SportsNation’s incredible machine salutes show’s 2M Facebook fans

How do you say thank you to the 2 million fans who support you on Facebook?

SportsNation decided to celebrate the milestone with a special “Rube Goldberg machine” incorporating special memories from the show’s half-decade of existence.

Coordinating producer Whit Albohm gives Front Row some background on the unique video, including the long process that led to the final product.

How did this idea to do a Rube Goldberg machine-themed video come about?
When SportsNation was launched five years ago and we were first developing the artistic vision for the show with [Vice President, Original Programming and Production] Jamie Horowitz; [Vice President, Creative Services] Ricky Paiva; Kevin Wildes, [senior coordinating producer]; David Jacoby, [senior producer, Grantland]; Mike Szykowny, [senior director, Motion Graphics]; and Alex Tyner, [coordinating director]; we all loved the Rube Goldberg machines as an inspiration. Elements of our original animations reflect this. Red Bull recently released a Rube Goldberg video and we thought this would be perfect for SN.

What was the production day like?
To quote [SN co-host] Michelle Beadle, “Dude – this is the longest shoot of my life!” Kidding aside, it was an amazing shoot and incredible how much attention to detail went into this 90-second piece. Everything had to line up perfectly for a successful pass.

How long did it take to set up?
The engineers spent the better part of a month working on the physics of each and every component of the machine. Everything is intricately connected. By the time we shot, we were hoping to get it within five takes, with every reset taking over 30 minutes. The “over” hit — it took us 17 takes to nail it.

It looks like there are a lot of pieces included in the machine that have special meaning to the show.
Yes, we really loved all the show callbacks from the five years of SportsNation. Two of our favorites were the recreation of the Beadle Cannon Shoot and the return of show favorite Mackerel Jordan [a human-sized fish] devouring Beadle.

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