A Happy Week for the Aase Family

This was a week that will be long remembered for the Aase family and for the Austin High School basketball program, as my son Joe and nephew Tom, both two-time all-conference players returning this year for their senior seasons, accepted scholarship offers to play college basketball.

Austin hasn’t had a scholarship basketball player since 1999, so having two players accept offers in one week is quite a milestone. And it’s pretty cool that I’m related to both of them!

Joe committed to Davidson College (read about it here and here), while Tom is going to the University of Sioux Falls.

It’s great to have these decisions made, so the boys can focus on their high school season. With three starters returning from last year’s state tournament team, Austin is hoping to make some noise.

Packers’ Highlights and an 80s Flashback

The red-and-white Packers from Austin had a better weekend than the green-and-gold ones from Wisconsin. The Austin boys traveled to Rochester for a game with Century High Friday night, and both team entered the game tied for first place in the Big Nine conference with just one loss.

Here is the late Friday Sports Extra from the local TV station, KTTC, where one of my high school contemporaries, Pat Lund, is the sports anchor.

Pat was a member of the Rochester Mayo high school team. He graduated in 1982, a year after I graduated from Austin. The segment starts with a recap of the Austin-Century game (including a bunch of plays by my son Joe and nephew Tom), and if you keep watching until the first wave of highlights is done (maybe 3-4 minutes into the segment), you’ll hear Pat reminisce about the Chancellor.

Web Video 105: Why you should always use a tripod with a Flip

SMUG doesn’t have a formal curriculum in Web video (come to think of it, none of our curriculum is really formal in the accreditation sense.) I guess what I should say is SMUG doesn’t have a curriculum series in Web video.

That may change, but for now here is the first post in what might become a series.

I didn’t start with 101 for the course number, because I can think of some lessons that would be more introductory or basic than this one. But this is something you should learn early and take to heart:

Always use a tripod when shooting video with a consumer-grade video camera.

The videos below show the difference a tripod makes. The first is a compilation of highlights from my son Joe and nephew Tom, in their first few games of the high school basketball season. I’m using a WordPress.com blog as the team booster site. I used a Facebook group a couple of years ago to do the same for my daughter’s team. All of the video from these first games was shot using a tripod:

Last night, however, when the Austin boys played John Marshall High School in Rochester, I realized upon arriving at the game that I had left the camera base that connects to my tripod attached to my other camera. So I had to shoot the whole game holding the camera in my hand.

And while I haven’t yet edited the highlight video for the whole game (which Austin won by the palindromic score of 74-47), here’s one snippet that was particularly fun for me as a dad:

I really wish you could tell that was my son, Joe, but because I had a hand-held camera, it’s considerably more blurry than the earlier games. So please just take my word for it.

I think the other factor is that I was a little closer to the court than usual, and therefore had to move the camera more quickly to keep up with the action, which increased blurriness.

So, to summarize the lesson:

  1. Always bring a tripod.
  2. If you goof up and forget to bring a tripod and are shooting action footage, get some distance away to avoid introducing extra movement.
  3. If you are shooting an interview or something at close range, find some other surface (a box, a stack of books, etc.) upon which you can set the camera.
  4. Don’t mess with the Austin Packers. 😉

Seriously, it was pretty cool to get to see and capture my son’s first dunk in a high school basketball game. And I always try to turn these moments into teaching opportunities.

It’s the life of a Chancellor.

Why I’m glad I’m not at SXSW

Watching some of the tweet stream, I’m sure I would have really enjoyed being in Texas for South by Southwest. But I’ve had a lot of fun this week watching basketball, including Wednesday night when my son Joe, a high school freshman, got his first game action with the varsity team in the first round of the Section 1AAA Minnesota High School Basketball Tournament. Here’s a snippet of his play:

Joe isn’t the guy who nailed the three in that sequence; that was Connor Gunderson, a senior who scored his 1,000th career point in the last regular season game.

Joe only has 998 to go.

Tonight the Austin Packers, seeded third, travel to second-seeded New Prague for the semifinal. I would definitely feel badly if I were missing it. I’ll have to rely on @EdBennett and others for the #SXSW and #SXSWi scoop.

Update: The Packers made a valiant run at it, but came up just short after falling behind by about 20. They cut it to 5 but couldn’t quite make it.

Flip Video of High School Sports

The Flip video camera, which SMUGgles know I like a lot, does a reasonably decent job of capturing video of sporting events, as long as they’re in a relatively small venue.

Here’s video I shot last night, of my daughter’s high school basketball team in their home opener. They won the game 68-40.


If you click through to view the video directly on YouTube (instead of embedded), you can choose “Watch in High Quality,” which is a significant improvement.

Maybe for the next game I’ll try a tripod with the Flip. I really like how it saves time in digitizing though, as compared with shooting miniDV and having to import the tape. Being able to just copy the files to the hard drive and import into iMovie instead of playing an entire tape to digitize and import cuts the production time roughly in half.

Here, for comparison, is a video I shot last year with a Panasonic MiniDV camera. I’m not sure what my encoding settings were (probably not very good), but the video I shot with the Flip seems to compare favorably with this:


Given its relatively non-existent zoom (it only goes to 2x, and that’s a digital zoom, not optical), you need to be pretty close to the action to get decent game video with a Flip. But given its speed and ease of use, I think the quality is acceptable (provided you keep your finger from creeping into the viewfinder.)