Live Streaming offers Branded Content a new way to reach customers... and actually connect.

HABANA Avenue’s Managing Director and Founder Steven J. Levy recently attended Advertising Week in New York, and to no surprise there was a clear emphasis on live streaming and the opportunities brands have where they can engage with consumers.

Unilever’s CMO and guest editor of Think With Google Keith Weed shared the same sentiment and expressed his takeaways on the subject as well:

“Looking at Gen Z, 95% of them use YouTube, and 50% say they can’t live without it. And 69% of Gen Z are on Instagram. The trick for us as marketers will be thinking about how this feeds into new forms of commerce.” Weed said, emphasizing that, “It might finally be the year of video.”

From a marketing standpoint, live streaming is a trend marketers and brands cannot pass up. Especially right now with this generation’s audiences being heavily engaged with digital mediums. But, it is more than just advertising on social platforms. Engaging an audience is far more important than subconsciously seeing an ad while you scroll on Facebook or Instagram.

Rise of Live Streaming – Redefining Real-Time Engagement by Peter Koeppel

Rise of Live Streaming – Redefining Real-Time Engagement by Peter Koeppel

What makes live streaming such an integral aspect of brand marketing?

Quick answer: With the engagement on video platforms being so high, this relatively new trend works extremely well with the evolving consumer preferences. With viewership being the payout, and with platforms that have upwards of hundreds of millions of active users, preferences cannot be overlooked. The numbers speak for themselves, and these social platforms are taking the industry by storm: 

Research by Peter Koeppel
Facebook Live:

  • Over 360 million users watch regularly
  • Videos are watched three times longer than any other video content
  • About 200 million regular users watch
  • Features real-time likes and comments

 YouTube Live:

  • One billion people use YouTube
  • Live streaming is only for verified channels
  • Option available for mobile live stream once you have 1,000 subscribers


  • Active daily users of 9.7 million people
  • The average user spends 106 minutes watching live streams each day

  • 6 million total users view content monthly
  • Average users spend three sessions per day in the app, or about 3.5 minutes a day

Hank Williams, Jr. Returns to Monday Night Football: Red Carpets to Red Zones

HABANA Avenue Gets America Ready for Some Football Once Again

Regardless of asking viewers, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” ESPN and the NFL already know the answer.  The answer has been a resounding “yes” since 1989 when Hank Williams Jr. first asked football fans the famous question during that year’s regular season.

So, it was only natural that HABANA Avenue’s Managing Director and Founder Steven J. Levy gave a resounding yes to ESPN and the Monday Night Football brand managers when asked if he and HABANA could help revive the return of Hank Williams Jr. to NFL football’s primetime Monday night opener.

To make sure that Hank Williams Jr. and all his rowdy friends were ready for Monday Night, Chris Mantzaris and Lucas P. Nickerson co-directed the content package which included three new “rowdy friends”, pop star Jason Derulo and country duo Florida Georgia Line.  Each musician contributed their voices to the iconic and famous lyrics that football fans around the country love to hear every Monday Night.

In addition to the return of Hank Williams Jr. to the stage, ESPN ushered in the Monday Night Football commentators, former NFL Coach Jon Gruden, sportscasters Sean McDonough and Lisa Salters to HABANA's "Red Carpet" production.  MNF featured the new GMC Terrain when it delivered the stars and athletes of Monday Night Football the season's big night.

A Look Into The 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit In L.A.

Habana Avenue at the 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit

After a great night watching the athletic greats of this past sports season receive The ESPY's top accolades, Variety hosted their annual Sports & Entertainment Summit on Thursday morning.

The Summit not only explores opportunities surrounding the intersecting worlds of sports and multi-platform media, but also the strategies and trends in these fields and how they coexist.

Steven J. Levy and Jason Adelman at the 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit

Steven J. Levy and Jason Adelman at the 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit


HABANA's President and Founder Steven J. Levy, along with Head of Brand Strategy & Business Development Jason Adelman, stuck around Los Angeles after The ESPYs to mingle with colleagues in the field. They attended engaging panels presented by top commentators and analysts such Fox NFL's Erin Andrews and former New York Giant Micheal Strahan, to learn and embrace new views of thought regarding sports entertainment, and of course, to hang out with iconic athletes that make sports entertaining in the first place.


Levy commented that, "Amazing as it is to mingle with iconic athletes like Hall of Fame inductee star fullback LaDainian Tomlinson and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, it's even cooler to do it in the old sound stage where 'I Love Lucy' was originally filmed."

The Summit being housed in NeueHouse Hollywood's creative offices, (once the historic CBS Columbia Square) really ties in the closeness that sports and video production have with each other.

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, HABANA Avenue's Jason Adelman & Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns at the 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, HABANA Avenue's Jason Adelman & Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns at the 2017 Variety Sports & Entertainment Summit


HABANA Sits Among the Athletic Elite at The ESPYs 2017

Coming off of a recent Monday Night Football shoot for longtime client ESPN, Steven J. Levy, President and Founder at HABANA, and Jason Adelman, Head of Brand Strategy and Business Development are no strangers to the world of sports entertainment. They were both in attendance last night at The 2017 ESPY Awards held in the enormous Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles hosted by non other than former SuperBowl MVP Peyton Manning.

