Courtside to Cloud: Inside the Golden State Warriors’ Incredibly Fast Video Workflow

Courtside to Cloud: Inside the Golden State Warriors’ Incredibly Fast Video Workflow

When you’re trying to match the pace of players like Stephen Curry while meeting the expectations of Golden State Warriors fans around the world, you and your team need to be at peak fitness, both on-court and off.

For Tom Frenette, lead videographer for the Dubs, this means equipping his crew with the right tools for the job, so that they can focus on getting that record-busting three-pointer from the arena to the fans faster than you’d think possible.

On-court, Tom and his team capture the action with RED DSMC2 Gemini 5K S35 sensor bodies paired with DSMC2 Production Modules.

These are fitted with the Canon CINE-SERVO 25-250mm T2.95 lens, which is fast and long enough to capture the action just about anywhere in the court and matches the Gemini’s S35 sensor perfectly. (They previously used the Fujinon XK620 Cabrio T3.5 20-120mm which you’ll see later in the article, but recently upgraded for the faster, longer Canon glass.)

RED Gemini 5K brain
The Warriors video team uses RED’s 5K Gemini to shoot in 4K@120fps. Image © RED

The cameras are also fitted with the Teradek CUBE 655, which is paired to a Frame.io Camera to Cloud project for the game. Original camera files are recorded in-camera at 4K in 120fps so that no motion is missed, while the Teradek pushes 1080p 23.98fps 10Mbps h.264 files across wifi to C2C where the editors—who might be upstairs in the arena or off-site—can pick them up and start work.

The Warriors’ shoulder rig, complete with Teradek CUBE655.
The Warriors’ original shoulder rig with the Teradek CUBE655 and Fujinon Cabrio lens.

The edit team works natively with Adobe Premiere Pro, so the C2C files flow straight into the software, allowing titles and clip assemblies to be made as quickly as possible, with Frame.io presentation links available to project stakeholders for feedback and sign-off.

Tom has also come up with an innovative workflow tweak that allows him to send his 120fps footage via C2C so that his editors aren’t kept waiting for those dramatic slow-mo shots. He simply switches the camera to playback mode and plays the clips back at 23.98 while streaming through the Teradek CUBE.

All of which creates a simple, highly effective courtside to cloud workflow that lets them get their branded, edited clips to Twitter in three minutes flat.

Like this example…

In doing so, they remove almost all of the time constraints of legacy workflows and can post high-octane moments from the game within minutes of them taking place. So if you’re looking for the fastest member of the Golden State Warriors team, Stephen Curry’s facing some stiff competition. And if you’re thinking that you can’t have fast and effective, check out the Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube stats on this video. That’s over 3M views across social for a single piece of content.

And, according to Tom, the process is nearly flawless. The only catch is that some arenas have wifi that’s not quite as robust as the Chase Center’s, so his solution is to add more 5G hotspots to the video crew’s court-side equipment list.

In the meantime, the original camera files are still available and added to the Frame.io project later. These files can then be used for long-form projects, highlight videos, and sponsorship work. (And the editors can start work on the proxy files and relink them to the originals if there’s a rush on.) Because Tom’s team uses a logical date + opponent project structure, they can quickly find pull content from any game stored on their account. And they can use Frame.io’s commenting and search functions to tag moments in-game for easy recovery later.

As Tom puts it, “If we need to cross-reference something else later down the line, or go to an old clip that we’ve tagged or labeled, we can pull that up from a game. If we have a remote editor working from an airport or even from the plane we could pull up a proxy file and  download it for a quick turn edit.”

So there’s no secret to it. When you have the best players in the game, give them the best tools for the job and watch them fly.

If you’d like to learn more about the Golden State Warriors’ workflow, or watch a live demonstration of Frame.io C2C in action, be sure to check out the video at the top of this article.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Tom and his team for being so open with their accelerated courtside video workflow and we wish them the best for the season ahead.

Thank you to Laurence Grayson for contributing this article.

After a career spanning [mumble] years and roles that include creative lead, video producer, tech journalist, designer, and envelope stuffer, Laurence is now an editor for Adobe/Frame.io. This entirely unexpected turn of events has made him extremely happy but, being British, he finds it hard to express this emotion.

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