Youtube Stars: Behind the Scenes at Real Madrid

Changing room 17 is like a 5* hotel. That’s the first thing I noticed behind the scenes about Real Madrid’s training facility close to Madrid Barajas airport when we were asked to film for bwin by Sports Marketing agency WWP. The showers, toilets and the grounds were immaculate. The roster of future Real Madrid stars covered the wall near the canteen and despite the winter weather back in England, the sun was glaring down already without a cloud in the sky. I couldn’t see Gareth Bale, the Welsh wizard and the world’s most expensive football player.

We arrived early, in plenty of time to set up for our shoot with former World Champion Freestyle footballer Sean Garnier, his fellow S3 member Andreas Cetkovic and four, yet to be named, members of the Real Madrid team. Anyone working in video production will tell you it’s all about the preparation and I don’t just mean setting up equipment. As a director you need a plan, a vision for the final video and you need to communicate that with the crew and everyone else who will be stood watching you work. With sports shoots, it’s even more critical because there is no time for repeating things. It’s one-take, capture what happens and turn it into a video that hundreds of thousands of Real Madrid fans, hopefully, will want to watch.

This was the fourth video in our series for bwin, where Youtube football stars challenge the world’s top football teams. We’ve become very good at filming high-octane, fast action sports but the real story on video is nearly always what happens off-camera. The trick of course, is capturing what happens off-camera which is no mean feat!

The camaraderie, jokes, back-chat, the jubilation…. you can’t fake that. What I love is that every professional footballer we’ve worked with from World Cup winners like Alonso (Bayern Munich), Champions League heroes like Morata (Juventus) to top stars like Di Maria and De Gea (Manchester Utd), all have the same competitiveness and youthful exuberance. They want to win, even in our challenge. Especially in our challenge.

If you’ve not seen Sean Garnier, he’s a legend. I don’t say that word lightly. He has a huge following on Youtube and Instagram. The tricks that he can do with a ball….. well let’s just say you don’t even want to try in his presence. You’d just embarrass yourself, but like everyone else I’ve worked with in this series, he’s a really cool, down to earth guy. Whilst he and Andreas warmed up, we recorded a few little sequences to camera, including our signature ball rolling past the camera. Sadly it didn’t make the final cut with the client, but you’ll see it in a few of our videos.

We had a crew of just four people on this shoot, including myself and we brought some new toys with us. Angie was taking behind the scenes photographs. The rest of us were operating multiple cameras. Not easy under pressure! The DJI Osmo featured for the first time. A great little steadicam from the same people that make the Phantom drones. It’s perfect for those smooth tracking shots where you need to pick up a camera and go. You can see the footage in the final video in a few places. It’s not great in low-light (due the small sensor), but luckily that wasn’t an issue in sunny Madrid.  I also used high frame rate (120fps) which means I was able to slow the video down to approximately a quarter speed. That gives some of the tricks real emphasis. Our main cameras were high-end Canon cameras including a C300 Mk II. The XC10 was on a DJI Ronin. Our trusty Go Pro Hero 4 cameras also made an appearance. They are still the best solution for putting cameras inside a goal and you’ll see some of their footage in the replays. We also used a Rode Filmmaker kit for the first time. These audio devices use WiFi technology rather than traditional RF wavelengths to transmit the audio. They claim to be able to “hop around” interference and therefore give you a more robust result. I’ve got to say, they worked really well, so much so I went out and bought another set after the shoot.

Then it was show time! Real Madrid team-mates Jese, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez arrive and the pressure is on. I hope you like the video. 250,000 views in a couple of weeks shows how engaged fans of Sean and Real Madrid are. It’s a great way for a brand like bwin to reach their target audience.

One day….. when we’re not flying around filming we’ll edit a behind the scenes video about the bwin series . Until then you can follow our adventures on Instagram at


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