Thomas Johnson’s presentation handout from the 2017 APSE Summer Convention

How to make compelling sports videos

Pick the right topic

  • Before starting, think about the visuals. What kind of b-roll is available?
  • What is the shelf-life of the topic?
  • Try to minimize talking heads on screen.
  • Don’t be scared to experiment and be humorous.
  • Strong personalities and characters are key.
  • Viewers can find highlights anywhere. What can you do to set yourself apart?

Coordinate the coverage

  • Work with print reporters/editor to coordinate interviews.
  • Is the video a complementary element or standalone package?
    • If complementary:
      • It doesn’t have to tell the whole story.
      • Can instead focus on most visual portion of larger story.

Shooting tips

  • Make sure subjects answer questions in complete sentences.
  • Ask them to restate the question in the answer.
  • Use two cameras so there is a wide shot and a tight shot to cut between answers.

Start strong

  • The first few seconds of a video are key. Engagement drops off quickly.
  • Grab the viewer’s attention immediately.
  • Strong, short quotes work well, especially when paired with larger text on screen.
  • Aim for a faster pace, using quick cuts of varied b-roll.

Shorter is (generally) better

  • Good rule of thumb: Aim for two minutes or under.
  • Does it need to be longer?
  • The longer the video, the more varied b-roll is needed.

Social videos

  • Most people watch social videos on phones.
  • On Facebook and Instagram, most videos are muted.
    • Can the video work without sound? It should.

Video Examples

Just like Steph: Fans imitate the MVP’s mouthguard munching at the free throw line:

Dry-erase fun:

GoPro fun:

Shea Patterson helmet cam:

NBA free agency in 90 seconds

The Return: Kevin Durant to OKC (promo)

Beer man dreams of Beltway World Series

Redskins’ Josh Norman returns home to host his fourth ‘Fun Day in the Park’

Posing, dancing and unusual questions: Inside Wizards media day

Amari Cooper’s NFL journey began at The Barnyard

The dynasty begins: Warriors win 2017 NBA Finals:



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