Scripps National Spelling Bee Feature for ESPN

Tom Miller filming Cameron Keith kayaking for ESPN
Cameron Keith

Twelve year old Cameron Keith loves kayaking, playing cello, and hiking with his family.

He’s also pretty good at spelling.

In fact, in 2015 he was the youngest contestant to make it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee at age 9. He competed again in 2016.

And now he’s back - advancing to the finals today with the word "Zimbabwean." 

We were lucky enough to meet Cameron and his family on an epic Colorado spring day, to shoot a couple of feature stories on him for ESPN that will coincide with his appearance in the Bee tomorrow.

Our mission was to show another side of Cameron - one away from words, coaching, and practice. We worked with ESPN Producer Elle Habel to capture scenes that show some of Cameron’s other passions -  like boating with his family in their Oru folding Kayak, hiking in the Boulder foothills with his dogs, and playing with his gang of friends. For their interviews, we perched them all on boulders with the expanse of the Rocky Mountains serving as a backdrop. 

Our primary camera package was the Sony F55 with Canon Cinema Prime lenses. We used a Canon 18-80 servo lens for our b-roll. We also had fun with our DJI Osmo+ Handheld Gimbal with 4K Zoom Camera to grab some super smooth kayak to kayak shots, as well as some cool hiking POV. 

The first version of our feature will air during Part 1 of the finals - between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. If he advances further, another version will air during Part 2 between 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.



Written by Tom Miller, Photo by Teri K Miller