Sunday, August 3, 2008

Got HBO?

Starting this Wednesday, HBO will begin airing the five-episode series of Hard Knocks featuring the Dallas Cowboys training camp. Here's a look at part of the process:
There are four cameras rolling at every practice, and after practice, they follow players everywhere around the River Ridge facility, from meeting rooms to training rooms. There are even four rooms - owner and general manager Jerry Jones' office, his son and right hand man, Stephen Jones' office and two meeting rooms for players and coaches - equipped with robotic cameras to capture every activity going on inside.

Capturing everything is impossible, so the producers and directors at NFL Films map out potential storylines to pursue. At every practice, and even before and after, every camera crew has an assignment for what or who to shoot. These assignments usually coincide with the six Cowboys - players and coaches - who are mic-ed up at every practice with wireless microphones.

Even once that "extraordinary material" is identified, Rodgers must make more tough decisions about what makes the show. As of this past Wednesday, he said he has 40 solid storylines in the works, but at most only half will actually make the final cut. Those storylines are allowed to develop until a few days before each episode airs, although if something important happens a day before each episode premieres, Rodgers will bend over backwards to adjust.

"The process, technically, to get this out the door and to HBO is absolutely frightening," Rodgers said. "We actually drive our final tape, when it's done, to HBO, and it gets to HBO in New York about an hour before it airs."
Interesting look at how Hard Knocks is created. Wouldn't it be nice if America's Team were the team featured every year?

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