"Peyton Manning killed it. He is the confluence of sport, personality and brand authentically personified." Levy said.

Founder & President, Steven J. Levy with Head of Brand Strategy & Business Development, Jason Adelman

Founder & President, Steven J. Levy with Head of Brand Strategy & Business Development, Jason Adelman

Manning kept the show lively, kept the crowd laughing, and did right by those who were awarded the top honors in their respective sports.

The night was an authentic showcase of all the cogs and gears that make sports and sports media the entertainment and love of sport experience that most know and adore. Awards ranging from "Best Play" that went to Green Bay Packer QB Aaron Rodgers, to the "Jimmy V Award for Perseverance" which was awarded to 15 year old Jarrius Robertson, who is currently fighting a chronic liver disease called biliary atresia. 

All the athletic greats were in on place last night, showing community and honor to the sports they play, and those who love the sport.

London Brown from HBO's "Ballers" and Steven J. Levy

London Brown from HBO's "Ballers" and Steven J. Levy

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Steven J. Levy & Jason Adelman

Steven J. Levy & Jason Adelman

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

The 2017 ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Leon Bridges puts a soulful twist on our National Anthem for ESPN's "The Undefeated"

Director of Photography Mark Eberle collaborated with fellow Texas native Leon Bridges for a soulful, powerful rendition of  "The Start Spangled Banner".  Shot in their hometown of Forth Worth, Eberle creates a moody, intimate look that is reminiscent of classic soul singers from the past. 

Of his first time singing the national anthem outside of school, the 26 year old soul artist said,

"I felt that the original version is a little bit too straightforward musically... I felt it was kind of dope to give a little 6/8, groovy feel to it. Something that felt comfortable for me to sing... Just giving it a bit of a soul feel felt good to me."

Bridges' piece is part of a new ESPN series "The National Anthem" featuring six different voices singing "The Star Spangled Banner" each with their own twist. 

Sources: ESPN, Rolling Stone

'Day of Days' Actors win big at the Women's International Film and Art Festival in Miami

Independent Film Making at Its Finest

Director of Photography Mark Eberle's recent project "Day of Days" starring only two characters was called an "Audience Favorite" by the Women's International Film and Art Festival President and Founder, Yvonne McCormack Lyons at the world premiere on November 4th in Miami. 

The film starred Tom Skerritt, Award winning acting veteran, and Peruvian actress Claudia Zevallos, and both left the festival as winners of the 'Best Actor' awards in each respective category. 

"Day of Day's" was inspired by a true story of a 91 year old recluse and Cuban refugee home-aid worker and touches upon the challenges of life; Acceptance, regret, love, loss, and the most difficult of human truths; life ends, and life goes on. 

We're proud to have Mark as part of the team. Congrats to the entire cast and crew of "Day of Days" on the win!

Click here to read more about the film and the festival! 

Top Questions When Hiring A Drone Company

There are a lot of questions we get when someone wants to hire Aerial Cinematography with HABANA. President and Founder Steven J. Levy and Director of Photography Jordy Klein Jr. answer the most Frequently Asked Questions.


The most important question: Do you have your FAA 333 Exemption?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “Absolutely. Never hire a crew that doesn’t have this exemption because you run the risk of receiving a fine from the FAA.”

Steven J. Levy: “We are proud to be have been the first in Florida and 22nd in the nation to receive our FAA exemption. With the help of veteran FAA-licensed HABANA's Drone Division pilot Mark Eberle, we built a flight operations plan that is best in class and focuses safety first.”

Have you ever crashed during a shoot?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “I love this question. It always makes me laugh – people’s reactions are priceless when you ask them this. It’s like asking a camera operator if he’s ever dropped a camera during a shoot. In reality, anyone who says “I never crash” doesn’t know what they’re talking about…or they’ve never actually flown a UAS. While I have never actually crashed an aircraft on a shoot, I have certainly had my share of mishaps during the testing of new hardware.”

Steven J. Levy: “We are fortunate to have never have crashed a UAV on a shoot. All the credit goes to our expert pilots, flight crew, and risk assessment process.”

Do you bring a spare aircraft or spare parts for your drone in case you have a minor accident?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “Always – unless it’s cost prohibitive. If I’m unable to bring a spare drone because of shipping costs or space, I’ll bring all major components needed to repair it in case of an accident. Don’t listen to someone saying their drones are “state of the art” and “never have problems” because that’s just not true. They’re all made of electronic parts from China and are usually hobby-grade. You may only get one flight out of your drone or you could get a thousand. It’s kind of like playing Russian Roulette.”

Steven J. Levy: “We’re fortunate to have UAV engineers on our team who are also flight techs that join us on set and keep us safe — to answer the question, we always bring spare, air frames, batteries and propellers, not to mention an extra UAV— it’s in our nature to always come prepared.”

