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April 2, 2024
Peter Calder

LeagueBiz Season 2: Behind The Scenes (2 minute read)

With the final episodes out of LeagueBiz season 2, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on our production week that was just over a year ago, Salt Lake City NBA All-Star 2023. 

This was our biggest production at that point, comprising 12 lights, 15 cameras and six microphones. We filmed ten episodes in 3 days.

What worked: 

To try and film ten episodes in 3 days isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. One big change between the first season and this one was the location. We chose to film at just one location for all episodes, and this allowed us to create a larger, more detailed and ultimately higher level of quality set because we didn’t need to pack up and move between episodes. This worked very well and allowed us to have talent move in and out with minimal transition time and film more episodes. 

This one location we chose was also important because we didn’t just want to pick a “blank” studio and build from there. It had to align with our creative vision for the season, as well as a great place for talent and other guests to enjoy being on set. 

This location ticked all those boxes that were essential to making the project work. 

Challenges

The area we film in can always be challenging for different reasons; for this filming session, we were in Salt Lake City. From an infrastructure standpoint, this can create obstacles in obtaining everything we need. 

Luckily, we were able to get everything we needed to pull it off; this included going to various rental houses for specialty equipment set design locations spread across the city and even getting some ladders from Home Depot. We also allocated an entire production day for just setting up, which allowed us to troubleshoot and spend more time building the set and making sure we had every detail necessary before going to the camera the next day. 

Another challenge we faced was mounting the main overhead light source; in most studios, there is what is known as a “grid” for mounting equipment. However, the location we wanted to use did not have a grid. However, it did have steel beams that ended up being able to work as mounting points, so we had to use a lot of different techniques to adhere the equipment to the beams in a safe way. 

Importance of planning: It is so important to plan anything. When dropping into a new location or place and creating a show of this scale, planning is imperative. 

Firstly, we plan out the vision and look for the show we are going to achieve, then make creative decisions on how we are going to pull off the vision. 

Lastly, finding the actual equipment and other details needed to pull off the production. When using 15 cameras, it’s important to get all the necessary elements for each to do what we want it to do for the production. For example, we used specialty lenses for all the angles, and they may require mounts or specific camera bodies to be paired with them, depending on what we’re using that angle for. 

There are also a lot of things to think about with lighting, not just lighting your subjects but also the background, foreground and entire set. Make sure that you have the necessary accessories for each light; for example, the tube lights shown in the frame during this production needed specific mounts and even something as seemingly small as plenty of power extensions so we didn’t have to rely on battery power throughout each production day. 

Special thanks to the content team that worked on the ground during the production:

Kurt Benson - Camera Operator / Sound Recordist 

Peter Calder - Director / Camera Operator 

Will Harrington - Design Set / Camera Operator 

Hong Lau - Assistant Director / Camera Operator / Sound Recordist 

Sophia Rooke - Head of Photography / Camera Operator