Detroit Red Wings Call on The Studio – B&H for Technical, Creative Assistance
Original Six NHL franchise purchased an Alexa Mini LF camera to expand video-production capabilities
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, professional sports’ heartbeat and pulse helped fans get through the doldrums of daily life. Today, as the U.S. and the rest of the globe battle through this unprecedented era, organizations are still cooking up content and expanding capabilities. To help the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings do that, its Entertainment Services team relied on an established relationship with The Studio – B&H to acquire the ARRI Alexa Mini LF camera.
“We’re producing high-resolution internal content more than we ever have before and wanted to have a camera in our inventory that took advantage of a large format,” says Dan Mannes, coordinating producer, Red Wings. “We did a full analysis of our equipment needs and were really impressed with the offerings in the B&H catalog. Our team is very happy with the versatility of The Mini. It has quickly become my favorite camera.”
Relationship Builders: Red Wings Find Themselves in The Studio
Similar to purchase of a brand-new car, the purchase of new technologies requires extensive research. Prior to the start of the 2019-20 Red Wings season, Mannes and the entertainment-services team were ready to upgrade their equipment. They developed a detailed list of criteria for investing in current needs and long-term content strategy.
“We were also interested in the [ARRI] AMIRA, but the Mini LF launched as we were finalizing our budget and analyzing our needs,” Mannes says. “The Studio staff at B&H was very helpful in fully understanding our goals and providing recommendations.”
The Red Wings and Mannes had previously worked with The Studio – B&H, which was familiar with the club’s content strategy and goals. The relationship led to many collaborative discussions about the best and most affordable options.
“We’ve worked with the Red Wings in the past, and that relationship was helpful throughout this process,” says Michel Suissa, managing director, The Studio – B&H. “Dan Mannes spoke to us about the club’s goal of producing content with more presence and a bit of an edge, leading to a higher production value.”
After many discussions about the Red Wings’ creative vision, Suissa and his team used that familiarity to develop a mixture of tools that would enhance the product of choice.
“We talked about which lens package would work best for the Red Wings, how the camera would be used, and what accessories would best help them achieve their goals,” Suissa explains. “Dan and the entertainment-services team already had technology in-house that is compatible with the Alexa Mini LF camera package, so that helped steer the conversation and home in on the best options for the Red Wings.”
Perfect Fit: Package Offers Content Team Maximum Versatility
When the Red Wings purchased the Alexa Mini LF, the internal content team wasted no time putting the new toy to use.
“Our department is responsible for producing a wide array of content, including documentaries, TV spots, footage for game days and for our social and digital channels,” Mannes says. “The Mini has become our go-to camera, and its versatility has created much more efficiency in our production efforts. Lately, I’ve been shooting scenic shots of the city of Detroit for future use, and they’ve turned out incredible.”
The entertainment-services team also produces a significant amount of content for the Detroit Tigers. The Red Wings and Tigers are owned by the Ilitch family, and the business operations work cross-functionally. The teams’ home venues — Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park, respectively — are located mere steps apart in The District Detroit.
“We shot all of our preseason motion content for the Tigers using The Mini,” says Mannes, adding, “I’ll shoot all of the Red Wings games with the camera to amplify an in-season documentary series, The Winged Wheel, that we are producing.”
Not only is the new camera paying dividends for the Red Wings, but The Studio – B&H has taken valuable lessons that may lead to an even better relationship with the NHL organization.
“It was enlightening for us to see that a lot of these sports teams are migrating towards taking a very different approach on what they want to do outside of live broadcasts,” Suissa says. “They’re embracing cinema cameras, lenses, and everything that gives them more of a storytelling element with dramatic visuals and a shallow [depth of] field. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Red Wings in the future.”