After working together all season to put on broadcasts from the Teague Center, ACUTV, a student-employed broadcast studio with a staff of 50 students across all majors, and the Department of Athletics teamed up to host ACU’s March Madness watch party.
But this was not the first event that both parties had to cover on March 20.
Earlier that afternoon, ACUTV broadcast the season’s final home volleyball game from the Teague Center on ESPN+. With most of their equipment in Teague, ACUTV had to move everything to Wildcat Stadium, set up all their cameras and test everything to make sure things would work correctly, all in a matter of hours.
“We shot the volleyball game,” said Hutton Harris, video production manager and director of ACUTV, “then we moved all our cameras to the football field. We got there around 3:30, and then we started to set up cameras the way we wanted them. Saturday’s preparations were a little crazy, but it’s nothing we haven’t done before.”
After getting only a couple of hours of rest, Harris and his student staff met, ate dinner and talked about their goals and what they needed to accomplish at the watch party.
“One goal that we had was for the students to enjoy this since this was a celebration of Abilene Christian,” Harris said. “Yes, we may have wanted to get great shots for the archives, but I also wanted all the students and my staff to have fun and gain experience. But the main goal was for students to enjoy themselves but also be able to archive exciting shots for generations to come.”
Caleb Hemsworth had worked at ACUTV since 2020 but said this was his first opportunity to work on a field camera during a large event.
“I have never worked something of this scale before,” said Hemsworth, a sophomore information systems major from Colleyville, “so I was a little bit nervous but excited at the same time. It was amazing to be close to the students and being able to capture their excitement.”
Throughout the game, ACUTV was responsible for capturing and filming an assortment of content. Along with filming student reactions throughout the game, they were in charge of filming competitions during media timeouts.
But most importantly, they were able to record reactions to the game’s final moments.
“As someone who has grown up with ACU, I never thought I would see my school in March Madness,” said Harris. “One thing that I said a lot during the game was that we won’t ever be this close to making the second round. As a staff, we have watched the team this whole year, now the whole world was watching them, which was exciting. Then Joe Pleasant made those free-throws and changed ACU forever.”
Once the watch party and celebrations ended, ACUTV had a lot to finish that night. They needed to tear down or cover their equipment, export footage they gathered that night to send it to multiple people asking for it and created videos highlighting the event themselves. This kept some of the crew up late hours that night and Harris up until about 6:30 a.m. that morning.
Hemsworth had no regrets working the game and would do it again in a heartbeat.
“It was great to be there, though it was tough to focus, we were able to accomplish so much,” Hemsworth said. “I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat.”
Because this was one of the last major events ACUTV had to cover for the 2020-21 school, Harris said working this watch party was important to staff members, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled many events they cover.
“COVID cut football season short and cut a lot of other opportunities,” Harris said, “so we needed to do this as a staff. But it was also important for the university to see how exciting this night was. Though this was one of the last things we will do this year, it was probably one of the most important things we do.”
To learn more about ACUTV and see more of what they do behind the scenes, you can follow their Instagram. If students are interested in applying, applications for ACUTV opening in July.