Pair of former Demons on LSU’s film crew

Published 12:01 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

Franklinton High School graduates Jacob Smith and Grant Thomas have taken their talents from the football field to the video camera and into the film room.
The two are working behind the lens on LSU’s Football Film Crew.
The crew has 12 students that work in the office. The crew’s main job is to record practice. Sometimes there are 12 to 13 cameras at practice and each drill has multiple shots from different angles.
LSU Director of Athletic Video Doug Aucoin, who is in his 24th season, said his job and his assistants’ job is to coach the students up and help them understand what the coaches are looking for. Aucoin said that each student has a specialty, so they get really good at it and they are all cross-trained.
“They do a great job,” Aucoin said. “It’s a good fun job for students. They get to travel. They don’t travel to all road games. We bring four or five students to each road game, so they all get to travel.”
Smith played safety at Franklinton and is a sophomore at LSU. His primary job is filming defensive line individual drills. He has a ground camera and knows what angle the coaches want it. Smith also runs the music during and after practice.
During the games, Smith is the on the field replay technician. When they go to replays, he brings the replay equipment to the officials.
This is Smith’s second year on the crew.
“It’s just a great opportunity to stay around football, which is a game and a sport I love, and helps keep structure in my life,” Smith said. “We mainly do coaches’ video during practice. Right after practice, we cut the video and get it ready to share to the coaches so they can watch it when they get in from practice.”
Smith said he came in eager to learn.
“I didn’t know much about video, but I’m willing to learn. Doug, my boss, and the older guys have done a great job of teaching me and Grant and guiding us along the way,” Smith said.
Smith said they work about 20-30 hours a week during the season and 10-20 in the offseason.
Thomas was a linebacker for the Demons and is a freshman at LSU. Thomas has the pole camera that stands 10-12 feet. Thomas videos quarterbacks individually, so the coaches can see things like run/pass option plays and tracks with the running back. Thomas also shoots down the line, so the coaches can see the linemen get off at the snap, how close they are to crowding the line and how the defensive line is getting off the line. For gameday, Thomas is up in the end zone. Aucoin said that when LSU’s offense is going away from that end zone, the crew will let the younger guys work the cameras to get experience. Thomas also runs memory cards for the visiting team after each quarter, so that the coaches can run film on the plane. He also helps Smith on the field as well.
Sometimes the students will be in different spots.
Thomas said that Smith helped him with his decision to attend LSU and was able to get him on the film crew.
“I’ve always liked football and I’ve always being around it and it was a great opportunity to stay around football,” Thomas said.
Thomas worked his first game in week one this year when LSU played Georgia Southern.
Thomas said he is enjoying it.
“It’s awesome,” Thomas said. “It’s easily one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve only been through one gameday, but just being around the sidelines and in the stands where not everybody can go, it’s just a different experience. It’s a different view. It’s awesome.”
The crew also produces highlights and motivation videos as well.
Aucoin said that having football playing experience helps, but is not a requirement to be on the crew.
“We get them from all walks of life,” Aucoin said. “It does make a difference if they’ve been around it, so they know the different angles. If you’ve been around it, played it or videoed it, you know the different positions on the field, so that helps. It helps, but it’s not a requirement. Some of the students come to us that have shot video in high school. We’ll teach them everything they need to know.”
LSU’s next game is Sept. 7 against Texas on the road, before the Tigers return home to face Northwestern State on Sept. 14.

Franklinton graduate and LSU freshman Grant Thomas videos an LSU practice.