OAKLAND, CALIF.—The awarding-winning Golden State Warriors Studio is a very busy production facility. Tasked with producing in-house video for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, “Warriors Studio” produces video content for the scoreboard and LED displays at Oracle Arena, home court for the 2015 NBA Champion. Warriors Studio also shoots and creates team commercials, online video content for warriors.com, and video for the team’s social media platforms. The unit also makes feature-length TV series that are aired on regional sports networks such as Comcast SportsNet Bay Area TV (CSN Bay Area).
Warriors Studio produces a wealth of award-winning broadcast and online content from a compact production facility. Credit: Warriors Studio
By “award-winning,” we’re talking Emmys: Warriors Studio won two Northern California Emmys in 2015 for their in-house produced content. The first Emmy was in the Sports-Daily or Weekly Program/Series category for “Heroes’ Journey,” an episode of their “Warriors Ground” series first broadcast on CSN Bay Area. The second Emmy was given for Warriors Studio’s feature “Marcel Reese Pride of the Bay,” which was shown on warriors.com.
These programs, plus all of Warriors Studio’ wide-ranging portfolio of original content, were produced by a team of about a dozen full timers and as many part-timers, headquartered at the Warriors Studio production facility at the team’s offices in downtown Oakland.
“We are a very active team,” said Blake Wilberding, Warriors Studio’s director of production. “On average, we are doing one or more shoots on location per day, plus all the editing and post-production that goes with turning these shoots into polished video content.”
Warriors Studio essentially operates as an ENG-style production company. Their camera people are constantly moving from place to place; getting video for everything from team documentaries and online content to promotional videos with corporate partners like ride-sharing provider Uber.
“We are 15-20 minutes’ drive from Oracle Arena,” said Wilberding. “Our people have to go there anytime we need to do a shoot with the team—and bring our own equipment, since we don’t own the arena.”
To accomplish this, Warriors Studio relies on a range of HD ENG cameras, including the Canon XF100, Canon XF300, Sony NEX-FS700R, and Sony PXW-FS7.
“Because the Oracle Arena’s video scoreboard and monitors are in full HD, we stick to HD cameras,” Wilberding said. “We have done some experimental 4K shooting with rented RED cameras, but we have no plans to move to 4K until we move to our new arena, the Chase Center stadium in San Francisco.”
At press time, Wilberding was unsure when this move will take place, however in a recent interview with “The Mercury News,” GSW Team President Rick Welts said he hopes to break ground for the new stadium in early 2017 and ready by the 2019-2020 season.
On the editing/playout side, Warriors Studio is built upon the Avid MediaCentral platform with its Avid Everywhere functionality. MediaCentral’s ability to move, edit, share and playout video across various locations is nicely suited to the Warriors Studio’s ENG-style, multilocation shooting style.
All of Warriors Studio’s content is produced using the Avid MediaCentral platform. Credit: Warriors Studio
The Avid MediaCentral system even allows production teams in different locations to virtually work together in real-time, just as if they were in the same facility. This is a major benefit for the Warriors Studio’s shooters when they are accompanying the team in other cities—and trying to produce timely content for fast turnaround on the team’s warriors.com site.
“We’re a small studio doing the work of a huge facility, with Avid as our backbone,” said Wilberding. “We can now hire freelance editors even if they’re 300 miles away, and production staff on the road can quickly access content in our archives remotely.”
IS CALM ON THE HORIZON?
Ask Wilberding about the most challenging part of his job, and he’ll point to the fast pace of life at Warriors Studio. “It is the workload,” he explained. “We are doing all kinds of shoots in all kinds of locations, and turning out a lot of content given the small size of our production team.”
That said, it appears that the crew at Warriors Studio cope with stress by rising to the challenge. How else can one explain not just their prodigious output, but the quality they maintain despite the fast pace; including Warriors Studio’s two Emmy wins? (Worth noting: Warriors TV broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald, Jim Barnett and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude also won an Emmy for their work on the Warriors vs. Kings game on Jan. 23, 2015—seen on CSN Bay Area—where the Warriors won 126-101.)
Meanwhile, the hectic pace at Warriors Studio may be eased in a few years’ time, when the Golden State Warriors move into their new home. “Once we are there, we should have everything under one roof,” said Wilberding. “That should bring at least some calm to Warriors Studios—although we’ll likely be as busy as ever!”
James Careless is an award-winning journalist who has written for TV Technology since the 1990s. He has covered HDTV from the days of the six competing HDTV formats that led to the 1993 Grand Alliance, and onwards through ATSC 3.0 and OTT. He also writes for Radio World, along with other publications in aerospace, defense, public safety, streaming media, plus the amusement park industry for something different.
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