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#1 Doug Interrante

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:37 PM

I want to learn a little bit more about NFL Films and their cinematographers and was hoping someone could give me some information. I have done sports photography for the past five years and want to look into NFL Films. I know they use 16 mm because of the enormous amount of film they use each season, but would like information on other equipment and any well known cinematographers that work for them. Any help would be much appreciated.
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#2 John Hall

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:31 PM

http://www.nflfilms.com

Bit of a poorly designed flash site, but some decent information on it. Some info on the coverage setup of each game, and at least a few clear pictures of the equipment they're using.
As you said, they shoot loads of 16mm each game, and nearly all of it at a higher frame rate (for both slow motion replay and to have sharper details for play by play analysis).

Being an NFL Films cinematographer would be the coalescence of the two loves of my life: Film & Football. Maybe I'll have to go back to my high school (Go Central Tech Blues!) and shoot some football footage for the demo reel.
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#3 robtags

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 11:24 PM

I remember watching a special about NFL films one time on TSN or ESPN a while ago. It was pretty in-depth... their film vault is massive. The guy who runs it had some pretty interesting things to say about how they go about filming it as well as their philosophy. They're really passionate about their cinematography.

I'm not sure if this is available, but it would definetly tell you most everything you'd want to know about NFL Films.

Quick google:

"Every year the subsidiary films about 270 games, consisting of about 1,000 miles of film. Since its inception in 1962, NFL Films has shot more than 8,250 games. It also records other sporting events such as the World Series, produces content for the NFL Network, and offers commercial and corporate video production services."
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:34 PM

NFL Films:

http://www.kodak.com...bol/index.shtml (Steve Sabol interview)

http://www.kodak.com...uly99/nfl.shtml
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 10:06 PM

NFL Films:

http://www.kodak.com...bol/index.shtml  (Steve Sabol interview)

http://www.kodak.com...uly99/nfl.shtml

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How would 16mm Kodachrome 40 hold up at a football stadium? I suppose close-ups on the players faces underneath the helmets and face masks wouldn't look so good because of the contrast issues, but the color of the grass and uniforms might look pretty incredible on Kodachrome 16mm.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 10:13 PM

How would 16mm Kodachrome 40 hold up at a football stadium?  I suppose close-ups on the players faces underneath the helmets and face masks wouldn't look so good because of the contrast issues,  but the color of the grass and uniforms might look pretty incredible on Kodachrome 16mm.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


To answer my own question, the Kodachrome would have to avoid the shots where half of the frame is in direct sunlight and the other half is in shadow, aka the great divide.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 10:51 PM

For decades they were using 16mm VNF Ektachrome developed in-house so they would have probably been OK with the contrast of Kodachrome... but not the complexity of processing it nor the speed of it. Remember that some games are under artificial lights, or under overcast weather, and they sometimes shoot high-speed, I assume, for slow-motion, so they need a relatively medium-to-fast stock that can be push-processed when necessary. I don't know what prompted their switchover to 16mm color neg, or why it took so long on the other hand (probably did not want to invest in an ECN2 processor), but it seems obvious considering what they need to see, how they need to shoot it, and how they repurpose the film.
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#8 John Hall

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 09:40 AM

For decades they were using 16mm VNF Ektachrome developed in-house so they would have probably been OK with the contrast of Kodachrome... but not the complexity of processing it nor the speed of it.  Remember that some games are under artificial lights, or under overcast weather, and they sometimes shoot high-speed, I assume, for slow-motion, so they need a relatively medium-to-fast stock that can be push-processed when necessary. I don't know what prompted their switchover to 16mm color neg, or why it took so long on the other hand (probably did not want to invest in an ECN2 processor), but it seems obvious considering what they need to see, how they need to shoot it, and how they repurpose the film.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm sure quick turnaround has always been on of the most driving factors. Footage from Sunday's games (and Monday night's) has to be developed, transfered, corrected, edited & scored by, I'd guess at the latest, saturday night in order to be broadcast on the sunday morning pregame.
When you consider the amount of stock they must shoot in a weekend (approx 15 games, all the coverage, plus shooting most of it for slow motion), it must necessitate not only in-house processing, but probably also the most time effecient system (e.g. reversal).
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#9 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 09:49 AM

You can certainly see the improved image quality since they switched to using color negative film. Speed and latitude are very important for this kind of shooting.

I recall that the normal schedule is to air the edited production by mid-week. The HBO series "Inside the NFL" airs on Wednesday, and recaps all the weekend games:

http://www.nflfilms.com/listings/
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#10 Sam Wells

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 10:55 AM

I've used them for processing. The operation is impressive.

In the Steenbeck days the camera original was cut clip to clip so that various shows could be cut from that original. Essentially the whole operation was based on a kind of zero-cut method.

Now they're damn near editing right off the telecine output !

-Sam
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