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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 01:53 AM

Just got back from shooting some post-game BetaSP for NFL Network at the Seahawks/Panthers game.

Since I had a full access pass to the stadium and sidelines, and I didn't need to 'work' until after the game, I spent the pregame and first half on the sidelines with my DVX @ 30P.

It was refreshing to see at least 4 or 5 NFL Films guys with 16mm SR3's running around shooting the game. A couple had wide primes, and at least one had a video zoom and a hi-hat.

If it were a bit quieter I'd have asked them some questions about their prefered frame rates, stocks, and the like.

Anybody ever shoot film for NFL films?

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#2 Nathan Milford

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:13 AM

The one with the video zoom might have been Craig Braiden... I know he sports one. Also one of our technicians here sometimes moonlights as a loader at the games. There are lots of independant shooters, many with XTRprods.

They primarily use it for high speed stuff. I know as soon as they have a truly portable high-speed HD camera, they'll drop film... but the cine speedcam isn't quite viable for thier shooting style and methods.

I believe the NFL is the largest consumer of film in the US... but I might be mistaken. Imagine 3 or 4 shooters, every game, multiple games, each 2 hours of actual filmable plays, at the same time over an entire season... lots of damn raw stock.

I'm sure Kodak will smart a bit when the NFL drops film...
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#3 Sam Wells

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:25 AM

I'm reasonably sure they're the largest 16mm customer in the world; I don't know if the single outright largest MP film customer.

Never shot for them, altho I've used their lab; things I shot or worked on posted there.
They're pretty loyal to film; I don't think they consider it "broken" and in need of rapid replacement.
And Steve Sabol loves it.

Overcranking is they're stock in trade.

Everyone think good thoughts about Steve Sabol, OK ? :)

-Sam
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#4 Chris Fernando

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:38 AM

I remember reading an article, think it might have been on the Kodak website (What a surprise!) with Sabol talking about how he sees nothing that can replace 16 on their shoots just because of the archival qualities, I remember him saying he needs to shoot on something that can "guarantee" it will be viewable in 100 years, makes sense.

As for frame rate, if I'm not mistaken I think it's 72fps, across the board. Watched an awesome docco in one of my classes on the evolution of the shooting styles: there was one guy who pioneered the "follow the ball through the air" style while another lad developed the "start on the QB in the background and reframe to the reciever in the foreground style". Very interesting stuff. Wish I knen the name of the doc. Anyone?

All I know is I can watch that game footage for hours, I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that it's on film.
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#5 Patrick Neary

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:41 AM

Hi Tim-

When I was a staff photog at the Daily Zero (yes, your very own hometown rag) I would shoot the hawks (those days in the kingdome) and occassionally run into the NFL Films guys (they weren't there every game). One thing that impressed me beyond anything was how FAST those loaders could turn around a mag- it looked like they were performing a magic trick!
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#6 Matt Frank

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 10:47 AM

This is a cool thread. I was just noticing during the post game last night that there was a 16mm camera huddled around Holmgreen and I figured it was the NFL films guys. It looked like an XTR to me but it was only on for a second. It would make since to use those since the magazines are so easy to load. I use an LTR and can change a mag in around 2 minutes.

Edited by Matt Frank, 23 January 2006 - 10:48 AM.

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#7 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:10 AM

As for frame rate, if I'm not mistaken I think it's 72fps, across the board. Watched an awesome docco in one of my classes on the evolution of the shooting styles: there was one guy who pioneered the "follow the ball through the air" style while another lad developed the "start on the QB in the background and reframe to the reciever in the foreground style". Very interesting stuff. Wish I knen the name of the doc. Anyone?



Yes, the name of the doc was "They Call it Pro Football" and the cinematographer who pioneered that that "follow the football through the air style" was NFL Cinematographer Bob Smith. Ernie Ernst, serendiptiously filmed Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" on film. Smith and Ernest shot at high frame rates, but most of what you saw in the doc by the other cinematographers like Steve Andrich and Tom Karlo, to name just a few NFL cinematographers was shot at different frame rates, the most common being 36fps.

What was amazing to me is how those guys pulled their own focus, and how fast they could change out a magazine, and I'm not talking in a nice warm darkroom, I'm mean on the sidelines of a game while in the frigid cold of Buffalo and Green Bay.

Another great football doc was "Football Follies".

I guess you can tell it was once a dream of mine to have been an NFL Films cinematographer. -lol
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#8 Chris Fernando

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

Yes, the name of the doc was "They Call it Pro Football" and the cinematographer who pioneered that that "follow the football through the air style" was NFL Cinematographer Bob Smith. Ernie Ernst, serendiptiously filmed Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" on film. Smith and Ernest shot at high frame rates, but most of what you saw in the doc by the other cinematographers like Steve Andrich and Tom Karlo, to name just a few NFL cinematographers was shot at different frame rates, the most common being 36fps.

