A six-week, five-episode, real-time summer reality show begins tonight when Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams debuts at 10 p.m. It’s typically wonderfully crafted, with gorgeous visuals, and also constantly dramatic, showing us what really happened behind the scenes of things making headlines.
The Los Angeles Times reported on production of the new season, which is taking place in Los Angeles and following the Rams, and the story offers a lot of insight into how the show comes together so quickly.
Even though this is season 11, following the Rams gave the show two firsts: the first time the show has followed a number-one draft pick, quarterback Jared Goff, and also “the show has documented a franchise move—the crews captured the club’s relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles,” according to the paper.
How Hard Knocks is filmed
Showrunner Ken Rodgers said that while the production tries to stay out of the way, they are still focused on producing the best series possible. “No. 1 [goal] is to make a great show, and No. 2 is to not distract the team,” he said.
This season, it’s going well so far, according to Rams coach Jeff Fisher told the LA Times. “It’s been an exciting process, it’s been fun,” he said. “The players are out here to help win games and to improve, not to make a movie. They’re not actors, they’re players.”
So how does the production work with the athletes and the team to produce the show? And how is it filmed? Some of the insight in the L.A. Times article:
- There’s a 360:1 ratio with the material : “six hours of footage for every minute that actually airs.”
- There are five camera crews, and a total of 30 people on location
- The camera crews wear gray clothing to blend in.
- There are 12 robotic, locked-off cameras, such as one in coach Jeff Fisher’s office.
- The production monitors those feeds from a control room that’s in “a converted classroom” at UC Irvine.
- “The team gets the final editorial say,” the paper reports, because of the show could “potentially revealing a strategic secret, although NFL Films is so savvy about that that it’s rarely an issue.”
- The show changed how NFL Films worked: instead of videos being flown to Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, where NFL Films is headquartered, which the show used to do, in 2011 it started “[using] a high-capacity Internet pipeline to feed the footage to a staff of 30 to 40 people on the other end,” according to the LA Times. Later, “the league installed those digital systems in every NFL stadium, allowing the footage to be easily transferred during and after games.”