App State football video: the team that shoots (and edits) the team


Courtesy Vince Fortea

The App State football video team shot a now-viral uniform reveal at Trash Can Falls. The video featured senior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan (left) emerging from underwater. Student Director of Video Production Max Renfro (right) posted the reveal on Tik Tok, where it now has nearly 9 million views.

Silas Albright, Reporter

A mountain waterfall rushes in the distance and a football floats on top of the water as dramatic music slowly builds. Suddenly, a football player emerges from underneath the water’s surface as the music reaches a crescendo. 

On Sept. 10, App State football videographer Max Renfro uploaded the uniform reveal for the Mountaineers’ week 1 matchup against Charlotte to his Tik Tok and Instagram. In the video that’s since accumulated over 10 million total views, App State senior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan comes out of the water at Trash Can Falls, rocking the all black uniform the Mountaineers wore in the 35-20 win over the 49ers.

After Renfro and App State football initially uploaded the promo, the video quickly blew up. National platforms such as ESPN and Barstool Sports reposted the video. SportsCenter’s official Instagram account, with over 19 million followers, shared the video with a caption reading, “This is incredible.” 

“It’s just crazy. I’m still kind of shook about it,” Renfro said. “It’s awesome to see that, for a smaller school like App State to get them on the map on a little more.” 

But this is far from the first time the App State football video team has received national recognition. 

The video team has earned first-place recognition in at least one of the four categories at the annual SAVVY Awards in three straight years and seven of the last 12. The SAVVY Awards are given out by the national Collegiate Sports Video Association each year. 

Most recently, App State won first place for Short Social Video of the Year, for the Stranger Things-themed uniform reveal they produced for the Halloween matchup with Georgia Southern last season. 

Renfro explained that while national recognition isn’t a new thing for the video team, it does feel good that this time, his name was attached to his work as it was shared. 

“The first couple years I was here, there were always people commenting like ‘who made these videos?’” Renfro said. “To finally have people know who makes them is kind of awesome, because you put all the hard work in and you want them to know who made it.” 

Jade Riles, another App State student on the video team, said he didn’t realize their work could be so valuable to so many people outside of the App State community. 

“It’s been cool to see that it has some value, not just to us and the team, but other people,” Riles said. 

The video team currently has six editors, who are all students, in charge of producing about four videos each football game week, and sometimes more. 

“On paper, (Max) is technically in charge,” Riles said. “But we don’t really have that atmosphere, it’s normally a group effort. Especially with the ideas and input and that sort of thing. He takes the lead on a lot of the edits— he’s the best editor we have.” 

Renfro said the video team has a strong working relationship with the football team. 

“It isn’t like the typical stereotype where they think they’re better than you because they’re a football player,” Renfro said. “All the guys are so easy to work with. They love our stuff, so they love to be selected for the video because they get their pictures and stuff.”

Refro said having that strong relationship makes their work easier and more fun.

“Thomas (Hennigan) was so eager to go in the water, and once we got him in the water he didn’t want to get out,” Renfro said. “He’s in there playing around and stuff, so it was awesome.”

While Renfro and the rest of the video team have fun in their line of work, it is still work. Renfro said shooting usually takes about an hour and editing can take between two to four hours, but it all depends on the complexity of each shoot. With around four videos to put out each week, the time adds up.

Vince Fortea, also an App State student on the video team, said that the makeup of the video team helps make it a really cool thing to be a part of. It’s all students who share a passion for creative video and editing. 

“There’s not really that many of us that do what we do around here in Boone,” Fortea said. “It’s just cool knowing that we all get to work together to create content every week.” 

Renfro said a lot of other schools have older professionals doing what the video team does at App State. He said that because the App State team is made up of students, their content is more in touch with current trends. The App State team does have a non-student coordinator, but Renfro said he trusts the students and gives them creative control of the content they produce. 

Renfro said when he first started working for the video team, the App State football official Instagram account had about 13.9k followers. Now, the page has nearly 47k followers. 

“The program has grown so much in just the three years that we’ve been here,” Riles said. “Even though App is a smaller school, it’s growing exponentially, which I think has helped elevate our platform. It’s part of the reason our stuff has had success.”