Limited Time with Talent? This is How DP Greg Kubik Got it Done for ESPN’s NFL Draft Open

Tue, May 01, 2018

Every cinematographer knows what it’s like to be working on a time crunch. Those projects where you get just a few fleeting hours to get the right shot before your talent has to leave or the venue needs to resume normal business. In that tiny amount of time you get, the challenge is on to figure out the best way to capture all the footage you need. So what’s the best approach to this?

If you guys watched the NFL Draft on ESPN last week, then you saw that awesome opening cinematic right before the show started. It featured several top picks for the Draft, with shots going from portraits to action to green screen and more.

Check out the video here:

ESPN 2018 NFL Draft Open Tease from Greg Kubik on Vimeo.

Like most shoots with super busy talent, the production team were only given a few hours with each athlete. That meant making sure the shoot went as smoothly as possible from start to finish. But easier said than done! Not only was there a time limit, the Directors wanted some action mixed in too, with the athletes moving from place to place and throwing footballs into the field.

Greg Kubik (@gregkubik_dp), cinematographer for Texas Crew, was DP for the project. His 2nd year filming the NFL Draft Open, Kubik knew that to get this job done, he needed the right tools. The ultimate solution? Wireless monitoring. 

The Setup

  • ARRI Amira w/ Fujinon Cabrio 20-120mm
  • Alexa Mini on MoVI Pro w/ Zeiss CP2 Primes
  • 2x Teradek Bolt 300
  • 2x SmallHD 701 handheld monitor

Each camera connected to a Bolt 300 transmitter, which sent a real-time feed to Bolt receivers rigged to the backs of the SmallHD 701s. Equipped with handles on both sides, the compact, gerrymandered handheld monitors allowed Kubik and his team to be completely mobile on location and monitor the shot wherever.

Going Wireless

Factoring the run-and-gun nature of the shoot, as well as the limited time he had with athletes, Kubik knew monitoring wirelessly was the only way to get the right shots. There wasn’t a place or time to set up video village, so instead Kubik, the Director and clients decided to monitor on-the-go.

“Having the ability to see exactly what we’re shooting on these fast-paced projects is completely critical. We have very limited time with each athlete - there’s no time to be cabled up and running back and forth to the monitors.”

“That’s why we relied on the Bolts. It’s just as reliable as any cabled system, and the receiver was lightweight enough to carry around easily during shoots. It also gave our clients completely confidence in what we were shooting, and that’s an incredible bonus to have.”

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