The Man Behind The Camera

BY CONNOR NICHOLS | Ball State Sports Link
Some people ask me why I spend a majority of my weekends shooting video of sporting events? Why do I spend countless hours editing.

The answer is simple — I love what I do.

Grandpa and I.jpg
At Brownsburg, I was a member of the football team. I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember, thanks to my grandparents.

I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember, thanks to my grandparents. Growing up, I would go to their house every Friday night after school.

We would find a high school football game to attend. It didn’t matter if it was sunny or snowing, we would find a way to go.

On Saturday, we would start our day with College Gameday.

More often than not, I wouldn’t wake up in time to watch the full show.

However, if my grandpa saw a story on a college athlete he thought I would enjoy, he would record it and have a smile on his face when I made my way downstairs to watch.

Unfortunately he passed away last year after a battle with cancer, but he is still one of the many people who continue to push me to work as hard as I can every day.

I know he didn’t realize this, but he is the person who helped create my passion for sports storytelling and all it took was his click of the ‘record’ button.

Throughout our binge watching of college football and his occasional naps during the games on Saturdays, I had one hand in the popcorn and the other holding the remote. I was always prepared to switch channels to another game if a commercial came on.

Back then, I remember thinking to myself: “I can’t wait to be the person on the sideline shooting highlights of these games.”

At Ball State, you can find me at almost every game with a camera in my hand. This picture was from 2016 when Nathalie Fontaine became BSU’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball.

Now, I am that person and it is all because of Ball State Sports Link.

It gave me all the resources I need to be successful as soon as I enrolled in the program.  The opportunities have allowed me to build great relationships with people involved in the sports production field.

I have worked extremely hard on a daily basis to try to standout from the rest. Because of this dedication and passion for sports production, this is how I have earned the opportunities presented to me.

At Ball State, I have already worked on numerous live productions in a variety of roles for ESPN platforms, have produced layered feature stories, led candid shoots with student-athletes and produced content for social media platforms.

Outside of Sports Link, I have operated cameras for numerous live events, from the 2016 Horizon League Baseball Championship Tournament, Indianapolis Indians, Butler Men’s Basketball, IUPUI Men’s Basketball, Indy Fuel Hockey and the Indy Eleven.

The last week of January marked a first for me, but I know definitely not the last. I worked three different sporting events in three consecutive days.

On Friday, I worked as a production assistant for WISH-TV’s “The Zone”. Then Saturday and Sunday, I was a freelance camera operator for the newly-formed Tupelo Raycom for Butler Men’s Basketball and Indy Fuel Hockey.

I first started working as a production assistant for WISH-TV’s “The Zone” on Friday nights during my freshman year in college.

Every Friday, I go to my two assigned high schools and shoot highlights of football or basketball games. Once I get back to the station, I import my video clips, edit my highlights into a package and then write a script for the anchor.

The packages I create air between 11:08 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Channel 8 on Friday nights.

Running camera at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse for Butler vs. Georgetown produced by Tupelo Raycom.

On Saturday, I ran a hand-held camera for the Georgetown vs. No. 11 Butler basketball game. Even though I was by far the youngest camera operator on our crew, and it was only my second Butler game, I was surprisingly not nervous at all.
I honestly was as excited as every fan in attendance in the sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse.

I have wanted to sit in front of a screaming student section ever since I was a kid, and because of the trust in my abilities as a camera operator, I was not phased.

Georgetown ended up pulling off the upset, but I loved every single minute of the broadcast. That night was just another reason why I already love the field I am in.

On Sunday afternoons, most college students are catching up on homework. For me, on the other hand, was another game on my schedule.

This is the first season I have worked Indy Fuel hockey games and I really enjoy working the broadcasts. I love hockey and it is a real test as a camera operator because it is such a fast-paced sport.

When I finally got back to Ball State after the extremely busy weekend, I thought to myself: “I can’t believe that I am that person who is actually a member of all these broadcasts.”

Even though I am just a man behind a camera, I have a story to tell .. and I’m just getting started.


5 thoughts on “The Man Behind The Camera

  1. Your grandpa would be so proud of you. He would smile, wipe a tear away and say “That’s my boy.”. I know you will do great things because of the person you have become. I’m so very proud of you, love Nan

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. I will always think of you as the little boy playing football in the neighborhood, but have enjoyed watching you turn into a successful man.


  3. Wow! So proud of you Connor. That is all amazing and I’m sure your grandpa, my uncle, is cheering you on from Heaven above. You can achieve all you put your mind to and you have already proven that. Keep up the awesome work and you will do nothing but succeed in love. Love Nancy

  4. Connor, your grandpa is smiling. We are all so proud of you! Your hard work, determination and attention to detail will continue to bring you success. I love being your mom and look forward to seeing all that you continue to accomplish and learn. Love, Mom

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