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  • Brady Gilliam

Sports and Athletics Marketing: Leveraging Video Production for Success - Grand Raggidy Roller Derby

Updated: Aug 22, 2023


Sports Video Production - Visionaery Productions


In an age where visual content reigns supreme, video production has become a pivotal marketing platform for athletic teams. Video breathes life into the raw energy, dedication, and competitive spirit that defines sports, offering a dynamic medium for teams to engage audiences, bolster their brand, and expand their reach. From the local leagues to professional sports conglomerates, the power of video transcends boundaries, making it an indispensable tool for athletic teams of all sizes and disciplines. In this case study, we'll explore our journey with the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team, showcasing how video production captivated their fans and ignited new interest in this thrilling sport.

CHALLENGE


The Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team approached us to help produce promotional video content to help grow the team. After the initial discussions with the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team, it was clear that they were eager to increase their presence both in the local community and on a global scale. As a "founding member league" of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), they had already established a reputation for being a competitive and passionate team. However, despite their impressive credentials and history, they were facing three key challenges:

  1. Increasing Athlete Recruitment: GRRD needed to attract new, talented athletes to their team. They were looking for a way to showcase the thrill and camaraderie of roller derby and the benefits of joining their league.

  2. Boosting Fan Attendance: While they had a dedicated fan base, GRRD wanted to bring in larger crowds to their games. They aimed to create a vibrant, energetic atmosphere that would draw in local supporters and enhance the experience for their athletes.

  3. Raising Sport Awareness: Despite the excitement and dynamism of roller derby, many people in their local community and beyond were unaware of the sport. GRRD sought to educate the public about roller derby, sparking interest and inspiring newcomers to join the team or become fans.

At Visionaery Productions, we understood the unique challenges and goals presented by GRRD. Our team was excited to take on the task, eager to leverage our expertise in video production to help propel the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team to new heights. With careful planning and a deep understanding of the team's mission and values, we created a series of promotional videos that would encapsulate the spirit of GRRD and the thrill of roller derby.

SOLUTION


At Visionaery Productions, we believe in the power of storytelling is to connect and engage audiences. Our proposed solution for the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team was a multi-pronged approach that would showcase the team and tell their story in a compelling and relatable way.

  1. Promotional Video: The first component of our solution was to produce a promotional video that would provide background information about the team. To personalize this narrative and foster a sense of connection with the audience, we focused on three of GRRD's standout players. By bringing their stories to the forefront, we aimed to make the team more relatable to potential new athletes and fans.

  2. Player Testimonials: To further humanize the team and provide insight into the exciting world of roller derby, we would create testimonial videos featuring the same three players. In these videos, they would share their personal experiences, including what drew them to the sport, why they love being part of GRRD, and what it means to be a part of the roller derby community. These testimonials would serve as powerful recruitment tools, appealing to potential athletes' desires for camaraderie, competition, and personal growth.

  3. Action-Packed Trailer: We proposed a high-energy, action-packed trailer video to ignite excitement among current fans and attract new ones. This video would feature thrilling footage from the team's games, showcasing the speed, skill, and intensity that make roller derby such a captivating sport.


Throughout each of these videos, we would consistently incorporate GRRD's brand colors and voice to strengthen its brand identity and provide a unified, cohesive viewer experience.


Our team at Visionaery Productions was confident that this multi-faceted approach would address GRRD's challenges head-on. By sharing the team's story, showcasing their athletes' dedication and passion, and capturing their sport's excitement, we would help GRRD attract new athletes, increase fan attendance, and raise awareness of roller derby. With this comprehensive plan, we were ready to bring our proposal to life and help the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team achieve its goals.


Learn more about working with Visionaery on your next sports or fitness video production by clicking here.


PROCESS


COVID-19 Delay


Just as we were gearing up to bring our vision to life, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, bringing unprecedented challenges. As the world went into lockdown, the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team, like so many other sports teams, had to halt their practices and games. The lockdown was a tremendous blow for a sport that thrives on the energy of face-to-face competition and the camaraderie of team practice. The extended hiatus led to a decrease in the team's size.

Despite the circumstances, their dedication to the team and their beloved sport remained. As global conditions began to improve and the team found the chance to regroup, we revisited our initial plan, invigorated with a renewed sense of mission.


