As competitive poker continues to grow in popularity, the Sky Poker channel has been capturing the tension of the plays, bets and calls of the Sky Poker UK Poker Championships with the help of Trickbox TV.
The inaugural four-day tournament attracted hundreds of players competing for over £600,000 prize money. It was held in February 2014 at the Dusk Till Dawn casino in Nottingham, with six episodes shot and edited for later transmission on Sky Sports HD2 and Challenge TV. Trickbox TV provided a multi-camera flyaway unit for a single day of filming on the final table.
Following the success of the first tournament, the second saw more than 500 players flock back to Nottingham in August for the Sky Poker 6-Max UK Poker Championship, this time with over £1 million prize money up for grabs. Thanks to lessons learned from the first shoot, the production team decided to alter the shooting format.
“In February we shot most of the footage on handheld cameras around the venue and the subsequent edit took a long time,” says Bruce Clements, Sky’s Senior Producer responsible for the overall programme output of the Sky Poker channel. “However, the footage shot by Trickbox TV from the final table was fantastic quality and had also been vision mixed live in the Trickbox PPU, so it was much easier to edit. When we started planning the second tournament filming we decided to extend the multi-camera shoot in order to get more close-ups and reduce the post-production time required.”
Trickbox TV was contracted to shoot for three days on a feature table where many of the better players were placed. The Trickbox TV cameras were able to capture the close-up action that is so important in poker, seeing every twitch, expression and gesture that could then be analysed by commentators during the edit to ratchet up the tension.
“The quality of this additional footage is so good that we are extending the next series to ten episodes,” says Bruce. “These close-up shots really bring something special to each episode.”
Bruce adds, “Simon Hotchkin - Trickbox TV's Unit Manager - and the rest of the Trickbox TV team were very helpful and professional throughout. They set up in very little time and in limited space, and were careful not to impinge on the casino’s activities. I was most impressed with Trickbox’s work and plan to work with them again on the next tournament.”
The new series featuring the second Sky Poker UK Poker Championship is scheduled for TX in October on Sky Sports.