We first introduced Ulti.tv as covering last year’s Savage Ultimate Super League. Since then, the company has expanded and provided coverage of top ultimate tournaments all over the world. We checked in with Executive Producer Dan Clenton to learn more about what they’ve got going on for 2013.
1. Tell us a little bit about the company’s development in the past year.
The biggest thing in terms of our development has been our behind the scenes production. The first game we ever did was filmed from on top of a car and took two and a half months to produce. Our polecam has really revolutionized the way we film ultimate. Our custom production software now does everything automatically, so our production time is down to about 12 hours, including 8 hours of upload time!
The crew is still the same. Mike and I are working hard. We’ve had some great volunteers over the past year. Carlos & Shu-hwei from Melbourne have been great. Declan Brady was invaluable and I can’t speak highly enough of Stefan Rappazzo from Queensland. Over the coming year we’re hoping to get a few more volunteers and expand our crew.
2. This year you’re covering the Zone Ultimate Super League. Why the sponsor change?
Last year Savage jumped on board after we asked and they were outstanding. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out the way we hoped on our end and we felt that we couldn’t provide what they really deserve (they were that outstanding). Zone are really big here in Australia and it seemed natural to pair with a brand that is really, really interested and keen to grow the Australian market.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about this league and what makes it so important in Adelaide?
The league started as an effort to increase the level of men’s ultimate in South Australia. Super League is a stepping stone for players looking to get into the local national team, Karma. We’ve got a lot of players that make for some exciting ultimate, like this, or this, or this…
4. How did that first season affect the way you run Ulti.tv?
You have no idea… Through the course of super league the changes we made were crazy. We grew so fast and so effectively. We cut our production time per game from a week to about 2 days in that first season. To give you some perspective, it then took us another 8 months to get that 2 days down to 12 hours.
We use Super League as a testing ground for our experimental technology. We ended up throwing so many ideas and gadgets out… But we also gained a lot. Our current set up was discovered during that first season.
This year we’ve been throwing around a lot of ideas. For example I think one of the next things we were going to attempt is some sort of Challenge System where captains can challenge a call on the field and get a replay. If I had a $1 for every time someone tried to use a photo or asked us for a replay at a tournament, we wouldn’t need any other sources of funding! We ended up shelving it for the moment though. Obviously WFDF has no leeway for new technology in their rules, so we’d be stuck trying this out at a local level (eg. Super League) event.
5. You’ve been to a lot of cool places since then, bringing us lots of coverage from Worlds and Australia. What was your favorite tournament to cover so far?
Have to say Worlds, it was such an amazing tournament. Watching the best in the world play was just an experience.
6. You must hear a lot of feedback travelling so much around the country and the world. What’s the greatest comment about ulti.tv you have ever heard?
There have been a couple of great ones… Every week we get a couple of emails thanking us for what we are doing and asking questions. I really could choose. Pretty much every comment we get is some variation on:
“the footage is awesome”
“the commentary is funny”
“thank you so much for covering my team even though we aren’t elite mens”
7. So lots of sweet tournaments in Australia and Worlds in Japan in 2012. What’s on the docket for 2013?
Well, we’re changing our funding model… So you’d be better off asking the Ultimate community. What events we do and don’t attend will depend on the donations we get. Each tournament will have a price that costs us to cover it. If we get enough money, we go. If we don’t, we stay home. Last year cost us a lot of money so we’re trying to move to a more sustainable model. The market in Australia just isn’t big enough to justify a pay per view model. The advantage of this model is we release all footage for free immediately.
This is our rough plan:
- Sydney – Melbourne Open
- Brisbane Canberra Invitational
- Southern Regionals
- New Zealand Nationals
- Australian Nationals
- World Games
- Manila Spirits
- Australian Mixed Nationals
- South Australian Mixed League Final (which will mark our 2 year anniversary!)
8. We’re looking forward to this year’s coverage of the Super League again. I saw you already posted some discussion of the draft picks, which is cool for us who don’t know the players first hand to get a glimpse into how the teams are created. You’ve also started posting some games on YouTube, but the full coverage will be available in March. What other new features are you bringing this year?
I’d suggest you start watching now! It is a league after all. We’ve got two games every week for 9 weeks…. And we’re already on round 6 (meaning we’ve got 12 full games uploaded)!
We’ve also integrated the Leaguevine stats into the league. So you can see how each of the players are fairing.
We’re hoping to bring in live replays at some point and multiple camera angles is also on the cards as well. Live streaming is something we’re also aiming to do.
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