The tale of the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team now served as a powerful testament to their passion for roller derby and an uplifting narrative of determination. With the go-ahead to proceed, we were more driven than ever to assist the team in recruiting new players, rekindling fan engagement, and strengthening their community. The project had gained a new depth of meaning, and we were eager to bring this narrative to life on screen.


Pre-Production


Next came the pre-production phase, where we took our plan from paper to practice. Pre-production involved numerous critical steps, including scriptwriting, technical scouting of the location, equipment preparation and rental, crew assembly, finding reference imagery, and drafting a production schedule, among other things.

We entrusted the scriptwriting process to our experienced scriptwriter, who worked closely with us to ensure we captured the story authentically. Simultaneously, we conducted technical scouting at the GR Skate and Event Center, the team's practice ground, and our chosen filming location. While it had the spirit and familiarity we were looking for, it also posed several challenges, particularly regarding lighting. With strobes, LEDs, and flashing lights of all sorts, we needed to ensure we could have complete control over the environment for optimal filming conditions.

Location Scout Images


To tackle this, we made multiple visits to the location, dedicating one day to pre-lighting to set up all the necessary lighting fixtures. Zach Rogers, our Director of Photography, brought his extensive experience from the television and commercial world to bear on these complex lighting setups.

Regarding equipment, we opted for handheld filming using the Canon C300 Mk III in RAW for a more immersive and dynamic feel. We paired this with vintage Russian M42 lenses and the Aivascope 1.5x anamorphic adapter for a truly cinematic look. The lenses' unique characteristics and the anamorphic adapter provided a distinct aesthetic that elevated the visual storytelling.

To further amplify the visual impact, we had the GRRD team don their teal jerseys, adding a splash of vibrant color to make them stand out in the final footage.

With the script in hand, the filming location prepared, the equipment and crew ready, and the visual aesthetics dialed in, we were set to commence the production phase. Despite the extensive preparation, we knew the real challenge lay ahead: capturing the spirit of the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team on film.


Production


The production day was long, encompassing numerous lighting setups and scene changes. While we won't delve into the intricate details of every setup (to save you from reading an endlessly lengthy article), we will provide an overview of how the day unfolded.

We divided the day into scenes featuring the three leading athletes and scenes with the rest of the team. The first scene we filmed was the entrance of the three leading athletes into the roller rink. The objective was to capture their cool, confident attitudes as they entered their 'battlefield.'

SCENE 1

For this scene, the lighting setup was relatively straightforward. We used a haze machine to fill the room with a light mist, creating an atmospheric backdrop that added depth and texture to the scene. We selectively lit the middle rows of the ceiling, keeping the side rows dark to create a gradual fall-off effect. This technique helped draw attention to the athletes while providing a sense of depth and focus.

We made sure to capture coverage from different perspectives, using both wide and close focal lengths. We captured a variety of options for the editing phase, allowing us to choose the shots that best captured the mood and energy of the scene.


Having captured the entrance scene to our satisfaction, we moved on to the following scenes, always keeping our overarching goal in mind: to tell the story of the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team in the most compelling and engaging way possible.

Scene 1 Film Stills


SCENE 2

We designed the next scene to capture the leading athletes in the moments before their game, an intimate glimpse of the rituals and routines that go into their preparation. Their actions included lacing their skates, strapping on pads, applying tape, and putting on their helmets.

Due to its physical attributes, we chose the skate rental area of the roller rink for this scene. The long and narrow corridor naturally created leading lines, a visual technique in photography and cinematography that draws the viewer's eye towards the subject—in this case, our athletes. We introduced benches to mimic the feel of a locker room, further enhancing the scene's authenticity.


The lighting setup for this scene was fundamental to capturing the right ambiance. We installed teal and warm accent lights to infuse the scene with the team's brand color and to create a contrast that would add depth to the visual composition. Our lighting equipment included RGB Titan Tubes (accent), the Light Mat 4 (key), and an Aputure 300D (background) with a spotlight mount, allowing us to shape the light for a more dramatic effect.


