Slam dunk goes Global on social media with NBA

Filming celebrities often took place during breakfast!

Filming celebrities often took place during breakfast!

Real Madrid and Barcelona may be two of the biggest names in European football, but the names represent significant forces in the world of basketball, too. Earlier this year, both teams hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder side as part of the NBA (National Basketball Association) Global Games – a series of matches featuring NBA teams that are played outside the United States and Canada.

Alongside traditional television coverage of the events, the NBA commissioned London based Tiger Films, part of DMS, to provide additional material for its various social media outlets.

“A few years ago, the NBA started off working primarily with our localisation division at DMS to repurpose US content for UK use,” explains Samantha Whitehouse, head of Tiger Films. “From that beginning, the relationship grew as the NBA started to become aware of the variety of services that DMS can provide. Those facilities include content production and post-production, media monitoring and distribution services. Following those initial projects, we are now providing support to the wider company for clearance and distribution of UK TV spots.”

As well as the office in London, the NBA has a considerable presence in Spain because of the popularity of the sport in that market. The aim of both offices is to expand the appeal of basketball to a wider audience.

Reactive responses

Whitehouse says that the nature of the work on big NBA events like the Games in Madrid and Barcelona means that the team need to be highly reactive as the event unfolds. “The NBA asked us to have two crews out in Spain who would be able to produce and shoot content every day. In addition, we need to operate on-site editing capabilities to enable fast turnarounds of the material. We shot a wide variety of content around the games in Madrid and Barcelona including fan zone activities, interviews with players and legends, action at the new NBA café as well as various happenings in the venues and at the games themselves. It’s really a case of shooting any and everything that surrounds the games.”

Tiger Films took a team of seven to the Spanish venues for the duration of the Global Games event. “Alongside myself, we had a production coordinator, two camera operators, two sound engineers and an editor,” reveals Whitehouse. “We utilised two Canon C300 camcorders, full sound kits, a DJI Osmo and a Mevo for all of our filming requirements. The Mevo camera was used for a couple of simple live streams from the side of the court at the NBA Fan Zone in Madrid.”

Whitehouse says that this camera set up is ideal for the live streaming that sometimes accompanies the activities surrounding the games. The speedy set up of the camera means that the production team can respond very quickly when the need arises. “Often we don’t know who we might get to interview until the very last minute. Mevo is much better than someone simply holding a mobile phone in the corner of a room. It gives high production values and even though it just offers a wide shot, controlling it from a mobile phone means you can select close ups from that wide shot and cut between interviewer and interviewee.”

A young fan was enthralled at the chance to meet legend Steven Adams

A young fan was enthralled at the chance to meet legend Steven Adams

She continues, “On the post side, we took out a MacBook pro with Adobe Premiere and an external monitor to set up a mobile edit station. Editing was done in hotel rooms, reception areas, media rooms in stadiums, basically wherever it needed to be!”

Location editing

To enable the content generated from both the Madrid and Barcelona events to be shared when it was most relevant, much of the editing and delivery was accomplished while the crew was in Spain. Five edited pieces were posted across the NBA social media pages during the trip, most of which were completed the same day as shooting. Once editing was completed, the files were sent to a dedicated social media department at the NBA headquarters from where the schedule for playout was accomplished.

Multiple pieces have been finished since from footage collected in Spain including pieces for the association’s ongoing ‘This Is Why We Play’ slogan. This campaign involves interviewing a number of legends of the sport or personalities who enjoy basketball and discussing why they became involved with basketball and what the NBA means to them. “We have completed 20 such programmes, but there are still future projects based on this idea. In all, there should be around 35 programmes by the time we have finished,” adds Whitehouse.

Given the volume and variety of work that Tiger Films undertakes for the association, involving the company in the Madrid and Barcelona games made a great deal of sense. “Rather than use a local Spanish facility, our understanding of how the NBA production team worked meant we could easily create content as quickly as if they were in the UK with their usual resources around them. We are familiar with all of their on-going campaigns having worked across nearly all of them and know their way of working, their style and what they want from their videos.”

Whitehouse says that the reaction to the project has been very positive. “Our contacts at the NBA, their wider teams, the talent involved in the pieces and the NBA teams themselves have all been really happy with the content and continue to share it across their social media platforms.”

By way of proof, she cites an interview with Steven Adams, a New Zealand professional player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The conversation, conducted by Adam’s biggest fan, talk show host Guillermo, achieved viewing figures approaching one million. Other segments were equally well received – attracting viewership in the hundreds of thousands.

Next challenge

A small crew from Tiger Films achieved a great deal in Spain

A small crew from Tiger Films achieved a great deal in Spain

The next big event is the NBA Global Game in January which is being played at the O2 in London. “This will involve two NBA teams so there is considerable interest in the event. The NBA is already in pre-production with Tiger Films for filming every day during the week of the game and we will no doubt be supporting them across a variety of different shoots, events and subsequent edits, both in the run up to the game and after it.  Because of the huge amount of interest that the Spanish experience generated, we will be using a bigger crew at the O2. It will be much more robust production set-up. And we are excited to build on the success of the games in Spain with even more engaging content coming from the London game,” states Whitehouse.

Mark Kossick, the NBA’s associate vice-president, content – EMEA adds: “Following more than 15 years with the league in the US, I moved to London to create a team specifically focused on developing local content in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) region. Whether captured in native language, produced in-market or just locally relevant, this content has proven valuable to our EMEA media partners and fans who follow local NBA institutional channels. The challenge will always be to create great content and publish it in the right places at the right times with the ultimate goal of raising awareness and acquiring new fans.”

He continues: “With the ever-growing importance of producing engaging video content in the world of sports, it has been fantastic to have such a dedicated and talented team in Tiger Films working with us. Over the past year, we have developed a relationship that strengthens more and more as the volume of content we are looking to produce continues to increase.”

He says that the variety of shoots that have been carried out together is wide-spread. “From dunking basketballs at Lord’s to Facebook Live streams to millions of NBA fans, the team at Tiger are constantly showcasing their versatility. In the editing room, the quality of work is extremely high and I have no doubt the work we are doing together is helping to grow the game of basketball across the region. In short, Tiger Films have been a tremendous partner, essentially functioning as an extension of our Global Content team here in EMEA.”

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