One of the biggest highlights of each weekend of the WGI World Championships is the video montage that is played back during World Class retreat. The video is typically about three minutes long and features clips from all thirty World Class finalists over the course of the week. It’s a unique opportunity for performers to see themselves on the big screen, and also allows the crowd to show their support one final time.
“When the montage is played back, it’s certainly one of the most unique parts of the event for us,” says John Flower, owner and executive producer at John Flower Productions. “From a video production perspective, it’s such a small fraction of what we’re doing for WGI, but we put a tremendous amount of effort into it because we understand how important it is for everyone involved. To see the response it gets from the crowd is always a big highlight for us.”
For the past three years, the camera used for capturing the montage footage has been a Canon c300 Cinema Camera, although a variety of other devices have also been used to capture shots, including drones, go pros, and DSLRs. After the footage is loaded into an editing computer back in the tv truck, editors begin the long process of slowly watching through each second of footage, looking for those magical moments that end up on the big screen.
Finding those magical moments requires shooting a lot of footage. While the final piece is only three minutes long, footage for the video is gathered over the course of all three days of championships meaning that there are literally hundreds of hours of unused footage each year. When sorting through all that footage, there is always an emphasis on using as many clips from Saturday night’s finals performances as possible.
“I really value the shots we’re able to gather on Saturday night,” says Flower. “There’s a tension in the air and at the same time a feeling of celebration. With the big Saturday crowd there’s just a general buzz that shines through on screen. And because the crowd is so full, we do everything we can to incorporate them into the montage, often by shooting more from the sides, whereas we shoot more head-on into the backdrop for the first couple days.”
“We also do a lot of prep work between Thursday and Saturday to ensure that we’re capturing everything in the best manner possible. We’ll talk about moving the camera for a particular moment to be at just the right angle for it. Or if somebody happens to drop their equipment on Thursday or Friday during a key moment, we’ll try to be in the right spot on Saturday to capture that moment of success when they do catch it.”
Utilizing footage from Saturday also leads to some unique moments in the final edit, says Flower.
“I think when you look at 2015 on the color guard side, a lot of people will remember not only SCV winning, but doing so with one of their props having a major malfunction. The quick thinking of the performers allowed for them to overcome that, and I was really pleased that we were able to get that particular moment into the montage. On the percussion side this year we included some aerial drone footage for the first time, which got a big gasp from the crowd. We’re always looking for those types of things to make it special from year to year.”
When the performances are all complete, the crew from JFP packs up all the footage and gear, usually not departing the arena until after 2am. Even then, the work of preparing the video products for distribution has often lasted for weeks after championships. With the move to WGI’s Video Zone this year, the delivery cycle was much shorter, leaving time for other projects.
“This year when we got back to our studios in Louisville after championships we decided to spend a little time cutting together what we call the mixed montage. We last did this in 2011 and we felt like it was time to freshen things up a bit. This piece is cut at a much faster pace than what we do on-site, and that means there’s an opportunity to include a lot more shots. And by mixing Color Guard and Percussion/Winds clips together, along with some groups from A and Open classes, we feel this video really represents everything that is WGI. We hope you enjoy it!”
John Flower Productions (JFP) is an award-winning video production company headquartered in Louisville, KY. Specializing in documentary-style shooting and editing, commercial production, corporate video, aerial and drone videography, live webcasting, and multi-camera productions, JFP provides turnkey service for all types of video productions. JFP also serves the greater Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington, and Indianapolis markets. To learn more, click here.