What was amazing to me is how those guys pulled their own focus, and how fast they could change out a magazine, and I'm not talking in a nice warm darkroom, I'm mean on the sidelines of a game while in the frigid cold of Buffalo and Green Bay.

Another great football doc was "Football Follies".

I guess you can tell it was once a dream of mine to have been an NFL Films cinematographer. -lol



Thanks for the info Wendell. I'll be on Amazon real soon!

Ditto for the career aspiration; can't think of a better job, myself (even in a Buffalo January). I once did a spoof of an NFL Films presentation for my Intro Film Prod class on Super 8, of a Turkey Bowl pickup game (not quite the same thing though). Enjoy The Game.
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#9 Marty Hamrick

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:27 PM

I've worked beside those guys a couple of times at the Jaguar games in Jacksonville and I admire how passionate they are about what they do.One of them commented on how long he had followed a particular player's career in college to learn his running styles so he would know where to position himself.I suppose if you wanted to place bets on certain games,knowing one of these guys would be of value.And yes,I have never seen Arri mags turned around that fast.I've seen some older cameras with these guys too,I saw an Arri M out there a few times.
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#10 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:35 PM

An older article about NFL Films:

http://www.kodak.com...uly99/nfl.shtml
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#11 Chris Fernando

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:16 PM

I assume you guys mean they are loading and downloading themselves. But not all of them do; I was at a game in San Diego and one guy had a loader. For 4 quarters she was just shuttling mags back and forth from her tent to the camera. I guess some of them bring loaders along?
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:53 PM

A friend of mine was a loader at the Super Bowl 6 or 7 years ago. If memory serves me...she said they had 6 loaders and a couple of mag runners. I can't remember how many cameras were rolling. But she said the loaders never had a minute of downtime until halftime. I believe there was a running loader too that just ran around with a tent and one of the roaming crews.
I worked with a DP last year that shot for NFL Films for a long time and told lots of stories about long lens shots. He said he used to do a lot of stuff on a 600mm from the back of the end zone carrying the ball from the quarterbacks hand on the 50 yard line to a receiver at the front of the endzone. Crazy focus pulls. I know sometimes he had a 1st.
I used to shoot some football when I worked in news, and always wanted to work for NFL Films. I think a lot of people feel the same way.
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#13 Tim Tyler

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:18 PM

*bump*

I finally added photos to the first post.
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#14 Tim Carroll

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:25 PM

*bump*

I finally added photos to the first post.


Cool Photos, thanks Tim.
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 01:57 PM

Cool photos. Looks like they've converted video zooms to fit or SR's. Good idea for that kind of shooting.
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#16 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 03:40 PM

*bump*

I finally added photos to the first post.


Thanks for the photos, Tim.

I shot an SR3 at Anaheim stadium with that dual-handgrip setup a few times. Looks easy, but what a workout! My arms were sore for days. Those guys must be in good shape.
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#17 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 07:18 AM

I was talking to a UK TV DOP last night and he was saying some of the guys in the UK are getting gentle pressure to change to HD (even though UK HD Policy is still undecided)

But it makes you think when we go to HD every single pre HD soccer game recorded in the UK soccer league will look terrible in HD since they have shot all of it in SD

So you can see the point for shooting film for archive purposes - cause when HD is gone and 4k Cameras come along then all the HD will look terrible...

Oh and your USD60 000 SD camera is now worthless - and the lenses don't fit

my 2 cents

Rolfe
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#18 A.Oliver

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 08:42 AM

Hi, great pics. i am amazed here in the uk there are no film records being made of at least the FA cup and Wimbledon.
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#19 Steven C. Boone

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 08:58 AM

I guess you can tell it was once a dream of mine to have been an NFL Films cinematographer. -lol


Ditto. Never came across another soul who had the same silly dream. I watched those films obsessively as a kid. The classic ones are as poetic and thrilling as any cinema out there, especially with the Facenda narration.
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#20 K Borowski

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 12:20 PM

Great pictures Tim. I have only seen a brief glimpse of an NFL films camera on the sideline once on TV. I was always wondering what sort of cameras and lenses they were shooting with. I echo the sentiment here: It would be great fun shooting for NFL films, even if for just one game. I just saw a print of "March of the Penguins" last night and I was surprised how sharp 16mm on the big screen looked. I don't know about how 16mm V2 500T compares to HD, but the slower film stocks are much sharper than the Hi-Def is. I'm not sure if you can use anything slower than maybe 320 or 500T with such high frame-rates though. I'd imagine that shooting HD in slow motion at night with available lighting would also get rather noisy with the necessary gain boost for such dim brief exposures.

Regards.

Karl Borowski
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