What kind of parts do you bring?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “I always have spare propellers, motors, electronic speed controllers, motor arms, and a flight controller on hand. You should always ask your crew what kind of flight controller they use. If they don’t know, that’s a HUGE red flag.”

Steven J. Levy: “We bring so much that in almost every case, we could totally rebuild an aircraft if necessary — again it’s in our nature to always come prepared.”

Okay. What kind of flight controller do you use?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “I’m not sure…JUST KIDDING. Most people just use DJI Flight controllers. The most common low end DJI controller is the Naza, the high and would be the WooKong and A2. All of these are good controllers. FreeFly also makes really nice aircraft and controllers; most other controllers on the market are just DJI copycats.”

Steven J. Levy: “I agree and prefer WooKong flight controllers.”

How many battery packs do you need to bring?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: I usually bring 6. That’s the magic number. I bring 6 memory cards as well. I always change the memory card between flights. It would suck if you had an incident and lost all the footage from previous flights just because you didn’t change cards.

Steven J. Levy: “We bring a minimum of 6 batteries and two chargers. We either want to be flying a battery or charging it. We need to acquire as much footage as possible for every client.”

Is that usually what it takes to last the whole day?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “Yes, that’s usually plenty – even if the client is asking for repetitive flights that always lasts me. Even so, I always bring a small Honda generator with me to these shoots to charge the batteries on-site if I need to. My generator can charge up to three packs at a time. You can also use a car battery, but it’s nowhere near as fast. If you don’t have a generator I highly recommend purchasing one – you can even rent one from a place like Home Depot if you need.”

Steven J. Levy: “A reliable power source is a non-negotiable.”

What kind of video downlink do you have?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “The DJI Light Bright is pretty common, and the best to use is a Connex. Both of these are high end HD transmitters. Some people use Standard Definition transmitters because of how reliable they are but…they’re SD.”

Steven J. Levy: “We definitely prefer an HD downlink on every job, when given a choice.”

Do you have a second monitor for the client to see the video?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “Always. I have a 15” monitor that I bring for clients to look off of and to keep them from constantly looking over my shoulder at my monitor. Both of my monitors run off the same batteries as my aircraft.”

Steven J. Levy: “Again, at this level, it would be amateurish o fly without a monitor for Director and Client feedback.  It’s necessary!”

Do you have insurance?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “I sure do.”

Steven J. Levy: “Absolutely.”

And it covers the aircraft camera?

Jordan Klein, Jr.: “It does indeed cover the aircraft camera. Crashes can happen and a crew should never ask the client to recoup money for an accident. I certainly never would.”

Steven J. Levy “We do our homework. We make sure that anything that can go wrong in the air is covered. All aerial companies should have insurance. We do, and so should any reputable aerial operation.”

Credit: Crews Control & Jordan Klein, Jr.

HABANA celebrates 10 years of NBC’s Sunday Night Football

And What A Great 10 Years It Has Been

As NBC marks the 10th anniversary of Sunday Night Football, HABANA celebrates belonging to the team of the artists and producers that make Sunday Night Football come alive every year.

From NBC’s Super Bowl Opener with Faith Hill to Carrie Underwood, HABANA has been thrilled to be apart of NBC Sunday Night Football from the very start.

HABANA thrives on building the momentum and power of sports & music, combining the two to producing openers that are engaging & memorable.

HABANA is Proud To Be The First and Only Company To Provide Aerial Drone Cinematography on The Set of Sunday Night Football. 

Bodies (and Objects) in Motion Require Special Handling

Directors and EPs agree that creating or scoring for action and sports content has unique demands.

It’s clear that what constitutes action and sports content has been re-defined in this new age of social media and video sharing.

Whether you’re talking about traditional action or sports ads that incorporate game footage from baseball, basketball, tennis or soccer (football to the rest of the world), or if what you’re watching is more amateur or extreme – anything from skateboarding films to wing suits comes to mind – there’s a new set of rules that dictate what it has to look like and sound like. It’s got to reek of realism and be rooted in pop culture, our experts say, in order to stand even the slightest chance of breaking through.

Bicoastal content production company HABANA, led by President and Founder Steven J. Levy, has created everything from show opens to live events to Super Bowl parties to branded content, programs and spots for a range of brands, ad agencies and media companies.

Passing the Authenticity Test

When it comes to action, authenticity is critical. In today’s online society of fans and trolls, no one can afford to put out content that looks faked or staged, or they’ll get called on it – and quick.

Making sure action and sports content passes the sniff test means knowing where and how it’s going to be seen.

“The single focus I have for making sure our work is recognized is to truly understand where each client will distribute the content that they’ve entrusted us to produce, and to completely understand the content channel landscape,” explains HABANA Avenue’s Steven J. Levy. “As content producers, we can no longer just go shoot a storyboard! We need to understand how and why individual broadcast and social channels are successful.”

Their approach at HABANA is to request a detailed brief on every project they handle, Levy adds, “and if one doesn’t exist we’ll create it for ourselves. It deeply informs every creative inquiry along the journey.”

