The NFL offseason is heading into its darkest days. That lonely period when minicamps end and we're forced to contemplate the greater things in life while we await the start of training camp, the preseason and finally -- regular season football.
Thankfully, the NFL cheerleaders are here to help.
Both the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders and the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders (the "Saintsations") recorded covers of Taylor Swift's hit song "22" while on the set of their 2013 calendar shoots. The assignment fell on my desk to cover this topic, so I decided to go to the tape and breakdown each video. Please send your sympathies to @AlexGelhar. This was a really tough assignment.
Before reading on, it'd be best if you familiarized yourself with both videos first:
After watching both videos, I'll use three categories to break down and rate the videos before ultimately crowning a winner: Creativity, the Silhouette shot and Organization. Now, let's break down some tape.
The Dolphins team made good use of the lush locations from their calendar shoot and added nice enhancements in post-production, like the sequence where they used rhythmic editing with split-screen shots synched to the bass beat in the song. A nice touch. However, they didn't push their girls or put them in too many unique set-ups. The pool dive was interesting, but it would have been great to see more of that style and flare.
For the Saints, they did a great job of getting their girls outside the normal confines of "cheerleading," by having them riding a four-wheeler, holding crabs, sitting in a truck and dancing on an air boat, among other things.
Their video lacked the polish in post-production of the Dolphins, but it appeared their girls were having more fun with their interesting sets and props.
The Silhouette shot
Since both videos decided to include a silhouetted shot of a cheerleader, I figured it's only fair to judge them head-to-head.
The Dolphins video features their cheerleader jumping in front of the sun with pom poms, which have a nice effect reflecting the sunlight.
The Saints opted to shoot their silhouette shot with the sun setting, giving it a darker look with cool colors as opposed to the warmth of the direct sunlight.
Personally, I found the camera angle and composition of the Saints' shot far more engaging. Seeing the horizon, setting sun and night sky all in the background showed added thought and preparation for the shoot, which, being a videophile, I appreciated.
As NFL cheerleaders, these girls are among the best at creating and performing routines in unison. This category grades the organization the teams used in their videos.
The Dolphins video was sorely lacking in terms of any sort of organization or dance numbers from the girls. Disappointing, considering they are cheerleaders. They had one solid tracking (or steadicam) shot of all of the girls on the beach with their bikini bottoms adding up to "22" that would have made Martin Scorsese proud.
Meanwhile, the Saints had the crescendo of the song and their video represented with all of the girls together on the steps of a classic Louisiana home. It wasn't extravagant, but it was great to see all the girls together at the end of the video dancing together since, you know, that's what they do for a living.
Even though there wasn't much to the Saintsations final number, I still have to give them the nod for actually getting all of the girls together in one shot for the video.
In what turned out to be a landslide victory, the Saintsations win the inaugural cheerleader cover battle for their take on Swift's "22." In addition to the categories I examined above, the Saintsations did a better job of trying to tell the story of the song in their video as well, with shots of the girls actually getting ready, eating "breakfast at midnight," and so on. The Dolphins cheerleaders gave an admirable effort in some beautiful locations, but the extra creativity and thought put into the Saintsations video ultimately tipped the scales in their favor.