how best to keep streams up and reliable right now.
The broadcast network is attempting to broadcast the district’s varsity games and may start doing JV and C squad games if they can.
“We’re hoping to get as many as possible,” said Edinger.
If successful, this could be a long-term program for the district.
“Everyone is so excited about this program that we’re hoping to extend it past this year to give students an opportunity to do this,” said Edinger. “The high school teachers talk about this potentially being a club, and if we get to that point we could even film musicals and different events like that."