Zooming In on the Action

Perhaps nowhere has the revolution in camera technology had a bigger impact than in sports and action content. Producers and directors can now get shots that were unthinkable just a few years ago. For everyone – even those selecting the score or soundtrack – the impact has been huge.

HABANA’s Levy points out that his company was one of the first in the country to be FAA-approved for UAV or drone camera platforms.

“Our teams have shot everything from Dodge performance brands to NBC’s Sunday Night Football,” he says. “And while there are still some stigmas attached to exactly which model camera you’re using, our approach is to match the best available technology to achieve the desired outcome. The capability of this gear is advancing at an exponential rate. We embrace it, as long as the technology helps us to tell a better story.”

Epic Heroes, Epic Sounds

Years ago it was the introduction of the X Games on ESPN that shifted the creation of action and sports content into an ‘extreme’ mode. One trend driving the category seems to be the continued linking of music with teams, broadcasts, brands and events.

“Adweek claimed recently that there’s been no better time for the fusion of music and sports than now,” says Levy. “At HABANA, we’ve been impressed by the network musical directors and creative directors we work with, who’ve seen the passionate sweet spots where music and sport unite and are capitalizing on it. These are mostly unheralded matchmakers who are equally passionate about their craft, and it shows in the kind of content you’re seeing.”

Adweek’s report called out four recent music and sports related projects as evidence of this trend, and two of them – Fall Out Boy’s tie in with ESPN’s college football coverage and the involvement of supergroup U2 on the network’s FIFA World Cup coverage – were produced byHABANA.  (Check out the entire report here.)

Media Channels Shift Gears

As you might expect, the surge in sports and action content has kept many of the companies that specialize in it busy, as all of our sponsors report.  But there’s more than just the greater volume of work driving this; fundamental shifts in how sports programming and ads are consumed is impacting the trend as well.

“Traditionally, sports media has always been a stable growth business,” says Levy. “The past year has seen a lot of shifting. Larger distributors of content are being forced to deal with the revenue loss of cable TV’s cord-cutters, and the move from subscription-based cable packages to on-demand personal and mobile viewing is exposing a slow adoption by decision-makers in the sports tech space.”

Where this is going is almost anyone’s guess, but Levy says the trick for companies like his is to keep their focus on quality. “There will be a lot of knee-jerk reactions to try and keep-up, but the bright lights of the genre will always illuminate the deeply passionate stories of ‘rags to riches’ and ‘David versus Goliath’ that only sports can deliver every day of the year.”

-Written By Anthony Vagnoni for SourceEcreative

Producers, Directors and Music Mavens Keep the Genre Moving

Stunning locales and amazing skills, fueled by specialized techniques and styles, are the hallmarks of this fast-moving category.

Credit: SourceEcreative, Article By Halyce Naparstek

The most compelling action, adventure and sports content can inspire us to be better, try harder, move beyond our limitations and aspire to perform.  Sometimes it can resemble more of a travelogue, with exotic, beautiful locations or feature celebrities or sports figures we admire. HABANA's “Your Fight Matters” for Tap Out is a mantra for doing your best. HABANA, our Action & Sports sponsor,  well versed in making us part of the action or, at the very least, impacting the desire to get us off the sofa and move.  Watch these and other extraordinary spots in HABANA’s showreel:

Brand: ABC

Maroon 5 plays "Always You" in this promo for ABC Sports.

Product: Saturday Night College Football

Director: Chris Mantzaris

Prod. Co.: HABANA

Brand: Dorna Sports

Promo for the MotoGP race across 18 countries

Product: MotoGP

Director: John Bruno

Sponsor: HABANA

Brand: ESPN XGames

"XGames Real Wake 2015"

Promo for the Real Wake 2015 at the ESPN XGames

Product: Real Wake 2015

Director: Jordan Klein Jr.

Sponsor: HABANA



FAA Approved Drones For Networks

Few Have FAA Approval To Fly Drones for Your Productions…

HABANA does. We offer:

  • + Promax & Emmy Award Winning
  • + Network Veterans
  • + Short & Long-form Experience
  • + Multiple Aircraft
  • + FAA Approved

What we’ve helped produce…

  • ABC Saturday Night Football (Maroon 5)
  • ESPN College Football Championship (Fall Out Boy)
  • ESPN College Football GameDay (Big & Rich)
  • ESPN College Basketball GameDay (Macklemore)
  • ESPN Monday Night Football (Hank Williams, Jr.)
  • NBC Sunday Night Football (Faith Hill)
  • NBC Super Bowl (Faith Hill)
  • DISCOVERY Shark Week
  • ABC NBA Finals (3D Mapping Experience)
  • ABC NBA Playoffs (Cee Lo Green + Nicole Scherzinger)
  • FOOD NETWORK Iron Chef
  • FIFA World Cup Soccer (U2)
  • FIFA World Cup Women’s Soccer (Katy Perry)
  • ESPN X Games Oakley  (Shawn White)

HABANA is FAA Approved, nimble, and operated by media veterans.

