Let's face it, one thing we all like in one form or another is sports. You may like football or soccer, or you might be like me and love wrestling. For this example, I'll show you a recent example of a wrestling event that is currently making waves across all of the sports industry.
CM Punk made his long-awaited and highly anticipated return to a wrestling ring. If you don't know the story, let me break it down for you in a way that you can relate to.
Imagine you started a job that you've worked super hard for. Went to school for it, spent thousands of dollars and countless hours to become a specialist in that field. You finally get to where you dreamed of being your whole life, but you didn't take into account what kind of drama you would run into once you get there. You fight, scratch, and claw your way to just be there, to stay where you wanted to be. Finally, one day you realize that you don't want to do it anymore. You hate what you've worked so hard for and don't even want to come back to it.
For you, this could be something simple like graphic design, film, photography, it could even be a veterinarian. Whatever it may be, this is basically what happened to CM Punk. He had been absent from the wrestling world for 7 years. Fans never stopped chanting his name. Then, he showed up, and the crowd erupted as no one has seen in years.
Now that I've explained the situation, let's talk about what no one ever thinks about unless you've filmed once in a moment type events like this or even weddings. This is a question every event cinematographer asks himself and their clients, "What is the best way we can capture this moment?" That's a question everyone asks, but event cinematographers are usually the only ones that don't get a second chance on. It has to be done right and it has to be done right the first time.
In these scenarios, you have a team that you meet with to tell them your expectations and what they need to be looking for. This is where it comes in handy to master the art of "having eyes in the back of your head". What I like to do since I don't have a giant team of camera operators to help me is keeping my eye shifting from my frame to my environment. Constantly moving my eyes and moving my head to see where I am and what's going on around me. In the case of CM Punk, the team for AEW (All Elite Wrestling) knew how to capture the moment in a way that put an exclamation mark on how significant it is to even have him walking in the arena.
The biggest thing you'll notice is the constant shots between CM Punk and the crowd. They do this because this moment belonged to the fans just as much as it did to CM Punk. It was the fans that supported him throughout the past decade and if it wasn't for them, he wouldn't even be there.
The other thing you'll notice is all the dramatic moving shots that they had. Not so much from the camera operator on the flycam, but more about the panning shots from the crowd, the sliding shot from the dolly, and the closeups they had with certain crowd attendees. All of this helps add depth and emphasis to the moment. Of course, they could have easily kept a camera on him from one angle the entire time, but we as viewers get bored easy and in order for us to keep our eyes glued to the screen we have to constantly be interested. The best way to do that is to keep the camera moving.
Obviously, the story wrote itself. This wasn't drawn up in some room with a bunch of guys who has no emotional connection to CM Punk and said, "Hey, you know what might be cool and bring us a lot of viewers?...". This was something special. This was something that doesn't come around very often. This was a once-in-a-generation moment that is now etched in history as one of the greatest moments ever witnessed.
Be thankful that we as viewers had a team that cared about this moment and knew exactly what to do to help enhance our emotions and keep us engaged with these larger-than-life athletes.
Check out the video below!