How the NBA Shoots its Finals for Exclusive Snapchat Shows

During Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA video producer/editor Anthony Kuzviwanza (known as AK) shot a clip of comedian Dave Chapelle commenting on the game. That clip was part of a short NBA Finals video for Snapchat Shows. AK will be filming similar celebrity shout-outs, clips of players in the locker room and other video for the rest of the NBA Finals. The short videos, aimed at Snapchat’s young demographic, allow the NBA to reach viewers who may not watch its games on TV.

Recode reports that Snapchat will sell ads for the new NBA series, splitting the take. Although the NBA has previously created Stories for Snapchat, it launched these three-to-five minute shows for the first time at the NBA Finals.

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“We already know we have a built-in audience [on Snapchat], so the goal was to kind of take advantage of that new medium that they’ve built,” said NBA vice president of emerging media Bob Carney. According to a league spokesperson, “millions of unique viewers” watched Game 1 of the NBA’s Snapchat Show.

Following AK for Game 2, Recode described how a game is produced for Shows. On Sunday afternoon, AK waited with other press to be allowed inside the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room. He is equipped with a Canon EOS C100 with wide angle lens, because “the wide angle means he doesn’t have to worry so much about getting the perfect angle or shot.” AK sends the footage as he gets it to an editorial crew in New Jersey. The goal is to have the show ready first thing Tuesday morning, but, as often happens, NBA is able to publish the show “late Monday night, less than 24 hours after Game 2 ends.”

AK’s challenge is that there is no script, which “makes it hard to plan.” His strategy is to shoot footage of every player he can, because “you never know who the hero will be.” Snapchat’s directive is that they want the show to have a narrative and, for this game, to focus on the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James. During the game, AK doesn’t need to shoot, since “a million cameras [are] catching the game.”

Later, in the Warriors locker room, AK, who has been shooting for six hours, gets footage of Kevin Durant, and an image of Steph Curry with a big tub of ice water at his feet. Soon after the game has ended, the story is live and exclusive on Snapchat.