Behind the scenes with ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown – open shot on Canon EOS 5D Mark II

by planetMitch4 Comments

We have an interesting BTS – this time about shooting a promo for ESPN – sent in by Casey Warren (twitter). I really enjoy seeing what goes on in the background – especially when I get to actually see the results maybe on TV. Tho it is amazing to think that they put this much work into something that lasts only 47 seconds for the show opening (tho Casey also said on Vimeo “This piece is just the open for the show, there are a ton more edits that will be shown on TV as the season progresses — so definitely keep an eye out for more footage on the show 🙂 “)

This was also covered on Cinevate's blog by the way

Sunday NFL Countdown

[tentblogger-vimeo 30422981]

Production Company / MINDCASTLE

Client: ESPN

Producer: Jeremy Anderson

Directors: Danielle Krieger & Casey Warren

Director of Photography: Casey Warren

Art Director: Lucas Anderson

Creative Director: Paul Brown

Editor: Jeremy Anderson

Support Gear:

Camera and Lens rentals by:

Monitors by:

More from Casey Warren

keyshawn steadicam rig

keyshawn steadicam rig

Back in 2010 we teamed up with ESPN to film the 2010 NFL Draft in NYC and had a blast working with the producers and edit team on the project. A few months ago, we were overly excited when we got a call about a new project in the works, this time a commercial production to create opens a TV show…

After reviewing all the creative boards that the team at ESPN put together, we knew that this project was going to be on a much larger in scale and more in-depth than the draft. The time frame was also very short so we dedicated an entire month to the production, which included 6 individual shoots in 4 different cities across the country.

The goal for each shoot was to capture the unique personalities and character of the hosts on the show. We needed to also create sets that reflected & embodied those persona as well. One of my favorite aspects of the shoot was creating lighting set up that were constantly evolving to fit each scenario and look. Going from creating a darkly lit, smoky restaurant in Chicago, to a posh hotel in West Hollywood — we really got to expand our gamut of lighting scenarios, techniques, and equipment. On Chris Bermans shoot, we had 10,000watts of lighting being pumped into one room, while the next week with TJ, we shot him lit with a 650w in the background

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set Exterior

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set Exterior

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set

Chris Berman ESPN Film Set

DSLR's & Gear:

We shot the draft using 5d mark II's and we really loved how we could easily move in and around the city without a huge amount of gear. We wanted this same ease of portability and image quality but on a commercial shoot scale so we stuck with the Mark II but also added a few Mark IV's to our bag because we could over-crank to 60p.

We've been shooting with DSLRs since the 5d first came out (way back when you had to put your hand over the lens to lock in a low f-stop)  These cameras have helped us evolve the way we shoot & think about story. They give us the ability to shoot in a quick dynamic way, where we were always moving from set up to set up without any down time. This was HUGE from a commercial production point of view, where the talent might only be there for a short fraction of the entire shoot day. On almost every shoot we got comments from the hosts that the set ran extremely smoothly.

From a story point of view, the small form factor gave us a lot of freedom in capturing different shots and sequences at the same time. Danielle and I worked a extensively on filming actions and elements from different points of view through the shoot, often getting wides, tights and macros at the same time, or while I was on the Steadicam, Danielle was using the Atlas to get dolly shots from the ground.

On the support side of things, we heavily used the Cinevate Atlas 30 system for all of the tracking & dolly type shots. Without a doubt this is one of my favorite pieces of gear, and I take it on nearly every shoot. What I like most about it, is that it run on a bearing system, where you can push the rig very softly and get things looking smooth without much effort. We also did some stuff where we flipped it up-side down and put on some Apple boxes to get shots that tracked right across the ground. Cinevate has some other variations of the rig as well, the Atlas 10 and LTS, which work much in the same way but can be mounted directly to a tripod head which is super handy.

chris berman 5d mark II with small-HD monitor and Atlas 30

chris berman 5d mark II with small-HD monitor and Atlas 30

We also utilized the SmallHD Dp6 monitor countless times during the shoot — I have heard so many great things about this monitor and I'd have to say it does live up to the reviews. Its very well made, has an incredibly sturdy build and the image on it looks spectacular. The screen resolution is what truly sets it apart from the other similar sized monitors out there. We used it a ton on set, glancing at it from a distance to make sure out lighting was placed just right. It also came in handy for reviewing clips with everyone after the shoot. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a great HD field monitor.

Gear we used:

Cameras + Monitor:

DP6 monitor (www.smallHD.comCanon EOS 5D Mark IICanon EOS-1D MKIV from

Support Gear:

Cinevate Atlas 30 LTS , Proteus cage & Titan swing away mattebox, Durus follow focus, and various rails set ups (

Steadicam Flyer LE, Sachtler 10 SB fluid head


Canon L-series primes: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 135mm, 100mm macro

Zeiss Compact Primes from 28mm & 50mm


1×1 lite-panels, ARRI 650w & 1000w fresnels, ARRI 1200w HMI PAR's, Lowel Pro-lites, Lowel Blenders, Kino-flo Diva 400's, Kino-flo mini-flos, 6K Spacelites, ARRI 1000w openface, & LED LENSER T7 flashlight.

cris carter florida

cris carter florida

Cris Carter Florida - ESPN open

Cris Carter Florida - ESPN open

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Hey man great work! I need a better way to secure my atlas 10 and dual stands seems like great idea!! Atlas 10 is pretty heavy I wonder if it would work on your setup?! Those are c stands??

    Also, how did you achieve shot of Chris carters foot digging into turf? Was that just 5d at 30 FPS????



Leave a Comment