Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Photo:  Stefano Lufi filming at South Hobart [PlessPix]

Tasmanian football has never been documented as extensively as it is nowadays.

One of the main reasons for this is Stefano Lufi, also known as Mr Video, who is a familiar sight at many of our football grounds each week.

The 51-year-old films games throughout Tasmania and posts them on YouTube and several websites so that everyone can enjoy Tasmanian football highlights.


Lufi is employed to film games by FFT and South Hobart.

FFT give him a list of the games they want him to film, while South Hobart employ him to film all their senior Premier League games.

He also films games for candidates for American college sporting scholarships and focuses the camera on their performances during the particular game.

Lufi’s fascination with movie making began in 1977 when he and some friends wrote short scripts for ‘cops and robbers’ movies and filmed them in and around Hobart on Super8 film.

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Photo:  A familiar face at Tasmanian football games, Stefano Lufi or Mr Video [PlessPix]

In those days, the police were very obliging and assisted with props, such as pistols (unloaded, of course), lights and sirens.  They even blocked off intersections for the young film makers so that they could engage in make-believe car chases.

His business often consists of filming weddings, engagements, other family occasions, and funerals.

Lufi has been filming football since 2004.

“It was actually Nektar Vavoulas and the Olympia club which got me started,” he said.

“They asked me to film Olympia’s games.  I said that I’d never shot soccer before, but I thought I’d give it a go, and that’s where it all started and I’ve been doing it every year since then.

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Photo:  Stefano in his studio editing footage [PlessPix]

“I totally enjoy it.  I love it, actually.  Being involved with the soccer fraternity makes it worthwhile and I enjoy helping people who can’t come to the games to see highlights from matches, but I also like to enthral people in the hope of encouraging them to come to games.

"The game is all about players and the people involved in the game, including referees and supporters.  They are the important ones and one shouldn't forget that.  Without them, there is no game."

It can be a very demanding job and often entails a lot of travel, including trips to the north and north-west of the state.

“FFT nominate the games to be filmed each week for the north and the south, and South Hobart have instructed me to film every one of their games this season,” Lufi said.

“I used to do a lot more travelling before, but now I usually get other people to film northern games and then I edit the footage.”

It simply was not economical as the cost of petrol and other expenses were more than he received in payment.

“Brendan Lichtendonk, from Northern Rangers, and Mark Poulsen, from Riverside Olympic, have taken the initiative in filming games, and I then edit them,” said Lufi.

“Rob Reibel [a world-class cameraman of '60 Minutes' fame] and Simon Delittle do some filming for me in the south.  It’d be wonderful to have more funds to allow me to have other people filming some of the games because I can only be in one place at any given time.

“It’d be lovely if we could film all games in the north, for example, to give us a better perspective of what’s happening state-wide.

“It’d be wonderful one day to be able to film every game that is played.”

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Photo:  Stefano gets close and personal when on assignment for South Hobart [PlessPix]

Some venues make filming games difficult.  Vantage point is everything, and filming from ground level is often unsatisfactory.

“The facilities for filming could be better,” said Lufi.  “It’d be nice to have a little media box.

“If you go to any of the SFL [Australian Football] games, they all have media boxes, and they’re strategically placed for filming, and to assist the other branches of the media.

“It would be wonderful if FFT could organise something similar with the clubs.  It would be helpful to all forms of media to have something like that.”

Filming the games is only part of the task, and much hard, painstaking work comes afterwards.

“The biggest part of the job is the editing afterwards,” said Lufi.  “Sitting there capturing it all at a game takes two hours or so, but watching it again and time coding it all later makes it about a 4-hour job overall.

“Then you’ve got to render it and upload it to YouTube, so you can say I spend a minimum of six hours or so on each game.”

The game highlights are proving very popular.

“I started this season with about 72,000 hits for the start of the soccer,” said Lufi.  “Currently, we’re on about 106,000 hits in nine weeks, which makes it about 34,000 hits in nine weeks.

“It’s just wonderful that we’ve had such a response because it’s not something you watch in a few seconds.   It may take up to 10 minutes to watch an entire clip and that’s then registered as a hit.”

‘What happens to all those videos of games?’, I can hear people asking.

“At the end of the season, the full games on the original tapes are given to FFT,” Lufi explained.  “I only keep the highlights on a hard drive and on the YouTube.

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Photo:  A break in play...Stefano keeps statistics on how long the ball was actually in play in a match [PlessPix]

“All other footage, including highlights, is given to FFT.  It amounts to a lot of footage.”

Lufi's footage is usually used at functions such as the Vic Tuting Medal count and the George Dale Medal count to enhance the evening's proceedings.

There have been complaints at times about the music that accompanies the highlight packages.

Short of having match commentary, it is a difficult thing to cater for.

“I have little choice and have been using techno music,” explained Lufi.  “Copyright to music is a problem.

“YouTube will take it off if it’s copyrighted.  YouTube will pull audio off.

“The problem would be solved if we could get some copyright-free music, or if we can get some local bands or artists to provide us with music.

“They would be credited with the music in the titles, and I’d be happy to do that.  It would give them exposure to a new audience, too.

“Having natural crowd sounds can be awkward.  It opens the floodgates to abuse.  I mean, you don’t want to hear people shouting abuse at players or referees.”

Lufi spends about 20 hours or more each week on football.  In terms of financial recompense, it works out to be a labour of love.

Without him, the game would be the poorer.

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Photo:  Stefano's home studio is where the real work begins [PlessPix]

Just wait until you see the promotional package he has put together about the Tasmanian game.

I’ve had a sneak preview and I think it is just outstanding.

It portrays the Tasmanian game in all its glory.  The promo video is professional in every sense and anyone seeing it who did not know where the football was from would be excused for thinking it was from a professional league somewhere overseas.

If FFT use this promotional package as part of their sponsorship proposals to potential clients, they will surely be on a winner.

Look out for it.  It’s a winner, thanks to Mr Video, the players, coaches and supporters of the beautiful game in Tasmania.