Well, that was the strangest team picture day I've ever attended. But it is most likely the wave of the future.
The Gophers hired Lifetouch to handle their team photos once again this year. It was the first year that the company has brought a new technology to the U of M campus for team and group photos. This new technology basically puts out a team and/or group photo without actually taking a photo of the entire group.
Here's how it works: High-tech cameras take head-to-toe digital images of each individual. Each individual's name is tagged in the software. An automated program then drops each person who belongs in each group or team photo in automatically. Some editing is done on the back end to make it look sharp... and voila! A team photo or a group photo of the coaching staff, the equipment staff, etc. is the finished product.
We're supposed to get the finished images back in about a week-and-a-half for use in the football game program. I'll be very interested to see the finished product.
All together, the process took less than two hours. The best thing for the coaches, players and staff is they didn't have to stand out in the hot sun in the stadium for 30 minutes while the photographers yell things like "Hey, number 8! Move to your left one step. No, back to the right a half step. OK, perfect!" Those who were involved in the shoot spent roughly one minute in front of the cameras indoors at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex indoor practice facility and then they were done.
In addition to the team/group photos, a few other things were taking place in conjunction with Photo Day. Public Service Announcements that air in the stadium on game days with student-athletes in them were being shot, as were some interviews for Coach Kill's television show. There was also some video work being done for the team introduction video to be used on the big screen on game days.
I was personally involved in something cool, too. Gopher defensive lineman Curran Delaney was taking part in a photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine. Delaney was in the Marines prior to attending the University of Minnesota and served as a sniper. ESPN The Magazine will be profiling him as part of a story focusing on athletes who have served in the military. The magazine sent a photographer to Minneapolis today to get images of Delaney for that story, which will tie into the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks .
Keep an eye out for that issue of ESPN The Magazine next month. I've seen the photos and they are very cool! I have some shots of the setup for the photo shoot in the video above and the photo gallery below.
>Sunday was a day off from practice for the Gophers.
>The team will be back at it with a two-a-day session Monday at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex. Those practices are slated for 8:50 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. and are once again open to the public.