COLUMBIA—It’s minutes before the Missouri men’s basketball team is scheduled to tip-off against Kansas State. After the Wildcats’ starters have been introduced, the lights in Mizzou Arena are dimmed. A digital clock appears on the arena’s large videoboard, counting down from eight seconds as Clint Mansell’s eerie musical score “Lux Aeterna” is played on the loudspeakers.
As the clock inches toward zero, the image of senior forward Leo Lyons appears on the screen with a scowl on his face and asks the crowd of nearly 15,000, “Are you ready?” He repeats the question and the crowd begins to stir.
A 25-second video highlight package of dunks, no-look passes and 3-point bombs follows until suddenly the screen cuts to the team’s emotional leader, DeMarre Carroll, who lets out a violent scream as his dreadlocks flail from side to side.
Fans scream. Adrenaline flows.
The video is one of three that the athletic department puts out for the men and women’s basketball and football games. Andrew Grinch, MU's director of marketing, said KOMU provides all the footage, animation and editing for the basketball videos, but the players often provide the concept behind each video.
“We like to say it’s the team’s video,” Grinch said. “We help facilitate getting it put together, but for the most part we go to the team.”
Grinch says it varies how much input the teams give him. The first question that is generally asked is whether the players and coaches would prefer more animation or highlights. The music choice is also left up to the players.
“Some sports are more interested than others,” Grinch said. “Some years they might have a real specific idea that they want this, and other years they might say hey we like this song, but other than that you guys can show us something.”
The idea for the popular men’s basketball intro came from a video that the Boston Celtics played throughout its run to the 2008 NBA championship. Boston’s version featured all-star Kevin Garnett, who like Carroll, the star of Missouri's video, has a reputation for displays of emotion.
“It fit pretty well,” Grinch said. “Because of DeMarre’s propensity for doing that if he’s fouled on a layup or makes a good defensive play or a dunk or something, he tends to yell in some fashion like that.”
The videos generally only last about a minute, but the process of putting them together is far from simple. Chazz Maddy is the assistant production manager at KOMU, and with the help of senior video producer Joe Wittman, is in charge of the technical aspects of the video. The men’s basketball intro is the first video he oversaw from start to finish. He estimates that he and Wittman spent up to 24 hours just looking through old game tapes to find highlights for the video.
“If you want to do it right that’s what’s required,” Maddy said. “And we knew that going in. But we have fun with it and we’re glad it’s worked out.”
It might seem farfetched to think that the videos could have an impact on a game’s outcome, but Grinch and Maddy say otherwise. Two years ago a special intro was produced for the Missouri-Kansas men’s basketball game. The video placed an emphasis on the fact that KU had yet to win a game in Mizzou Arena. The fans loved it, but they weren’t the only ones watching.
“I’ve had more than one person tell me Bill Self stopped what they were doing,” Maddy said. “He made his team watch it and then said, ‘They think they’re going to run you over.’ And that kind of got KU going.”
Kansas wonby 18 points and Missouri has since avoided producing videos mocking its opponent. Maddy and Grinch both conceded that the video was a bad idea in hindsight. Now they are more conscious of what their videos can do not only to the home crowd, but the opposing team as well.
Maddy rarely gets to see the fan reaction that his video creates. During most games he’s sitting in the production room at KOMU and only sees his work on a computer monitor. But he has received good feedback.
“I showed it to my wife right after we did it and she said it was the best thing I’d ever produced,” Maddy said. “And then it’s just people who have gone to the games and said you see it there with the lights and the people and it’s just a whole different aspect than when you just watch it here on the computer.”