Inside Training Camp: Video Department
Friday, August 4, 2006

By Duane Lewis

(NOTE: This is the fourth of a five-part series as we take you inside the people and the departments that help make Rams Training Camp a smooth operation.

Fans hear these statements all the time from players and coaches: "We'll have to look at the film and correct that." "I'll have to look at the tape." "He's always studying film." The tape never lies.

For Larry Clerico and his staff, the last sentence is not a more true statement.

As video director for the Rams, he and Jason McMann along with a total team of about a dozen people during training camp, are responsible for videotaping the teamsí practices, editing that footage, and providing it to the coaches via a video computer system. The staff also makes sure all meetings rooms are up and running properly so that coaches have complete functionality when they meet with the players.

ďThe coaches give us a practice schedule before each practice," Clerico said. "We know which drills they want us to videotape and which drills they want to review with the players. When we receive that schedule, the camera crew and editing staff will meet together to discuss the practice schedule, go over whoís responsible for taping which drills and editing them so that we are all on the same page."

Just as the coaching staff lays out its game plan for practice daily, Clerico and his staff have their own blueprint to execute and make sure everything is carried out. Normally 4-5 people will film practice on lifts high above the practice field, shooting sideline and end zone shots, while the editing staff preps to begin its process. The video department 'gameplan' meeting is usually one hour before practice. Then, it's showtime as the video crew heads to practice.

"We are pretty much taping the entire practice Ė offensive, defensive, and special teams drills," Clerico said. "As we finish a certain portion of the drills, we lower our tapes and field packs (computer harddrives) in a bucket. We have runners who pick up those up and bring them inside to the editing room."

More than 90 percent of practice video filmed is in a digitized format. Very few drills are shot on beta tapes. Those that are shot on actual tape are digitized into the system as well. This technology makes the editing process much more efficient.

"The editing staff receives the tapes and field packs, and uploads all the footage on to our computer servers," Clerico said. "From there, they distribute them electronically to the coaches so when they come in from practice field, they are able to look at the drills.

"Because our cameras are able to set inpoints and outpoints for each play, all of the shuttling through the footage to delineate the play is already done. That makes things go a lot faster. It also allows the coaches to pick and choose plays in a digital format and compile theyíre own list of the plays they want to emphasize in a very efficient manner."

That process of shooting practice primarily in digital form began in 1998. Beginning last year, nearly all footage acquired was in digital form. Thatís a long way from when Clerico began in 1984 as a freshman at UCLA. At the time, film was shot in a 16mm format. That's where he learned his craft, film Bruin football practices under Stan Troutman.

In 1986, the process moved to actual videotape. The duo then began to film other Bruin sports and also led Clerico to a summer internship with the Rams, working with legendary cinematographer, Mickey Dukich. Dukich was the NFL's first full time cinematographer, hired by the team in 1956. In 1992, Clerico joined the Rams' full time.

Clerico, like Rams' field superintendent Scott Parker, graduated college with a degree in economics. Clerico, however, has no regrets.

"Itís an exciting job and a fun job. Iím very fortunate to be doing what I do," Clerico said. "Itís exciting to see tremendous athletes playing the sport of football. Itís exciting to be a part of a team effort at the highest level Ė professional sports."

Ok, now WTF I haven't seen any video's or anything other than FSN Midwest. Why the hell do they have Camera Men there? Maybe they'll tape the scrimmage