On the Fly: Los Angeles Kings Make Quick Switch to Adobe Premiere Pro To Capture Stanley Cup Moments
Quite a lot has changed in Los Angeles over the past year. In April 2012, the L.A. Kings were little more than an eighth-seed that had squeaked into the Playoffs. Now Staples Center is home to a Stanley Cup banner, one of the most popular Twitter handles in sports, and a video-production team that has opportunistically risen to the occasion to capture one of the most exciting and successful stretches in franchise history.
KingsVision, the team’s video-production arm, takes on the task of creating programming for everything from the club’s Website, network partners, and social-media platforms. During the 2012 Stanley Cup run, KingsVision produced a whopping 800+ pieces of original video content, using most of them in the award-winning series Stanley Cup Moments, which KingsVision put the finishing touches on earlier this year.
What makes it even more impressive is that KingsVision handled this huge programming load while undergoing major workflow changes behind the scenes. At the center of that change was one all too familiar to many in the postproduction world today: a switch from Apple Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro.
“When we first sat down to do Stanley Cup Moments, we were comfortable with Final Cut, and we did the first episode on Final Cut,” says Aaron Brenner, director of video production for the LA Kings. “We made that first episode on Final Cut, and its shortcomings became apparent very early. I really think that’s part of what leaned us toward saying, ‘You know what, let’s just learn it. Let’s do it and roll up our sleeves. If Premiere is really where we’re going to go, let’s see what it can do.’ And it shined.”
By the time the team hoisted the Cup and the season was over, Brenner and his crew had shot all the footage and simply needed to add the interviews. During the offseason (which was extended by the NHL Lockout), KingsVision spent 20 days capturing 35 interviews, some of which, according to Brenner, were in excess of three hours each.
KingsVision began releasing episodes of Stanley Cup Moments in February, following the start of the shortened NHL season. A total of 36 editions were produced, with the last airing the day before the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We were right up against the gun,” says Brenner, noting that his crew could churn out an episode of Stanley Cup Moments in about five or six days, although there were times when the crew was working on as many as 10 at a time. “Literally, we’d drop in the last little color effect, tweak an edit just a little, and it would be live within an hour.”
Making such a substantial workflow change midseason is a brave undertaking, but Brenner says Adobe Premiere Pro fit his crew’s needs so seamlessly that it was a welcome challenge.
“It wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be,” he says. “There were definitely a few workflow changes, but we almost needed them. I think most people in postproduction and especially in sports feel like they have their workflow down to a science, get something done, and move on to the next thing. So it’s nice to see a little bit of new thinking in some areas. Like how you can take media right off the camera and just start working. That’s something a lot of people have talked about for years, but now we’re seeing it in the flesh, and you can do it in real time.”
Although Stanley Cup Moments was produced entirely on Adobe Premiere Pro, many day-to-day interviews and postgame video content this past season was still edited on Final Cut Pro. The plan for the upcoming offseason is to get the rest of the KingsVision crew trained on Premiere Pro so the entire staff can be working on it by the start of the 2013/14 campaign in October.
“We get the question all of the time, what do you guys do all summer?” says Brenner. “The truth is, all summer really isn’t that long. It only lasts about 100 days and sometimes less when you keep going as deep [into the Playoffs] as we go. But what I will say is that we’ve got a ton of content coming out.”
Included in that upcoming programming is behind-the-scenes interviews of the Ice Girls calendar shoot (3½ hours of content produced) and more great-moments pieces built around the team’s Western Conference Finals run this season.