Band Together or Go Home
Band Together Or Go Home: 2014 NCAA LAX Championships ESPN Content
When ESPN approached us to create video content to promote the NCAA Lacrosse playoffs, we knew we wanted to do something real.
Concept: For these ESPN videos, we wanted to tell the story of brotherhood and teamwork within the sport. As a veteran lacrosse player, Jay says, “The teams that win are the teams that play best together at the right time,” not necessarily the teams with the most talent. Any good lacrosse player, coach, or strategist knows each team will need to either band together or go home. We wanted to celebrate this unique brotherhood and continue to promote the sport in an inspiring light.
We pitched the concept to ESPN, and they loved it...so we ran with it.
We decided that the best way to communicate the appreciation of teamwork was through the mouths of the best players in the world. We interviewed 7 current Team USA players and former NCAA stars and heard from them why teamwork is crucial to a team’s success and, even further, why the team’s relationship off the field is imperative to good teamwork.
Our initial pre-production challenge was acquiring the “All Access” B-Roll of NCAA teams that would coincide with the sound bites coming from our Pro Players. We had relationships with many lacrosse programs, and with the help of ESPN, we were able to sell our concept to the Head Coaches who granted us the access needed to pull this off. We also inherited archived game tapes from ESPN that would give us the great lacrosse action highlights that we needed to complete the edits.
Shoot: Once we were approved by the teams, we scheduled some shoot days during practices and games. We shot the UNC/Hop & UVA/MD games with the Sony F55 in the pouring rain! It was coming down so hard, that one of our crew member's phone broke in his pocket because it got so wet. The Sony F55 captures great, high-quality 240 FPS slow motion action, which looks really cool in the rain. We covered the camera with multiple camera rain covers to keep it from getting damaged. We’re glad we stuck it out, as the rain shots we got were epic. We also were able to shoot several other teams and games.
We knew we wanted to give the interviews a unique and gritty look. We built a “faux” cinderblock backdrop which we shipped to our locations. We wanted to also give them a HDR look which is a new technique we are fond of. We shot one-on-one interviews with key players in a studio in New York City and Baltimore using the Arri Alexa camera which gave us the flexibility when color grading to reach the HDR look we were aiming for. Paul Rabil, Ned Crotty, Max Seibald, Rob Pannell, Steele Stanwick, Drew Adams, and Jesse Schwartzman came and gave us some great material to work with through their interviews. We chose to interview these guys because we see them not only as stand-out players in the sport, but, more importantly, as leaders on their teams with special NCAA experience. Many younger lacrosse players look up to them, and as we draw more attention to the sport of lacrosse on a major platform like ESPN, they are great ambassadors as to what this brotherhood is all about.
Post-Production: When putting together all of our assets we shot and collected for the whole project, we had over 12 terabytes! (That’s a lot.) We used footage of youth lacrosse from our archives, ESPN footage from past games, and footage from our shoots and interviews. We licensed the song “Brother” by the Annuals as it went well with our brotherhood theme. We’ve wanted to use this song for a while, and it was finally the right time. Since we were producing 8 different pieces of video content for ESPN, we were able to feature different aspects of our overall brotherhood storyline in each one.
Final Product: Before the playoffs began, we delivered 8 video elements of varying lengths from 30 sec to 2 min all with a consistent theme and uniform identity to give the 2014 Playoffs a memorable look and feel.
Response: “When producer John Kettering and content associate Robin Segreti came to me with the idea for a tease, selecting Jay Jalbert was an easy decision,” said John Vassallo, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “His film-making talent along with his understanding of the game made it obvious who we should partner with on a project like this.” - ESPN