Rupp Arena Renovation: The Film

The People Make The Place
When we set out to make this piece, the team here at Bullhorn started throwing out the many things this new arena would do for the City of Lexington, for the University of Kentucky, and for the Bluegrass state as a whole. We rattled off things like job growth, competitive urban development, building a world-class city, etc. Then, we stepped back from the table and asked ourselves a question: for those who don’t live and breathe urban planning, architectural design and civic initiatives, what will the Rupp renovation project mean?

Suddenly, the narrative in our heads changed. Rupp Arena is Rupp Arena because of the people who have trod its hallowed halls. Those people are the building’s foundation, not concrete and metal. By weaving the fly-through footage provided by the project’s vaunted design firms, NBBJ and EOP, with historic and contemporary footage, we were able to highlight the jaw-dropping design work AND the people who have made this building into the institution we all know and love today. Rupp Arena will always be hallowed ground and our goal was to reflect that in this film.

The film you just watched is original in several respects: it combines story with technology in order to showcase this unique instance of stadium design. It was a collaborative effort, a mix of entities that included: government, private enterprise, and educational institutions with architectural design. All these facets then had to be collected and distilled by a single creative agency, Bullhorn Creative (that’d be us). Together, our collective goal was and is to continue and enhance the legacy of Rupp Arena and all that entails.

The Ins & Outs Of The Film’s Production
During pre-production, we found a wealth of interesting people willing to share their stories about what Rupp Arena means to them and they hailed from Greensburg, Danville, Corbin, Lexington, Lawrenceburg, Frankfort, Louisville—from cities and towns across the Commonwealth. We found Conner Loy in Columbia shooting hoops outside his barn in 10-degree weather. We visited one of the most amazing “fan caves” in Hodgenville, where super-fan Henry Miller has built a shrine to U.K. basketball that has no equal. And how can you beat having your own miniature version of Rupp Arena like the Quarles family of Frankfort has done?

We kicked off principal cinematography in mid-December, 2013, hitting those (and more) locations around the Commonwealth before we got to the obvious heart of the matter: Rupp Arena.

We immersed ourselves in the history of the building. It’s welcoming, intimidating and alive. We imagined what an opposing team feels walking into Rupp on game night.

We explored the court, sat in each section, found unusual angles to shoot and generally let the space talk to us—and it did just that. This prepared us for game time a week later with a fresh perspective. We filmed the extremely vocal and passionate Big Blue Nation in all its glory, cheering against Mississippi State. We won. Perfect.

The film was co-directed by Colin Doherty and Blake Judd. Once our footage was gathered, we put our heads together with editor Todd Tue, of Milk Products Media, who is based in Chicago, Ill. He put together more than 100 cuts to make the final product come together in such a spectacular way. NBBJ finalized the renderings and the animated fly-over, sent them our way, and we locked in the edit. We then turned it over to Joshua Nicholson, a Hip-Hop producer based in Louisville, to score. He killed it and his work confirmed that percussion is a wonderful sonic backdrop to watching a building morph right in front of your eyes. Lexington’s Hendrick Floyd gave a strong and authentic voice over read. Then, Forward Post out of Nashville, color-graded the video, which then returned to Lexington for sound mastering, a process ably performed by Dynamix Studios. Then, we delivered it with this scene in mind: an eight-year-old looks out the window from the back seat of her dad’s car as they drive through the Bluegrass State. She begins to sing the state song. The ride starts. Free Rupp, y’all!

Film Answer Key (2 Minute)
0:13 – Scott Padgett celebrating the 1996 National Championship
0:14 – A dunk by Dan Issel, NBA Hall of Famer
0:17 – Cawood Ledford also know as the “The Voice of The Wildcats”
0:19 – Henry Miller Jr. has been collecting UK gear since 1986
0:25 – Margaret Woods has a poodle named Buffy who can dunk
0:28 – Monster Dunk by Marquis Estill
0:32 – Jacob is part of the prestigious Committee of 101 as a UK usher
0:37 – Lebron James attended the Vandy vs UK game in 2010
0:40 – Jay Z rocked Rupp with his presence in 2011
0:46 – Former 1st round pick in the NBA, Kenny “Sky” Walker
0:49 – Jamal Mashburn, AKA Monster Mash has his #24 jersey retired at Rupp Arena
0:56 – The 1982 State Championship game was won at the buzzer when Laurel County’s Paul Andrews hit a desperation 50-foot shot to beat North Hardin
1:12 – Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith have all been UK coaches
1:13 – Tayshaun Prince sinking a 3 against UNC
1:23 – Madison Central High School, 2013 State Champions
1:52 – Kentucky River Palisades in Madison County
1:53 – Lexington, KY, home for the University of Kentucky
1:54 – Created by Architect Frank Mills Andrews, the Kentucky’s State Capitol building in Frankfort

Architects: NBBJ + EOP
Animation: NBBJ
Production Company: Bullhorn
Executive Producers: Brad Flowers & Griffin VanMeter
Producer: Colin Doherty
Directors: Colin Doherty & Blake Judd
Co-Producer: Blake Judd
Line Producer: Erin Sweeney
Creative Director: Adam Kuhn
Editor: Todd Tue
Composer: Joshua Nicholson
Associate Producers: Brume Jessa & Will Jones
Cameras: Richie Wireman, Jacob Ennis, Ramie Hutchison, & Stanley Sievers
Voice Over: Hendrick Floyd
Sound Mastering: Dynamix Studios, Lexington
Color Grading: Forward Post, Nashville

Special thanks to WKYT for the UK Footage

30 Second Redux