Let’s tell a story together.

Fighting To Catch Up

15 states have drone privacy laws and more are on the way

By Timothy Kidwell, published in Drone 360

The Federal Aviation Adminis­tration (FAA) as late as No­vember 2014 denied a petition asking it to begin rulemaking to govern unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) specifically regarding privacy. The reason (as eluci­dated in a letter to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of 100 signatories to the petition): Privacy “is not an imme­diate safety concern.” While this response did not shut the door entirely to rules about privacy, it did signal that the FAA wasn’t as concerned about drones peep­ing in windows as it was about preventing drones from crashing through them.

You might reasonably ask what the U.S. Congress has done, and probably wouldn’t be astonished to learn the answer is not much. The House of Representatives and Senate each introduced a bill to establish privacy rules regarding drones, and murdered both in committees. The plodding federal process can’t keep up with the fast pace of emerg­ing drone technology. However, state legislatures have felt acute pressure from their constituents to do something to curb potential privacy and safety issues, whether from your neighbor’s 16-year-old son crashing a quadcopter into your roof or a sheriff’s deputy flying a 50-pound night-vision-equipped heli to surveil that creepy dude across the street.

As states pass laws governing UAVs, a patchwork of regulations has emerged, ranging from simple moratoriums for use of drones by law enforcement to strict governance for public and private use. This means you might be able to fly a drone and take photos and videos in one state, but can’t do the same activity in another without risking prosecution.

Let’s take a look at the states and what they currently say you can and can’t do with a drone.

According to industry estimates, consumers spent $720 million on drones in 2014, pur­chasing something near 200,000 drones per month worldwide. Privacy concerns, prolifera­tion of tech, unqualified users—what could go wrong? Some states aren’t waiting to find out.


In July 2013, Oregon set limits for both public and private drone use. Law enforcement can  use a drone for surveillance if issued a warrant or during emergencies. Public entities cannot employ weaponized drones (unsurprisingly, neither can private citizens) and, by January 2016, must register all drones with the Oregon Department of Aviation.

For private operators, under the new law, if you fly a drone over an owner’s property at less than 400 feet after the owner tells you not to, the owner can sue you for three times the “damages for any injury to … person or property” and attorney fees.


Utah’s Government Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from obtaining data by a UAV unless they have a warrant, are working with exceptions to warrant requirements, or if data pertaining to a crime or emergency is provided by “a nongovernmental actor.”

It also requires that data not relating to a warrant or other acceptable use cannot be copied or disseminated and must be destroyed “as soon as reasonably possible.” Finally, law enforcement agencies must report the number of drones they own and how often they’re flown.


Idaho employed broad language in a bill to curtail drone use. No “person, entity, or state agency” can use a drone to conduct surveillance unless it has a warrant or is in response to emergencies for “safety, search and rescue, or controlled substance investigations.” Further, people can’t use UAVs to “photograph or otherwise record an individual, without such individual’s written consent, for the purpose of publishing or otherwise publicly disseminating such photograph or recording.” Break the law and you may have to pay $1,000 or “actual and general damages,” whichever is greater, plus attorney fees and litigation costs.


As so many drone laws do, Montana’s focuses on law enforcement. Information obtained from a UAV cannot be used as evidence unless authorized by a warrant or obtained “in accordance to judicially recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement.”


In addition to language allowing law enforcement to use UAVs in accordance with a warrant, operators and crew must be “trained and certified.” Images can be kept for training and as evidence in an investigation. The law also allows the University of Alaska to develop a UAV training program.


Illinois’ Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act prohibits state law enforcement agencies from using drones to gather information except when countering a “high risk of terrorist attack,” pursuing a search warrant, possessing probable cause requiring “swift action,” attempting to find a missing person, photographing the scene of a crime or traffic accident, or surveying a disaster or public health emergency. The “information gathered by the drone” must be destroyed within 30 days of its capture, unless it’s evidence of criminal activity or part of an ongoing investigation.

Illinois’ Fish and Aquatic Life Code says you can’t use a drone to interfere with “another person’s lawful taking of wildlife or aquatic life.” So, don’t use your UAV to harass hunters or fishermen just because you think it makes for great video.


Enacted in July 2014, Indiana requires police to obtain a warrant in order to use a UAV, unless a police officer determines the use is specifically required due to circumstances “necessitating a warrantless search,” a “substantial” threat of terrorist attack, a search-and-rescue operation, a natural disaster, or a noncriminal geographical or environmental reason.


In Iowa, police can’t use a drone to enforce traffic laws, so don’t expect to see drones hovering around stop signs and crosswalks. But that doesn’t give you the greenlight to push the pedal to the floor!

What’s more, Iowa’s law says information obtained with a UAV without a search warrant is “not admissible as evidence in a criminal or civil proceeding.”


In Wisconsin, it’s a misdemeanor to fly a drone “with the intent to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another individual in a place or location where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Police officers need to obtain a search warrant before gathering information with a drone from a location where someone has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” This prohibition does not extend to public places, search-and-rescue operations, or fugitives on the lam.

