Warren football gets interactive

The Warren G. Harding Raiders and fans are in for an exciting interactive experience as Mollenkopf Stadium at Warren G. Harding High School prepares to unveil a new state-of-the-art video scoreboard.

Brandon Giovannone, audio visual production coordinator of the Warren G. Harding Raider football team and owner of the video production and entertainment company MDI Studios, said that the new video scoreboard at Mollenkopf Stadium will help pump up the crowd at this season’s games.

“It’s a brand new video scoreboard from top to bottom,” Giovannone said. “The overall idea of the video scoreboard is that it will show instant replays and new aspects that we are bringing to the stadium, including the ‘Welcome to Mollenkopf Stadium’ video which features community leaders, teachers, students and fans.”

Paul Trina, Warren City Schools athletic director, was instrumental in bringing the new video scoreboard project into Mollenkopf Stadium for this football season. Trina also brought Giovannone, who has produced two videos paying homage to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver and former Harding standout Mario Manningham, on board.

“I want to bring social interaction to the Mollenkopf Stadium, and I want fans to interact with the video scoreboard,” Giovannone said. “Some social interaction features of the video scoreboard will include trivia questions and polls throughout the night where fans can go on the Mollenkopf Stadium Facebook page with their cell phones to answer.”

The new video scoreboard also will provide educational opportunities for Harding students participating in the Warren Student Communication Network and students at John F. Kennedy High School. The Kennedy football team also uses Mollenkopf Stadium.

“Our video scoreboard will feature instant replay features and will be an academic course for the students in the Warren Student Communication Network, giving these students a chance to put together a production for the video scoreboard,” Trina said. “Warren JFK High School will also provide their production team to put together a production for the Mollenkopf Stadium video scoreboard. I am excited that we will highlight our student athletes and bring attention to their hard work.”

Fred Whitacre, instructor of the Warren Student Communication Network at Harding, said that the students will be in charge of sound, graphics, and facilitating video replays.

“Eventually, a few of the students will also be doing play-by-play announcing for the actual filming of the games, as WSCN did with Warren G. Harding basketball home games last year,” Whitacre said.

Whitacre believes that the video scoreboard will give the WSCN students a good idea of the professional experience in putting together a sports video broadcast.

“It’s a great experience for students planning on working in the fields of broadcasting, communications and technology,” he said. “Beyond that, there’s the experience of being a part of a team. Eventually, we’ll be filming a full four-camera multi-angle production. That will take a team of at least 10 of my students. Working together to create something most high school students can only dream about that experience is immeasurable.”

“It’s unique in the fact that very few high schools have a video display capability with their scoreboard,” Whitacre said. “We will have the ability to do replays and feature video packages created by my students and by Giovannone’s MDI Studios. Giovannone himself is a former WSCN student.”

Giovannone said that the new video scoreboard will give the WSCN students many educational opportunities.

“This will give the WSCN students a head start in how to run the scoreboard, camera work, audio, and video for college football, for the students who would like to go into broadcasting in college,” he said.

Giovannone has some of his own creative video packages he will contribute.

“The big video that is going to play on this video scoreboard will be before the team comes on the field,” he said. “It will highlight everything that makes up Warren G. Harding football. This video will feature shots of the city, community, fans, the band, cheerleaders and the football team. It will highlight all the previous playoffs Warren has been in, and our one NFL Hall of Famer and state championships that we have been in, to get the crowd excited before the team comes out on the field.”

According to Whitacre, the new video screen is just the latest in improvements to Mollenkopf Stadium.

“Plans to improve the stadium experience have been on-going for a while now,” he said. “Mollenkopf has a top notch playing surface, and Warren football has top notch fans. This gives our school the chance to feature our student athletes, and the students in my video production / broadcasting class will be an integral part of the process.”

Though the new scoreboard will not be in place for the first few games of the Raiders’ football season, Trina said that it will be in place soon.

“We have hopes to have the video scoreboard ready for week two, but it might be ready by week three,” he said. “We want to do it right and we need time for all the advertisements to come together, and that does not come together over night.

“The state-of-the-art video scoreboard will be exciting for our fans and is a positive step in going forward,” he said. “We believe in our tradition and Mollenkopf Stadium.”