Once we had covered the preparation scenes, we moved on to capture "hero" shots of the players. These shots are a cinematic staple meant to depict your "hero" in a powerful, confident light, often used for cutaways or to introduce the character.


As we were wrapping up these hero shots, the team began to roll in, signaling the transition to the next phase of our shoot: the team scenes. These upcoming scenes would showcase the unity and camaraderie of the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team, highlighting another crucial aspect of their story.

Scene 2 Film Stills + Behind-The-Scenes


SCENE 3

Following on from the earlier parts of our day, we moved into filming the action-packed scrimmage scenes. We were joined by a group of athletes from the team - enough to show the dynamics of a scrimmage but not the full roster. The aim was to capture the thrills and spills of a roller derby match in full swing.


Our Director of Photography, Zach Rogers, donned inline skates to keep pace with the team as they took part in small, controlled scrimmages. We opted to film everything handheld to incorporate an organic camera shake that would lend a visceral, kinetic feel to the action on screen.

For lighting, we maintained the central overhead lights from the previous setup but introduced additional teal and orange lights around the sides of the roller rink. Coupled with the atmospheric haze, this produced a low contrast, glowing ambiance that perfectly complemented the high-energy action of the scrimmages. We fixed Titan Tubes to the walls using industrial-strength Velcro adhesive, which provided a reliable and flexible lighting solution.

To make the backgrounds pop and add depth to our scenes, we placed various lights, such as the Aputure 120, Aputure 300d, Aputure 600d, and Forza 500, in different rooms around the rink. These lights were fitted with either teal or color-temperature orange gels to align with our lighting scheme.

Once we had covered the scrimmage scenes, it was time to take a well-earned break to rest, refuel, and set up for the next sequence. We began preparing the lighting for the next set of scenes while our production assistant went to grab lunch for the crew.


Scene 3 Film Stills


SCENE 4

As the day progressed, our next scene focused on capturing slow-motion footage of our featured athletes. Due to the nature of slow-motion filming, it demands a higher amount of light than regular speed shots. To ensure adequate lighting, we set up the LiteMat 4 on a menace arm. Our setup offered a flexible and robust solution that could be easily adjusted to meet our needs.

Given that these shots would be captured using the tighter end of the focal length spectrum, we primarily focused on lighting the immediate area around the athletes. By doing so, we created a sense of intimacy and intensity, drawing the viewers' attention to the precision and skill of our roller derby stars.

After capturing our key footage of the three leading athletes in slow motion, we concluded this segment of the shoot. Then, it was time to transition and prepare the full-team shots.

Scene 4 Film Stills


SCENE 5

For the final scene of the promotional video, we were to capture shots of the entire team. As the team members arrived on set, our crew was busy installing an Aputure 300d, fitted with a teal gel, to the ceiling of the roller rink. To soften and spread the light output, we added a silk diffuser.


Once the lighting was set up, we got the team to huddle for a pre-game chant. We captured the athletes in various activities to bring out their team spirit and camaraderie. Following this, we had them line up for final close-ups. We brought out the LiteMat 4, setting it up in front of the team. The LiteMat was set to 5600k daylight to emit normal white light, creating a vivid and vibrant atmosphere.


We had our three leading skaters skate into the light and strike a pose while the rest of the team stood in the background, looking stern and ready for action. The scene created a powerful shot that conveyed the intensity and energy of the team.

After we concluded this scene, the team left while the three leading athletes stayed for some player testimonials.

Scene 5 Film Stills + Behind-The-Scenes


TESTIMONIAL SCENE

The final scene of the day was for testimonials. We positioned the players in front of the DJ booth, which we had illuminated with intriguing teal and orange lights streaming out of the windows. The lingering haze from previous scenes also played a part here, helping to diffuse the light and create rays.


For this setup, we used the LiteMat 4 as the key light. We brought each player in front of the camera, one by one, to answer questions about their experiences with the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby Team. We asked them questions like:

  • What's your favorite aspect of being on the team?

  • How has competing with GRRD impacted your health?

  • Have you made friends on the team?

  • Who should join the team?

  • Would you recommend joining the team, and why?


