Huskies’ 2012 lip dub dances way to top honors from fifth annual College Sports Media Awards

Rachel Wicks, Patrick Gorman and Aaron Vermedal celebrate in Atlanta.
Rachel Wicks, Patrick Gorman and Aaron Vermedal celebrate in Atlanta.

Northern Illinois University received top honors for its “NIU Lip Dub” at the Sports Video Group’s (SVG) College Sports Summit in Atlanta.

The video, released at the 2012 Victors award ceremony, earned accolades in the Collegiate Athletics Special Feature category. The award was presented by SVG and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Now in its fifth year, the College Sports Media Awards recognize the best in video production at all levels of college sports: student productions, athletic departments, regional networks and national networks.

The video was a cooperative effort between NIU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) executive board, NIU Media Services and Northern Illinois athletic staff members in student services, marketing and media relations.

Media Services video coordinator Patrick Gorman was on hand to receive the award with members of his staff, Aaron Vermedal and Rachel Wicks.

“It was a cool experience down there in Atlanta. Not only were we there with national television networks, but we were competing against schools like Oregon, Virginia and Ole Miss,” Gorman said. “When we heard Northern Illinois called, we all kind of looked at each other in shock, and once it sunk in that we won, it was really cool. Huskie pride at Northern Illinois really came out in that video and it was a great experience for our student athletes.”

The initiative for the lip dub was brought forth by members of SAAC to NIU athletics support staff in an idea to close the Huskies’ athletic award ceremony, The Victors. From there, both parties worked collaboratively with Media Services to accomplish the final end product, which went viral on YouTube over its first weekend with more than 12,000 views from its launch Thursday, May 3, through Monday, May 7. More than 250 student-athletes representing all 17 NIU sports participated in the video.

“When our SAAC group came up with this great idea and brought it to us, we reached out to our campus partners in Media Services, and they did an unbelievable job bringing our student-athletes’ vision into reality,” said Acting Director of Athletics Christian Spears.

The SVG press release announcing the award winners called NIU’s production “entertaining” and “no doubt, challenging” to produce. The video required each participating student-athlete learn the song in just a few hours. More impressively, the video was completed in just three takes.

College Sports Media Awards logo“The process was a difficult one but we had to act quickly on it; we only had a few days to go from concept to finalization as it was to be debuted at the Victors Awards,” said Vermedal, who directed and operated the camera for the video.

“The video was filmed in one shot while walking a predetermined path through the Yordon. My job was to follow behind Aaron, who was running the camera, and yell out timings and placements,” Wicks said of her role as stage manager during the production process. “In order to make it to the end point on time, we had a strict allotted amount of time in each area.”

As producer, Gorman assisted with coordinating student movements behind the camera as well as looking out for aesthetics. He staged the scenery and coordinated lighting for the production. Jason Horn and Justin Elder also assisted in the production while Adam Kiel, Rocco Taglia, Mike Mascitti and Kristen Hoffman from NIU Athletics assisted with student coordination.

Kristin Hoffman
Kristin Hoffman

“The entire process was a team effort between the Media Services staff and the NIU Athletics students and staff,” Gorman said, crediting the collaboration involved in the production. “The students were the reason why this was pulled off in just a few takes. Their patience, coordination and understanding for what we needed to do was amazing.”

“It was a party in the front, but chaos in the back,” Vermedal said. “As I turned around at the end of the video to reveal all of the students screaming at the top of their lungs with Huskie pride, my stomach dropped with amazement.

“It was one of the coolest shoots of my life, and I am so proud that the community has recognized it in such an amazing light.”

The College Sports Media Awards received more submissions than ever before this year – 28 percent more than last year – including 92 nominations in four production categories: live game or event production; program series; promo, PSA, or video marketing campaign; and special feature. Each category is divided into four classifications: national networks and professional, regional sports networks and local cable providers, collegiate athletics and collegiate students.

“The collaboration of everyone’s efforts is why we took home this award,” Gorman said. “We really got to share our Huskie pride with a highly regarded panel in Atlanta.”

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