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World Series DVD crews aim to capture signature moments

Posted 7:42am on Tuesday, Nov. 02, 2010

ARLINGTON -- As Mitch Moreland smacked a three-run homer in the first World Series game ever played at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night, a Major League Baseball cameraman was atop the giant Coke bottle in centerfield to capture the moment.

Cameraman Casey Warren had climbed a series of ladders inside the neon-trimmed Coke bottle to get a perspective that wouldn't be shown on your TV at home.

When the Rangers first baseman's home run cleared the fence, Warren filmed the fireworks going off around the ballpark and the Texas flags flapping against the evening sky.

"We're looking for those signature moments," said field producer Jason Jhung, who helped scout locations for Warren to shoot. "I'm also looking for the nooks and crannies of this ballpark that we can put into this film."

Warren and Jhung are part of a staff of 14 on hand at the ballpark looking for those one-of-a-kind images for the World Series DVD, a tradition that dates back to World War II. Ten editors are back in Secaucus, N.J., dissecting footage and determining the themes of each game.

"It doesn't feel like a broadcast," said executive producer David Check. "Everybody featured in the film will also be interviewed. You're going to have that behind-the-scenes, cinematic, triumphant experience packaged into 70-something minutes -- although if it goes seven games, all bets are off."

To get those images, DVD crews are sometimes trying to be where the hordes of cameras at the World Series are not.

This includes camping out in the tunnel minutes before the start of the game to see if Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson taps a lucky horseshoe above the dugout entrance. Wilson doesn't disappoint. While most players ignore the horseshoe and Josh Hamilton greets the camera crew with a quizzical smile, Wilson jogs down the tunnel, hops up and playfully slaps the horseshoe.

The camera crew is ecstatic. All for what might turn into 5 seconds for the DVD.

In San Francisco, a film crew followed Giants outfielder Cody Ross, the National League Championship Series MVP, as he made the 15-minute walk to the ballpark from his hotel.

"A month ago, he could have made this walk and nobody would have known him, and now he's making that walk and it looks like he's running for mayor," Check said. "People were absolutely mobbing him."

A camera crew spent time with Rangers catcher Bengie Molina, who was traded from the Giants earlier this season. Molina, who received a standing ovation when he was introduced in Game 1, acknowledged that the moment was emotionally difficult.

"He said the only reason he didn't cry was because he was in front of 50,000 people," Check said.

The World Series film was first shot in 1943 at the request of the U.S. State Department for troops fighting overseas. This will be the 67th film in the series, and it has been shot with high-definition cameras since 2003.

"As we've seen with other merchandise this month, both the Texas and San Francisco markets are seeing strong demand for everything, so we're hopeful this will be among our bigger sellers in recent years," said MLB spokesman Jeff Heckelman.

But in this era of instant gratification, the MLB crew must finish the DVD 10 days after the last World Series game to get it into stores by Thanksgiving.

And while the crew expressed no preference for either team, there was an unspoken hope for a long series.

Not only does a six- or seven-game series mean more eyes watching the telecast, it also increases the sales of merchandise, including the DVD.

But if you're wondering how much time your favorite Ranger will be seen on the DVD, that depends on what happens over the next several days. The winning team will get far more screen time than the loser.

So whether the spotlight will eventually fall on Ross or some unsung rookie like Moreland remains to be seen.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

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