Cinemablogapher – Lions at Saints Week 13

Behind the Scenes, Brian Murray, Cara Angelucci, Cinematography, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints

Editor’s Note: This past weekend, NFL Films cinematographer Brian Murray filmed in and around the Superdome for Week 13’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints.  Today, Brian shares with us some of the details behind what it was like to shoot at the game, what equipment he used, and one of his favorite shots.

NFL Films Cinematographer Brian Murray shoots this week's featured shot. Click the video below to see the result.

1) At NFL Films, we shoot every game in both 16mm film and digital formats.  What was the camera you were using this week?

– This week I filmed with my trusty Aaton XTR-Prod, S16mm camera.

2) Your choice of lens can greatly change the look of the game.  Where you shooting with multiple lenses, or did you stick with one throughout?

– I mainly shot with two S16mm Canon lenses. One was a 7-63mm and the other was an 11-65mm lens.

3) Looking at the shot below, it looks like the camera is moving while it is filming.  Are you walking with it, or is it on a track?

– Since week #1 I’ve tried to incorporate cinematic movement in my creative shots. NFL Films has one of the best camera engineers in the country. He was able to make us small dolly-ing platforms that simply glide on PVC piping. This has made for more dynamic shooting in and around the football field.  

4) We see in the still photo to the right that you were on the edges of the field, right next to the stands, but the wall between the stands and the field is pretty tall.  You would have had to shoot directly up at the ceiling of the dome to get that angle.  Did you just sit the camera on top of something, point it up, and let it roll?  How did you decide to shoot there?

– Much of our success is based on luck. The whole day I kept walking under these fans that were hanging over the edge of the wall. When I looked up, I found it to be an interesting angle. So, when I went back to get the shot, I kind of knew what I was going to get. The lucky part was that the fans were actually cheering at the time! I just propped the camera straight up and let it glide back and forth.  

5) The shot is pretty quick this week (5 sec).  Can you tell us about the time restrictions you have, or the small window of time you have, to get the right shot?

– Filming a football game, as a “Weasel,” you always feel rushed. Truth be told, games fly by extremely fast. I always feel that I’m missing something while I’m shooting something, if that makes sense… “Weasels” normally shoot much of a game with the actual game to their backs. So, we tend to run around based on the crowd. We have to run to get shots and we always don’t make it in time.

6) Did any of the fans in the shot see you were down there?

– I avoid fans seeing me at all costs. I feel that people act differently when they know a camera is in the area. This is my opinion of course. Many people think the opposite of that theory. 

7) Do the fans know you’re with NFL Films, or do they think they’re on the live broadcast?

– It’s a mixed bag when it come to fans recognizing whether I am NFL Films or the live broadcast. I normally see young people thinking I am broadcast but older people seem to be more aware of who we are. 

Click below to view the quick, resulting shot:

Below is a slideshow of photos from Brian’s shoot:

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