LOS ANGELES -- When the Los Angeles Kings celebrated their second Stanley Cup win in three years with a parade and rally on Monday, the same opening video and song that played the team onto the ice before every home playoff game was blasted again.
The images of young Kings players spliced with current footage of them playing hockey to Aerosmith’s "Dream On" became synonymous with the Kings’ playoff run.
Two years ago it was old photos of Kings players intermixed with current ones played to "Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance that served as the backdrop for the Kings’ first Stanley Cup run.
Both videos were designed and edited by Tim Libeau, 35, who lives 2,700 miles away in Washington, D.C., and has only attended two Kings games during their brace of Stanley Cup runs.
On Monday, ESPNLA.com caught up with him to talk about the popularity of the videos and what went into making them.
What was the inspiration for the Kings’ “Dream On” opening?
Tim Libeau: "Danny Zollars, AEG's vice president of game entertainment and events, approached me and the video's producer, Chuck Roseberry, about creating a video with ‘Dream On’ as the song. The inspiration came out of Danny's head. It was his idea to get the old VHS footage and incorporate it into a video with highlights using the song. After that, it was my job to tell a story with all the footage he sent me."
There’s old footage of Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and other players playing youth hockey, spliced with current footage in the opening. What’s the process for putting together a video like that? How many hours of footage did you have to go through to get the finished product?
TL: "Danny sent me a package of DVDs and VHS tapes that he wrangled from the guys and their families. I swear that the Alec Martinez footage of Alec holding the trophy came from a VHS that came straight off of a shelf in his parent's living room. It had his parents’ handwriting on an old label that reminded me of the VHS tapes my dad has in the basement of the house I grew up in. I had to sift through about a dozen hours of grainy VHS footage to find the best moments. In addition to finding some amazing plays, like Stoll's winning goal and celebration, I also ran across some funny moments, like seeing Anze Kopitar's little brother dressed up in a clown costume. Ah, the surprises that come from reusing the same VHS tape! The Kings also sent another couple hours of beautiful slow-motion in-game footage, Stanley Cup shots and game highlights. It took several days just to organize it all."
How much influence do the Kings give you creatively on a project like this?
TL: "Danny Zollars chose ‘Dream On’ and Chuck and I both agreed it was a great fit. I edited the music track down to fit the duration Danny requested, and once the music edit got approval, I started cutting. Danny is always open to ideas from Chuck and me, but he deserves all the credit for ‘Dream On’ choice."
The opening scene when a young Drew Doughty says he wants to be a hockey player when he grows up fit so perfectly. At what point in your research did you see that, and did you think that would be the opening when you saw it?
TL: "I was a couple weeks into the edit when Danny mentioned that he had run across the Doughty clip. He had his crew pull it especially for me. Drew's childhood moment epitomized 'The Dream,' and we knew had to use it to cue the music and begin the video."
You live in D.C. Have you been to a Kings game during the playoffs to see the finished product and the reaction it gets from fans?
TL: "I've been to two Kings playoff games. In 2012, I saw them beat the Blues in Round 2. And I recently attended Game 2 of the final a couple of Saturdays ago. It's always a thrill to experience your work being played in an environment like that. The instant reaction from the fans is exciting and gratifying. Throughout my career, I've edited about a dozen game-opening videos for various NHL teams. But the Stanley Cup final was by far the biggest stage one of my videos has ever played on. When they played 'Dream On' before Game 2, all 18,900 fans just went crazy. It was an emotional moment for me and definitely a career highlight. I know the fans are cheering for their team more than the video, but it felt really good knowing that I had made that little contribution to such special event. I was honored to have the opportunity to edit the video, and it was nice to see that the fans were happy with it."
What’s the biggest highlight or best feedback you’ve gotten in response to the opening?
TL: "The biggest highlight for me was reading an Erin Andrews tweet saying the video gave her goose bumps. My friend emailed it to me, and I posted it on my Facebook wall. I'm sure the goose bumps had more to do with seeing Stoll scoring that winning goal in the old VHS footage than my editing. I also got to meet Luc Robitaille and talk about the video, which was pretty sweet. He's a really cool guy and had a lot of nice things to say about 'Dream On,' as well as 'Black Parade,' which I edited back in 2012."
Speaking of that, the opening was similar in some ways to the “Black Parade” opening during the 2012 Stanley Cup run. Did you draw any inspiration from that when working on the “Dream On” opening?
TL: "Danny wanted to up the ante a little from ‘Black Parade’ by using actual video instead of just photos of the guys as kids. So some of the inspiration came from that decision. I still had access to some photos of players like Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, and Matt Greene from 2012, so I incorporated those in early in the montage to help tell the story. Each of the Kings players had been dreaming about a moment like this since they were kids, and that was the theme I worked off of."
The “Black Parade” opening still holds a special place in the heart of Kings fans. What was the process like for making that intro, and what was the reaction like?
TL: "I cut that opening while working at BASE Productions in their Virginia offices back in 2012. I was working with Danny, Chuck and a talented graphic artist, Zach Hollifield. Our story was the journey players’ and fans’ takes as they approach playoff games, followed by the action and excitement of actually watching the games. The lyrics really drove the ship -- a dad taking his son to a Kings game to join the ‘Black Parade’ and the players creating a legacy that will ‘carry on.’ In my mind, it was a call to the city of L.A. to take notice of this special team that was playing in their city. That 2012 team was amazing. And when we chose ‘Black Parade,’ I just crossed my fingers that they'd win it all despite being the No. 8 seed. They made that little video very special by winning it all and actually having that ‘Black Parade.’"
The song "Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance fit so perfectly and has almost become the Kings anthem. How was that song picked? Do you pick a song first in the process and get the idea for how the video will look depending on the rhythm and words of the song?
TL: "I recall being the first to suggest ‘Black Parade’ to Chuck and Danny. But when it all comes down to it, Luc and the guys at the Kings have the final say, so I have to give them props for being brave enough to go for it. In 2010, I talked the Washington Capitals into showing the Stanley Cup on screen while playing Metallica's “Nothing Else Matters” right before they got bounced in the first round. So I knew these song choices can come back to bite you. Once the Kings approved the song, we dove into the edit, and since I had suggested the song, I knew that I wanted to let the lyrics drive the edit. The music edit also allowed for a cool break in the video for the laser show, which helped with the energy in the arena."
Finally, do you feel a connection to teams that you work with? You weren’t a Kings fan before, but have you become one because of these videos?
TL: "I've worked with the Kings for the past three years and I do feel very connected to them. In fact, my playoff beard started after Game 1 against San Jose in April, and I just shaved it off yesterday. I ended up looking like a lumberjack in my son's church-dedication photos. All for the Kings! I love the fact that they are a Team, with a capital T, and their never-say-die spirit was palpable even on the East Coast. I was living and dying on every possession during the OTs of Game 5 the other night, but I always felt like they were going pull it off. After Martinez's [Cup-winning] goal came at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time, my wife had to quiet me down so I wouldn't wake up my son. I was so happy for Luc, Danny and all the players.
"I've edited videos and television shows for about a dozen pro sports teams over the years, and I always end up being a fan of them while I'm working with them. The Capitals gave me my start, and I worked for them for 11 seasons. That being said, in 2012 I became a ‘free agent’ professionally and started my own business. And when the Kings came to Verizon Center this past March, I found myself cheering for both sides. These Kings teams will always hold a special place in my heart, because I had never been part of a championship team until I started working with them. After jumping on board with the Kings in 2012, I could not have picked a better time. And now I'm a Kings fan for life."