And, in case you were wondering, unless you’re a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard and acting in an official capacity, don’t fly a weaponized drone in Wisconsin. It’s a felony.


Texas has put together a fairly nuanced drone law. University professors, staff, and students can use UAVs to capture images for “professional or scholarly research,” so long as they do so at the behest of the institution and within an FAA-authorized area. Utilities can employ drones to inspect facilities. You can take a video of a person or property so long as you have permission. Law enforcement has the broadest powers, including: operations pursuant to a warrant, reasonable suspicion, or probable cause; surveying a crime scene; missing- persons investigations; and conducting high-risk tactical operations.

On the flip side, the law makes capturing images of people or private property “with the intent to conduct surveillance” a misdemeanor. (Black’s Law Dictionary defines surveillance as “observation and collection of data to provide evidence for a purpose.”) Should you find yourself afoul of the law, you can defend yourself from prosecution by destroying the image as soon as you realize it was captured and don’t show or share it. Show or share, be ready to face a range of fines.

Also worth noting: Flying a weaponized drone was never mentioned.


Passed unanimously by the Florida House and Senate, and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013, the Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from using drones to gather information except in specific circumstances:

The Secretary of Homeland Security indicates a person or organization poses a high threat of terrorist attack; law enforcement obtains a warrant authorizing use of the drone; or law enforcement has probable cause to think “swift action” is required to prevent death, “facilitate the search for a missing person,” prevent a suspect’s escape, or prevent property damage.


North Carolina’s law prohibits using a drone to “photograph an individual, without the individual’s consent, for the purpose of publishing or otherwise publicly disseminating the photograph.” This doesn’t apply to “newsgathering, newsworthy events, or events or places to which the general public is invited.”

In general, no one, including state agencies and law enforcement (with exceptions such as counterterrorism, obtaining a warrant, or public gatherings), can “conduct surveillance” of people, dwellings, or private property without first getting permission.

People photographed in violation of the statute can seek damages up to $5,000 for each photograph or video taken.

Getting ready to hunt or fish with your quadcopter? Don’t rig up that shotgun just yet. In North Carolina, operating a drone with a weapon attached to it will get you charged with a felony. Hunting or fishing with a drone will add a misdemeanor.

Finally, North Carolina requires state agents to pass a test before they can fly drones, and those interested in commercially flying drones must be licensed by the state.


Tennessee’s drone law almost exactly copies Texas’ nuanced statute. However, Tennessee lawmakers passed an additional law making it illegal for you to use a drone to “conduct surveillance of private citizens who are lawfully hunting or fishing” without first getting their written permission. Who does this?


Virginia, the first state to enact statewide restrictions on drones, imposed a moratorium on drone use in April 2013. Police and regulatory agencies can’t use UAVs except for missing-persons and search-and-rescue operations. It also exempts the National Guard for training but not law enforcement.

In addition, the law also bans the use of weaponized unmanned aerial systems.

Virginia’s moratorium expires later this year, on July 1, 2015.


According to Louisiana’s drone law, it’s illegal to intentionally “conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record a targeted facility” without written permission. If you do, it could mean a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. Do it again, the fine can be up to $2,000 and a year in jail. Something to keep in mind: An “unmanned aerial system” as defined by the law doesn’t pertain to UASs flown by the U.S. federal or state governments, nor local police and fire departments.




Introduced; legislature adjourned without further action


Passed Senate; legislature adjourned without further action


Passed both chambers; vetoed by governor


Died in committee




Passed House; legislature adjourned without further action


Indefinitely postponed


Dead for 2014; referred for interim study


Governor “pocket vetoed” a 2013 bill at the beginning of 2014. Because the bill was passed within the last 10 days of a two-year legislative session, Gov. Chris Christie didn’t veto the law, “pocketing” it instead, which kept it from a possible override vote in the legislature


Passed committee; legislature adjourned without further action


Held for further study


Passed both chambers; vetoed by governor

Originally written By Timothy Kidwell, published in Drone 360

Drone at Stanley Cup Final party causes concerns

TAMPA, FL (WFLA), (sUAS News + HABANA's Drone Division) – A white drone with flashing lights descended from the sky during a Stanley Cup Final party on Amalie Arena’s plaza.

With a camera peering into the crowd, the drone hovered near a large screen showing the game. It then took off.

President and FounderSteven Levy of HABANA is concerned. “That put others in danger, flew over people’s heads, and was potentially an aircraft out of control,” Levy said.

He uses drones to capture amazing video for clients.

Levy worries the person who flew this drone wasn’t able to see it as it zoomed above the hockey fans. “That particular pilot is not in line of sight of that aircraft. They are flying through the camera. That’s extremely dangerous,” he said.

If the pilot had lost contact with the drone, it could’ve gone out of control, Levy added. Just ask Enrique Iglesias. Last week in Mexico the singer grabbed a drone out of the air at a concert. The drone badly sliced his fingers. “They are easy to fly until you lose control,” Levy said.

