Above is the first of five videos on the five main stadiums at the French Open. In 2017 I was asked to make mini-movies that were solely composed of broll set to music. Because I do not speak French, including interviews or v/o did not make sense if I was to work autonomously.
As is the case these days, videos for social or website consumption need to be shorter and shorter. Having constraints and being creative within a boundaries is oftentimes helpful. The above video is for Court Philippe-Chatrier, the main stadium for the tennis complex. This is where I was most often because the top players were scheduled for matches in the largest venue. Because I had the most footage from this court it was a challenge to condense my footage to the best of the best. A fast song helps because the cuts can be quicker allowing me to pack more in.
A good and bad thing about the French Open is that there is no overarching brand standard that would keep me from using a dubstep track. At Wimbledon for example, this would be entirely inappropriate. But in Paris, their videos can vacillate from classical and stately to wild and rocking.
Rather than make all five videos with similar music, I switched it up but tied them together through the color grading. I had the work of Neels Castillon to base the colors off. Previously he had completed a branding film in 2015 that still plays on a loop throughout the grounds. I took cues on color and sound editing from this piece.
Because I lacked voiceover or an interview actuality for the videos, I tried to go above and beyond what I might normally do for sound effects. This Philippe-Chatrier video for example has something like 100 layered sfx. Some of it is purchased foley and other sounds were recorded live, edited modified and inserted.
Other teams were present on location working for the FFT to make videos with themes on “emotions” or “sounds” of Roland Garros. My videos were more all-encompassing. “Stadiums.” So I tried to put sounds and emotions in the videos too. Hopefully they turned into something different from the average highlight.
Here’s the video for the second largest court, Suzanne Lenglen. The architecture and look of the place was remarkably different and made me think 1980s synth pop. Again, a lot of attention went into sound effects. The editing on this video took the longest out of my French Open pieces because of all the editing and speed ramping to the beat. Note rackets colliding with balls on downbeats. Watch the patron heads snap together in unison. I also made use of CPS, Canon Professional Services. They were present on location and I with a photographer’s credential could check out gear as needed. Some of the closeups of balls being tossed or bounced were done with an 800mm lens and a 2X teleconverter. This essentially makes the camera a telescope. It can be very hard to track action with such a big lens. But when done right, it gets you so close to the action. If filming in 4K for a 1920X1080p piece, you also have additional room to zoom in while editing in post. Take the ball toss for example. You can see “Roland Garros 2017” printed on the side of it. I could only have achieved this ball toss with a ridiculously smooth TV camera with amazing panning or the way I did it, a monopod in 4k.
These final three videos are intended to be sentimental with a tingle of nostalgia. All three “stadiums” will be demolished over the coming two years as a part of the expansion into the neighboring Botanical Gardens. Court No. 1 is in particular a historic stadium. Fans like it because it’s a perfect round bowl like a bullring or the Colosseum. Court No. 2 is nice because of the cement X’s that are integrated into the architecture. Sun glints through them, they cast pretty shadows on the clay etc.
I used a lot of moving, floating shots done with the MoVi M5 to immerse the viewer in what it feels like to walk through the structures.