A New Season Begins

Over the summer, I had a little more of this thing called “time” than I usually have. I actually took vacation days. Out of character stuff. I had this “time” and got all sorts of ideas. Updating and maintaining a website, regularly blogging… Seems silly in hindsight. Being bad at updating in August was slightly unexpected, but as anyone who works in a basketball/hockey arena can tell you (probably most of your social circle), September is where the action is. All the shit you talk about getting things done in June, July, and August- September is when you have to actually make things happen.

And how I tried, people. How I tried. As your tight social network of basketball/hockey arena insiders have probably informed you, you never have the time you think you have, and September is a bitch. But by hell or high water, the home opener is coming October 5th.

And there’s a lot to get done. And I try to get as much as I can get done in August. I gave myself a big plate. The final in-arena look and feel, which extends to player assets, matchup assets, etc. You try to stay enough ahead of so that you can be a little in the clear when the turn of the calendar happens. October 1st is our game ops day and opening night is the 5th. From Monday to Friday, you have to get most of your player assets for the year and get them turned around in a form that’s acceptable.

Based on Nick Prost’s look and feel assets and a motion graphics kit prepared from those assets by Matt Zronek and myself. I’m reasonably satisfied with this effort. Plenty to tweak, but to design for 15 different in-arena sign dimensions, 12 teams, and 25 players, spit out about 400 exported deliverable files with enough time to check and fix major mistakes is a pretty daunting task. I try to find the balance between complexity but keeping render time reasonable. Oh, and you’re doing that while also producing, shooting, editing, animating, and sound editing the main video centerpiece of the season, the show open.

The good thing about working on everything at the same time is creating consistency. When you’re futzin’ around and try something in one place, if it clicks, it clicks every where else throughout the body. Which is quite helpful with the tight turn around between shoot and final open video, every moment you can save is crucial. Especially because sometimes you want to do things like eat, sleep, and just not work.

But it’s a big video that’s gotta get done. And this one is pretty okay in my book. The budget is silly low, and I didn’t have what I hoped for lighting wise. I couldn’t source another large green screen so we shot it on blue which added a lot of effort to get a solid key. You have an hour to shoot what you need. And visual effects and animating just take an ass-load of tedious time. But cohorts Mark Zaremba and Josh Sabo put together a incredibly strong track list to choose from, and Papa Roach’s “Born For Greatness” was a clear favorite. And yeah, we were all kind surprised about that Papa Roach. And as many times I’ve had to hear it over the last month, I don’t hate it yet. We were able to decide on a song quicker than I’ve ever had, and I was able to get the highlights cut and visuals timed out ahead of the shoot. While look and feel element designs ate in to what I hoped to devote to the open, I was still able to keep in front of it.

What I’m satisfied with is that given all the constraints, I mostly did what I set out to do with the video. Of course, I’m not so satisfied that I’m not gonna sink a bunch of hours into improving it for November and on. But the most satisfying thing is making it out the other end of another opening weekend, set up for what is hopefully another successful season entertaining crowds at The Q.