Vimeo Description: D.J. Hayden and Tom Rinaldi detail Hayden’s incredible journey from life-threatening injury to first-round draft pick.
Original Air Date – April 27th, 2013 ( Sunday Morning SportsCenter ) just two days after the first night of the draft on April 25th. Shot over the 6 days prior to the draft. Edited in 2 days out of our hotel room in Houston.
If you are a shooter, you know how rare these stories are. The ones with the ultimate comeback. We wanted to put every ounce of energy into this, and we did.
There were 4 different areas we needed to cover before we started cutting. And not to mention, each one fed into the other. So the first step would be to get interviews. Teammates, coaches, friends, athletes, parents, bystanders, doctors, nurses, even the crew that drove the ambulance. You sit through 14 different interviews waiting for these little bites of gold and then while we would put the interviews together, our producer would start logging word for word and highlighting the best lines.
Then we go after file footage. Gathering old footage of DJ, practice footage ( including the accident ), news reports, online articles, old games, old photos, rehab footage. We didn’t know what we were going to really use since the script had not been written but as long as it was in a proper bin, we knew we had a shot at working pieces of it in there.
Then we had to go shoot the specialty sequences. Practice field, locker rooms, ambulance, hospital, the gym. Some of that was with DJ some of it wasn’t. Even then we got the actual emergency room he was in with the actual doctors who saved his life. We shot more of DJ’s rehabilitation at a local gym. We shot his meeting the medics who saved his life. We shot dramatic midnight training content. We shot a practice sequence with him and his buddies. While all this was happening Rinaldi and Sharon were writing the script. Now, we are at 6TB of raw .r3d footage.
Most of the interviews had been done by Day 5 and we were just waiting for the draft to happen. Thats the last part of our shoot. The draft. The unknown. We didn’t know when the call would come in. We didn’t know who would call if anyone. If he was to be drafted, it would have had to have been the first night to give us enough time to start cutting the story together. If he would have been drafted day 2, we would have only had 36 hours until the story aired. So many variables but at the end of the day we stuck to DJ like glue and got his entire evening documented. We were there when he got the mystery call. We were there when he broke down. We were there when the Raiders called him. We were there when everyone went wild after he got picked! We even ruined the NFL live shot ( they were not happy with me, Thom ) . We shot late into the night on the first draft night and started the edit as soon as we walked into the hotel room. It was clear higher powers were at work. We were revitalized with energy. The car sequence we shot earlier was perfect to tease the open and work back from the beginning. It felt like the entire structure was clear. Then we hopped into music and laying the whole piece down. Where would the hospital stuff work in, what about the running sequence. How can we make the ambulance sequence really dramatic. So we start running down a rough draft while Sharon and Tom kept hashing out the script. We started pulling soundbites and laying it all in. So after 12 hours of this, it turned out to be a 25 minute piece and thats when the magic happened. The final script was done and Tom Rinaldi tracked it all. We go through and start chopping out the stuff we didn’t need and trimming it down. We went through some script rewrites to match the drama and the tension. Another 12 hours goes by and we start to get picture lock. We came up with some really cool sequences but some of them were too much. We got caught in a storm in Houston and the power goes out. Shift the whole operation to our audio sweetening facility in Houston. Another 12 hours go by and we finally have picture lock. We go in to start finishing the piece. Sweetening audio, coloring, making small shot changes, adding titles. 6 hours to air. We start the 10 gb upload and cross our fingers.
We had two versions. The colored and the raw version. The raw version made it and the colored one failed about halfway through. We barely made Sunday morning SportsCenter. Rinaldi calls and tells us that out of everything hes ever worked on, this is at the top. I broke down into tears out of pure exhaustion and fatigue. SportsCenter is raving. DJ and his mom were in tears. The producers were raving about it. Everyone is crying. The colored version finally makes it there 10 hours later after we tweak it some more and hit the re-upload button. All is well on the midwest front.
Produced by Sharon Matthews
Written by Tom Rinaldi
Shot, Chopped, and Produced by Thom McCallum & Vincent Guglielmina
Shot on Red Epic with Zeiss CP2 EF-mount prime lenses.