2014 was a massive year for ESL, with plenty to look back at and celebrate.
In order to give 2014 a proper send off, ESL TV’s director of video and editorial Alexander “carni” Holtz Shedden has assembled a few of his top videos to give you insight into some of the things he and the team worked on last year as well as hopefully inspire the next generation of behind-the-scenes talent to take their first steps towards a career in esports themselves.
January 2014: Going deep with Araneae
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a good relationship with Araneae, which is what made this interview so easy. The tournament was already over when we were going to film this so we shot it where we could: in front of the hotel.
February 2014: ESL brings esports to a football stadium
Despite having been with ESL for many years, this was a huge thing for me and the video crew. We knew what we could expect at Katowice but not this, our first big Dota 2 tourney. I can’t take any credit for creating this video aside from having been there, but beforehand we were looking for a creative way get fans’ attention and ended up with this, which took four people to shoot and editing to make this fit with the voiceover. I think we did well and may even be able to surpass this event in 2015.
March 2014: Great xPeketations
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice was on the horizon and I wanted conjure up memories of when xPeke made a name for himself at the 2013 event – who else is the epitome of Katowice when you think back?
Both videos were shot on the same day, and we told him (and thought) that it would only take three to four hours. In the end we hit around eights hours, but xPeke made no complaints.
The first video was filmed as it was planned in front of one headlight.
We spontaneously decided on the second one on the way to the former Fnatic team house to pick him up. To answer the frequently asked question of “Why is he standing in the grass?”, I can only reply that if I had passed a river with a beach, he probably would have stood there instead.
April 2014: The Intel Extreme Masters World Championship
Being at Katowice was just fantastic. It blew my mind, exceeded all my expectations and resulted in us making an aftermovie with zero in-game footage image. With thousands of video files and around 100 hours of audio content to review, we managed to make what we were looking for: a cross-community celebration of esports. I consider this the best video ESL has ever created, and with the next World Championship in Katowice on the table in 2015 I have no doubt we’ll be able – and honored – to capture even more incredible moments.
July 2014: ESL One Frankfurt – we made it!
This was completely different to Katowice – an open stadium, less lights, a new game and the question of how the event would turn out. Some would have said this would be a challenge, but it really wasn’t.
If you were there at ESL One, you probably saw what I did: happy people. Wherever I looked, I saw the pure happiness of people celebrating esports together and making the experience an awesome one.
I remember one security guide saying to me that he had no idea how incredibly peaceful, friendly and passionate this community was.
July 2014: The Tyrant isn’t one
I never had the pleasure of working with Jaedong before, and when I asked for an interview I was told it would be no problem. The reason I picked this video as one of the notable ones is simply the fact that he didn’t hesitate to do this interview in English.
We all know how rare it is find English features on Korean players outside on-stream interviews. However, even more than that I’m happy he went out into the burning Chinese sun to do this interview, which shows just how friendly he is in real life. He may be a tyrant on the field, but definitely not when you meet him in person.
November 2014: Chills at BlizzCon 2014
What we do all year long is rewarded by the fans and the fans only. Sitting among 20,000 fans at BlizzCon’s opening ceremony and experiencing their excitement at esports gave me goosebumps all over. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t feel proud to make them all cheer so loudly after this was played with Mike Morhaime’s opening speech. Bringing together three games over multiple tournaments produced by different companies was definitely hard but not impossible.
December 2014: Finally an American League player
And for God’s sake I got the right one to finish the year. Not having had the time to produce features for months, we got hold of Doublelift, who gave me no choice but to throw my questions away. The honesty of his answers was the key to what made this video so popular, proving again that the combination of the right content with pictures can show us a new side of someone who has been interviewed so many times before.
The recipe is simple: don’t bother someone with questions they’ve had to listen to many times before and the rest will take care of itself.
I am blessed to work with some of the most talented guys in industry and am looking forward to 2015!
The ESL video crew in Katowice in 2014
In January, the ESL TV family will be looking for new family members – if you’re interested, you can find out more by heading over to the Turtle careers page.
If you’re interested in find out more about esports, you can also follow me on Twitter: @carni.
Thanks a lot for reading.