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Look Mom, I'm on the Jumbotron! (August 2017) - One of the staples of game operations and entertainment is the Cam. Making your fans the star of the show and setting them up in fun and interesting ways. This month we look at a slew of Cam options, along with tips and insight from industry leaders on how to make your next Cam even better
We start with Kiss Cam, and look across at about 20 cams. Over time we will add to an update this list. For each we summarize, include a video sample of the Cam in execution and sprinkle notes and tips from game directors across sports.
Jonny Greco (VP of Events & Entertainment, NHL Vegas Golden Knights) is a long time video director who has produced countless "Cams". He sees the video director role more as a Storyteller, which really helps understand how to best produce these segments. We start with part of our interview with Jonny talking about Cams and storytelling.
KISS CAM with Jonny Greco (Vegas Golden Knights)
Cudo: Let's talk about the on Cams, which I always think that the classic example is the easiest one to explain to people is kiss cam where you just simply frame two people up and maybe got a graphic up there and encourage them to smooch. And then off of that we've had countless varieties of Cams and we'll talk about a bunch of our favorites, but so we're talking about the kind of staging of that simple cam. So let's talk in simple terms, and obviously you use kiss cam. Is that a good example?
Greco: Yeah. I mean, kiss cam is the golden standard and when you think of being a young fan or a first timer at any sort of event ever one of the things you want to do is catch a baseball if you're at a baseball game and either second or maybe first is get on the big video screen. And kiss cam is one of the most infamous in story cams, and probably one of the first ones ever really and people go it. When kiss cam is up people know what they've got to do.
Cudo: I always laugh because I feel like kiss cam is so powerful it overrides a lot of cams. You might try to produce another Cam, you'll frame it and say, hey it's dance cam on the screen, then you put two people up and they just want to kiss. It's like a default reaction when two people are on the screen.
Greco: Yeah. We've kind of trained our fans to react that way so it's a very amorous effect.
Cudo: So, kiss cam is a standard and I think actually for the context of our discussion it's probably easiest to keep talking about kiss cam as our example as we talk about different specifics. So, for framing up your cam, obviously you frame it up so you can see what's happening in the middle of it. You may wrap it around or put in a frame around it with the graphics that says kiss or the graphics that says do whatever. So it's probably good way to continue talk about things. So, to talk about how you frame things out and what you talk to your camera ops and what they should be looking for and how you're talking them? Obviously, you've called things as a director so give us an idea of how you call that to your camera ops and what you're asking them to do.
Greco: Yeah, sure thing. So I'm a big team guy and even something like kiss cam, which is just stable at most sporting events, requires to get those extra inches and it really requires the proper set up. You want to make sure you have a good idea in place and again something like kiss cam, everyone knows what it is but if you have a certain kind of graphic and maybe it's a mistletoe cam where there is a mistletoe on the front. Maybe it's kiss the celebrity cam and you have somebody on the side and you want as a graphic to the side, you want to make sure the first thing you do is sit with your camera guys, show them all the graphic, show them the plan of what you do, explain the kind of framing you're going to do. Sometimes you'll do a DVD effect with a camera or a slide over when the TV sets it up and sometimes it's just frame it right or frame it left or whatever.
So, I think it's always really important to show your camera guys early on what the plan is and to go again through the storytelling, how we want to set up our shots, what sort of shots we're looking for you. Everyone knows that old people always get a really great reaction and everyone wants to see a grandma and grandpa hugging. There's something sweet about it and everyone wants to see the little tiny kid. I mean, those are your home runs.
Obviously, whenever you can get celebrities involved, it's an incredible thing and whenever you can get players involved that's also an incredible thing. But essentially you're telling a story and you want to make sure everybody has buy-in when you go in for it and when the Gameops director or producer calls, let's go to this and you started up, everybody is on the same page going in. And like any good story, you have your setup, you kind of have the story, ebbs and flows a little bit and then you want to have a nice strong finish at the end in and if you're mapping out the scenarios well then have a kick back time out or kick back promotion and everyone is happy. The partners, the fans in my opinion is the most important and the crew and everybody that was a part of it feels like and not like they feel like it, they are a part of this experience and that continues on and on and on to all the other ones you want to try which is very, very cool.
Cudo: Well, I think that's a great point and you talked about telling a story where there's a beginning, middle and an end. And I think a lot of cams like I think if you've seen a lot of successful ones and the ones that are to me are the ones that you said they have set up words like you're telling a story of the kiss cam.
Greco: You've got a couple of the kind of either sweet moments or the interesting moments where there is grandparents are a mom with her son and that kind of thing and then you have a punch line and then obviously again using kiss cam as an example a lot of times you'll see them frame up two opposing players on the bench as they're going to kiss or two referees or whatever. Maybe have a plan to do your mascot or something along those lines, but again that's part of storytelling is writing that story from the beginning, a middle and an end and having a hook at the end. So, that's a great point that a cam is a little bit more than just pointing your camera, it's about telling your story.
Here's a great sampling of Kiss Cam, the grand-daddy of Cams. Full of joy, laughs, love, celebrities, awkward moments and ripe for fun.
Note: A well-done Kiss Cam was even a one-time Best of Gameops.com Winner for Best Promotion, won by the Minnesota Twins. Best of 2010: The Gameops.com Review
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