Others who watched the video agree that a drone should not be flying above a crowd. “I would have been nervous if I was there just what could happen,” Ashley Gaughan said.

Not everyone has a problem with the drone flyover. “I think it’s pretty neat. It’s pretty awesome, actually. Somebody really did that,” Daron Norrington said.

Fabien Dufils Directs Feature Film One Buck

If you are a fan of gritty crime dramas like True Detective or The Wire, then you just might love One Buck directed by HABANA Director, Fabien Dufils.

One Buck takes the audience on an odyssey through the heart of a forgotten town in Louisiana. It follows the tales of those whose destinies may seem simple enough, but are often suspiciously clouded by alternative motivations.

Harry, a worn-out cop mired down in his own deceit, has reached the point of no return as his morals flounder. Heading a police investigation about a disturbing missing persons case,  Harry shirks the rules by increasingly wide margins. Hopelessly lost, teetering on the brink of mental collapse, Harry attempts to save all that is poised for destruction.

One Buck was shot near Shreveport, Louisiana, and now has entered post-production.

Originally born and raised in France and now working from our New York location, Fabien has been nominated for and won several international film awards for the bewitching avant-garde style he infuses into his projects.

Want to know more and keep up with the latest news? Follow Fabien’s One Buck on Facebook, and stay tuned to HABANA’s Social Channels for more One Buck updates!

Music And Sports United: It’s What We Do

We understand that sports and music have remarkably similar fan bases, making sporting events the ideal place for both. After breaking records, Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” has become the anthem of college football, and Maroon 5’s “It Was Always You” now announces to the nation it’s time for Saturday Night Football. The seamless partnership of music and sports makes it clear that opportunities are limitless.


HABANA Avenue is the creative engine leading the way in the fusion of artists and athletes across major sporting events. In a 2015 edition of ADWEEK, ESPN claims that similar formats have created an environment where:

Artists want to align with sports platforms when they prepare their releases – ESPN went on to say, could be the birth of a new sports anthem.


When you’re ready to take hold of this special time in music and sports, think HABANA.


By Oliver Volkmann, published in Drone 360



So you like drones, but if you had to admit it, you probably don’t know that much about them. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.


LIKE THE NAME SAYS, a multi-rotor aircraft is any aircraft that uses multiple propellers to generate vertical lift.

Multi-rotors are often referred to as vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) platforms. They can hover in place and fly independently of their forward orientation. The ease of control makes multi-rotors a great choice for model aircraft beginners. Generally, a multi-rotor consists of a central core to which a number of arms are attached. The end of each arm houses one or two brush-less electric motors that each drive a fixed-pitch prop.


IN ADDITION TO fixed-wing and helicopter models, you can choose from several different drone types, including:

■ Quadcopter (four motors)
■ Tricopter (three motors)
■ Hexacopter (six motors)
■ Y6 (two motors on each of the three arms)
■ X8 (two motors on each of four arms)
■ Octocopter (eight motors)


FIRST, PICTURE A MULTI-ROTOR hovering in front of you with zero wind conditions. To maintain that position and altitude, its air­frame has to be oriented so the combined thrust of the rotors is constant and vertically centered under the unit’s center of gravity. In addition, the combined thrust of the rotors has to be equal to the weight of the aircraft. Any outside effect disturbing the hover position has to be countered by an adjustment to the direction of the combined thrust delivered by the rotors. To understand the challenge of that task, imagine balancing a broomstick on the tip of your finger: It requires constant repositioning of your finger under that broomstick’s center of gravity to keep it from falling. Tricky, right?

Well, multi-rotor copters make these adjustments automatically by continuously redistributing relative thrust values across the rotors.

If the right-hand side of the platform drops, the unit increases relative thrust from the rotors located on that side of the airframe until it’s level again. We don’t have the multitasking power to manage more than two motors for such a balancing act.

Luckily, we live in an age of powerful, tiny computers and sensors. Every multi-rotor copter has a flight controller, which consists of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and computer. Gyroscopes and accelerometers inside the IMU measure the cop­ter’s orientation and movement at rates as high as 800Hz (800 times per second). The computer evaluates the information, then calculates and makes thrust adjustments for each motor, all without user input.

Typically, the flight controller makes those adjustments by sending instructions to electronic speed controllers (ESCs), themselves small computers that control how fast a motor spins a rotor. The faster the rotor turns, the more thrust it generates. Unlike pitch-controlled thrust (used on conventional helicopters), most electrically propelled multi-rotors use this hyper-accurate control over rotor speed to adjust relative thrust among the rotors.

By Oliver Volkmann, published in Drone 360

HABANA Welcomes Director Ben Starkman

We are excited to welcome Ben Starkman, talented film director and cinematographer, to the HABANA roster.

Though Starkman found his passion behind the lens of the camera at the young age of 17, his life in the advertising industry started on the other side of the camera. At age five, he was featured in a Stouffer’s commercial, and then landed a starring role in a Jello commercial with Bill Cosby — where he learned the hard way how difficult on-screen can be. “We shot six different scenes that day and I was so sick from take-after-take of eating a fresh bowl of pudding every time,” he laughed.

