Saturday 08 May 2021 is set to be the biggest day in the history of South African schoolboy rugby livestreaming as a result of Covid lockdown restrictions. These restrictions limit those present around the rugby fields to 250 will prevent crowds from attending matches. This in turn could translate to in excess of 100 000 supporters nationwide looking to keep up with ongoing at their favourite school via streaming. It’s the sort of demand which will hopefully encourage a few new media production entities to enter the market and prevent any sort of monopoly (or oligopoly) from developing.
While the coaching staff of the various age-groups will be hard at dot the i’s and cross the t’s for conditioning, setpieces and tactics, there is bound to be rustiness as many kids play a competitive match for the first time in over 400 days.
For those schools planning to go it on their own, the challenges to get it right will be no different for the school kids forming the production crews that are set to take on the broadcasting responsibilities. Here one cannot emphasis how important it is to ensure that the youngsters get in as much practice as possible to help them overcome the long absence and in many cases total inexperience of covering an at times very fast moving sport.
Recent evidence from Youtube matches produced by Northwood and Kingswood proved that although the quality was good enough to produce a worthy viewing experience, kids manning the camera/s were caught wanting when the match was spread wider, particularly when it happened quick. The unfortunate part is that the some of the best attacking action and in cases tries can be missed by this inability to follow the ball on time.
Having amateur filmed a few school rugby action sequences in the days when camcorders were still an in-thing, I have an idea that practice does make perfect. You hone your skills and develop a sense of intuition the more time you spend behind a camera lens, allowing you to anticipate and respond on time to sudden changes in the focal point of play.
Providing kids with the opportunity to simulate these faster moving and wider play angles during the week in the lead up to the big games that are bound to attract a lot of interest will enhance the production and result in a vastly improved viewing experience.