If you have ever wanted to know how much time and effort and resources go into the creation of the 90-second video that serves as a high-decibel, bright light visual prologue to each and every Cavaliers game, look no further. Jordan Zirm, a former New Yorker by the way of Cleveland, has published an extremely well-written piece on the nuances and decisions that went into Machine Gun Kelly being married with NBA Jam for the Wine and Gold’s pre-game gem.
With the Cavaliers home opener set for Oct. 30, the team’s front office contacted Think Media Studios in early October. The Cavaliers relayed to [Keith] Potoczak and [Ryan] Hardy a general outline of things they wanted to see in this season’s video.
”This year, they came to us and they had this ’fire’ idea. They wanted to use more fire. That was really their biggest thing,” Hardy said. ”So they just let us throw around some ideas, and a couple people on their staff had three or four ideas as well. They wanted to do more than one opener. Not all the ideas got thrown out. A lot of them stayed around because of the possibility that they could be used for other openers. We had about two days to really develop something.”
”[Hardy] and I sat down and we started throwing around some ideas. Instantly we were like, maybe there won’t be a theme, but maybe let’s just do a music video. We’ll try [hip-hop artist and Cleveland native] Machine Gun Kelly. So that was our main idea that we wanted to pitch to them,” Potoczak said. When we got there, they went first; and literally the first thing they pitched was possibly doing something with Machine Gun Kelly. [Owner] Dan Gilbert was one of the head frontrunners about using Machine Gun Kelly.”
The idea was born. The guys would model this season’s intro as a music video starring a Cleveland artist, while adding fire as a special effect. With the blueprint in place, it was time to create the visuals.
The entire article is worth a read for Cavalier fans and the visually curious alike. As expected, the window of time to film every player on the Cavaliers roster is infinitesimal. The admission of what portions are done via green screen, the balance of player air time regardless of popularity, and the discussion of how Machine Gun Kelly is to work with are all worth the time. The Cavaliers’ in-game video crew has won league awards in the past. The work described here shows exactly why they have hardware to show for their work.