It was a long day, and everyone started to feel the fatigue, but our leading athletes powered through. We successfully completed the testimonial interviews, marking the end of the day's shoot. With the final scene wrapped up, it was time to pack up the set and tear everything down. A long but productive day had come to a successful conclusion.

Testimonial Scene Stills


Post-Production


The post-production process was quite detailed due to the variety of final deliverables required. As usual, we began by backing up all footage to our hard drives and the cloud to ensure data safety.


The primary focus initially was the main promotional video. We trimmed the footage according to the script and the overall aesthetic we aimed to achieve. In sync with the visuals, we curated a list of potential music tracks for the main promo. We ultimately settled on a cinematic electronic piece rich in synth and carried a mysterious vibe, perfectly fitting the atmosphere we were aiming for.

We then edited the remaining promotional footage to the rhythm of the chosen music track. To facilitate this process, we created a scratch audio track for the voice-over, allowing us to integrate the audio and visuals seamlessly. Once we had all the elements in place, we moved on to sound design. Interestingly, a lot of the roller skate sounds in the final video came directly from the audio recorded on the shoot day, adding an authentic touch to the project.


With the edit locked in, we proceeded to color correction and grading. We ensured all the footage matched color and lighting and then gave the video a specific "look." We emphasized the teal/orange aesthetic that was prominent during the shoot while keeping the skin tones accurate and natural. Next, we added lower-third graphics and animated the GRRD logo to enhance the video's visual appeal.

After completing the video edit, we set out to find the perfect voice for the project. We identified three Voice-Over (VO) artists, each with a unique style that we thought could potentially fit the brand image of the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby. We presented these options to the leadership team at GRRD.


After considering the different voices, the leadership team decided which voice best represented their brand. We then hired this artist and worked closely with them to ensure the voice-over had the optimal flow and sound quality for our video.


When we received the final voice-over track, we incorporated it into our video edit. We also took the time to master the audio level to ensure the voice-over was audible and well-balanced with the background music and sound effects. With this final element in place, we had a complete video ready for review.


Final Deliverables


The feedback we received from the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team was overwhelmingly positive! They were quite pleased with the final product and only requested minor changes. With those adjustments swiftly incorporated, the main promotional video was officially complete.

As for the other deliverables, we applied the same meticulous process to each one. We crafted an adrenaline-fueled trailer that relied solely on visuals and music, eschewing voice-over for a more raw and action-centric tone. The remaining three videos were testimonials from players, interspersed with dynamic footage of the players in action.

With all the videos created and approved, we generated multiple file types suitable for different platforms to support their diverse marketing needs. With that, our work on this project was successfully concluded. The team now had a suite of promotional videos ready for distribution to help increase their visibility and attract new team members.


GRAND RAGGIDY ROLLER DERBY: PROMO VIDEO


GRAND RAGGIDY ROLLER DERBY: TEASER TRAILER VIDEO


GRAND RAGGIDY ROLLER DERBY: ATHLETE TESTIMONIAL


CONCLUSION


In conclusion, the power of well-crafted video productions for sports teams cannot be overstated. Our experience working with the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby exemplifies the remarkable impact that compelling video content can have on a team's visibility, member recruitment, and overall fan engagement. The promotional videos we developed became a cornerstone of their marketing campaign, significantly boosting their outreach efforts. Remarkably, the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby has seen its player base grow to the extent that they've been able to establish two distinct teams, an A and B team. Moreover, they've witnessed a remarkable surge in crowd support, leading to a more electrifying atmosphere during matches. It's clear that thoughtfully produced video content can be a game-changer, providing sports teams with a potent tool to amplify their reach, reinforce their branding, and truly connect with their fans.

PARTNER WITH VISIONAERY PRODUCTIONS


Visionaery Productions is here to help you with your next sports and athletics promotion video production. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our full-service video production company has a team of experts who will help you create high-quality, engaging videos that resonate with your audience and drive results through video marketing strategy. Visionaery Productions works with budgets of all sizes and varying scopes.


Visionaery specializes in commercial video, corporate video, and drone video services. We partner with highly impactful brands to channel their vision and values into creative video marketing that makes it easy for people to resonate with their mission.


Check out the work we've produced here.


Contact Visionaery Productions today to book your discovery call! Our video marketing services will take your vision to new heights!




 


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