Avid, storytelling land PGA Tour Productions first Emmy

When PGA Tour Productions Editor Jeff Ross and Producer Michael Riceman sat down to begin working on a video segment for the inspirational story of Kevin Hall, a deaf golfer who won the Big 10 Championship by 11 strokes and is currently trying to get onto the PGA Tour, their biggest challenge was to find a way to effectively give Hall a way to tell as much of the story himself.

Because they didn t want to use a translator to tell Kevin s words PGA Tour Productions chose an innovative approach that not only told the story but helped lead to a NATAS Sports Emmy for Outstanding Editing.

We had a plasma screen behind him that would display what he was typing, says Ross. Whenever we wanted to move the story along we would cut to those shots because we didn t have audio tracks.

Interviews with Hall s parents, coaches and teammates filled in the rest of the backstory with photos and music from acts like U2, Coldplay and Simon & Garfunkel adding more impact. One clip told the story of how Hall s parents recognized he was deaf after he contracted H-Flu Meningitis when he was 2-1/2 years old.

It was when a balloon popped and Kevin didn t reach that his parents knew something was wrong, says Ross. We had clips of a popping balloon and behind the balloon was a picture of Kevin. After the pop we went into Sounds of Silence and used the lyrics to tell the story.

The story was shot on Betacam SP and edited on an Avid Symphony with Avid ProTools used to sweeten audio and graphics designed on an Autodesk Discreet Flint visual effects system. The Symphony is a great box to tell stories on, says Ross who points to its color correction as a strength. We also used some GenArt Sapphire plug-ins to enhance the color and give it a film look.

David Dukes, PGA Tour Productions senior editor, says the PGA Tour Sunday on the USA Network offers up profiles like the Hall piece about every three weeks.

We want to go beyond the weekly golf show that has highlights and recaps and move further into the golf world, says Dukes. We re looking to tell really good stories that have golf as a central point.

The collaboration on the Hall piece, says Dukes couldn t have come together better. It involved everything from how to tell the story, shoot it, produce it and bring the element s together which is Jeff s fortay, says Dukes. Sometimes people get lost in the effects and forget the storytelling but good storytelling is not dead.