By: Demi Ratchford & Emma Taylor
Sprints, weights, reps. Cutting, editing, storytelling.
Producers must get back in shape just as players do when preseason rolls around.
Preseason is to the players as Hard Knocks is to the NFL Films Producers. Hard Knocks Producer Greg Smith feels that August is the hardest month due to the rigorous rush of completing each weekly episode. “The equivalent of guys running sprints is us getting back into editing shape,” says Smith. The beginning of the season to him is a moment to “exhale” and enjoy his favorite part of the job – the games. While the storylines may change throughout the season, the routine stays the same. Producers have their weekly shows and their routines for completing them, which allows for a smooth football season.
Producers aren’t the only ones putting in reps during the preseason.
For the camera department, it’s tryout season. Camerawoman Hannah Epstein explained that “rookies” get to try out to be NFL Films cinematographers by shooting preseason games. But not everyone makes the cut. About five to seven rookies try to make a good impression, but usually only one or two make the team. Once the team is fully assembled, each week consists of triple checking equipment. Epstein works with Nick Straus and Chris Mercury to identify any camera injuries, make repairs, and get the equipment ready for each game.
But there are more than just producers and cameras behind the scenes at NFL Films. Behind every player, there’s a coach. Behind every cameraman, there’s a Field Operations Manager. And just as a coach has to adjust his lineup depending on team match ups or player injuries, our Field Operations department has to adjust our crews on the field each week. Jon Simmons works here in Field Ops, and he explained that “it’s like putting together a puzzle that’s constantly changing.” By directing freelancers located in every city, our Field Ops department is strategically coaching a nationwide team in order for NFL Films to document every game thoroughly and win the weekend.
With the 2016 football season finally upon us, NFL Films is warmed up and ready for the games to begin.