Sailors senior transitions from being in the action to filming it.
Fans of a local basketball program are getting a treat this season, thanks to an entrepreneurial student-athlete.
Sarasota High senior Blaise Freeman, who played cornerback for the Sailors football team, is continuing down the sports path despite no longer playing on the field. Freeman is following the men’s basketball team and shooting highlight videos of their games, mixing in some off-court footage for color.
It is something he first dabbled with two years ago, mostly as an experiment. Freeman had an account on Vine, a now defunct but much beloved social video platform, which he used to edit videos of different sports clips together in stylish ways. Last December, a skiing and snowboarding trip with friends to Maggie Valley, N.C, changed Freeman’s mindset.
“My friends asked me to film a couple clips for them,” Freeman said. “Before then, I had mostly done the editing side, but putting those clips together, I realized the whole process was something I loved doing and something I wanted to do more. I transitioned from editing into doing everything, and I have been doing it ever since.”
For Freeman, making highlights are a way to stay connected to the world of sports despite no longer participating on the field. Sports will always be his passion, he said, and he feels this is a path that can lead to big things in the future.
Freeman’s brand, Blaze Video, has already begun to gain momentum, even though he has only released two episodes of the Sarasota basketball series to YouTube as of Dec. 11. Each has received a few hundred views. On Instagram, a clip of Sailors junior Terrell Pack throwing down a massive dunk has reached nearly 2,000 views. Freeman said he was happy to see the clip blow up like it did, though he also hopes this is only the beginning of his viral status.
Freeman’s equipment is hardly high-end. He picked up a used Sony NEX-6 mirrorless camera off Ebay for around $200. He found a 50 millimeter lens for $100. He bought the cheapest microphone he could find. That’s it, though he also wants a handheld gimbal rig for his smartphone to cut down on “shaky cam” effects.
What’s the secret to success in the video world? According to Freeman, it’s just practice. The more you try different angles and different effects, he said, the more you get a feel for what works. Freeman said he spends time looking at other people’s highlights, like action sports videographers Spencer Whiting and Chris Rogers, for inspiration and a hint at the latest editing trends.
I am not nearly as versed on this world as Freeman is, but I say can with confidence that his videos are well done, especially for someone who is relatively new to the game. I love seeing athletes pursue other avenues, especially creative ones, and Freeman seems like he has found not only something he is good at, but something that fulfills a purpose.
“Be on the lookout because I'm going to do as much work as I can,” Freeman said. “I'm going to keep putting myself out there, and who knows? Maybe I'll pick up a big job someday.”