It All Began With Superman

A native New Yorker, Ben came across a camera crew filming the first Superman movie in his Brooklyn neighborhood in the late ’70s. That scene made quite an impression.

“Superman was hoisted up on a big cable with a fan blowing on him and I thought ‘Oh, that’s how they do that! Cool!’ I got to see the camera, lights, crew and everything. It was amazing.”

As a teenager, one of his most memorable experiences included working as Dennis Hopper’s assistant – and chauffeur – on the set of a six week-long production.

Diversity and Drive

While you may have seen several of Ben’s previous works of art representing companies like Chobani, Motorola and Sesame Street – we consider Starkman a man of many talents.

“I do so many different things,” he said. “One of my most recent productions required interviewing people along with the cinematography skills I already had. I enjoy working with people that I like. Otherwise, I’d be miserable. I like working with nice people. ”

Ben likes to be involved in his work all the way through post-production, and immerses himself in the editing process. He feels blessed to have worked with some of the best editors in the business.“You can never get that kind of an education in school,” he said.

Words from the wise?

“It’s a lot about who you collaborate with. I love collaborating with editors and agency creatives. Editors are the first people I go to before shooting. I have a lot of respect for their input and perspective.”

Community Involvement

Some of Ben’s fondest memories of working in the film industry include his involvement in the Sundance Film Festival. He worked on a film with his friend JJ Lask as a cinematographer that he recalls as, “an amazing experience.”  He enjoys using his talents to give back whenever he can.

“I’m always looking forward to the future and working on the next big thing,” he said. “Part of my involvement with the ALS Association of New York is to volunteer my time annually to create a film for them. They get better and better every year.”

It’s a horrible disease and a very emotional process for all parties involved, but Ben says it’s totally worth it. “I’m very happy to help and raise awareness,” he said. “The bucket challenge was everywhere. The Yankees get involved too.”

Ben is a director and DP, and began working with HABANA this year.

Meet David Gottlieb: Our newest creative

We’d like to introduce the newest member of the HABANA team. Welcome David Gottlieb; a.k.a. Silver!

A creative professional

David comes to us with a very impressive resume. He founded City Beach Films in 1989, which produced commercials, long-form content and media of all kinds. His strengths include close collaboration with his clients, creative ingenuity and rich experience in the three phases of production.

Getting started

David attended film school at Emerson College in Boston. His dad was a creative director in NYC – “a true Mad Man,” he says. David started producing in-house for Nabisco Brands and later worked with Backer & Spielvogel as one of the feature producers on the classic Miller Lite “Tastes Great, Less Filling” campaigns. During this time, he had the opportunity to meet numerous athletes and work with Bob Giraldi on large accounts like Campbell’s Soup, Helene Curtis and Red Lobster.

Soon after, David took a position in Tampa with Ensslin and Hall Advertising as Director of Broadcast Production. They later sold to Earle Palmer Brown and David went off on his own, starting City Beach Films. “With David Gottlieb’s vast experience and capabilities, we at HABANA Avenue are better equipped to engage the content heavy media landscape.” says HABANA's President and Founder Steven J. Levy.

Other interests

David loves to surf, snow ski and cooks a mean meatball. He’s also currently taking guitar lessons.

We’re very fortunate to have David as part of the HABANA team and look forward to his continued success.


If you’re like most Americans, football rules your fall and winter.

And if you’re like most Americans, you tuned in to see our ESPN College Football Playoffs project (with the critically acclaimed band Fall Out Boy) as it crushed all records of viewership in cable television history. Amazing, right?

The title game averaged 33.4 million viewers and an 18.2 rating according to Nielsen. It was the largest audience and highest rating in cable TV history.

The Highest-Rated Show on Cable

When our Fall Out Boy production first aired, it was during the semifinals. First for the Florida State/Oregon game and then for the Ohio State/Alabama game. The third and final product came later during the College Football Championship game – where Ohio State took home the title.

The championship game was a record hit with viewers, as the first-ever college football playoff championship turned in the highest ratings in the history of both ESPN and cable TV.

33.4 Million Viewers

This year’s championship and playoff games all surpassed the previous most-watched cable program – the 2011 BCS Championship between Oregon and Auburn, which attracted 27,316,000 viewers. HABANA President and Founder Steven J. Levy is absolutely addicted to the electrifying space where sports and music meet. With the record shattering success of the Fall Out Boy open, there’s nobody better suited to fuse music and sports than HABANA Avenue.

The Business Behind Sports & Music

“The music and sports industries have very similar fan bases,” says Claude Mitchell, ESPN’s coordinating director of music, "so there are natural opportunities for a crossover partnership to reach those audiences.”

Great music partnerships can take many months — ESPN’s clever music department helps us coordinate with artists so the productions coincide with album releases.

Killer Experience

The adventure took about two months from start to finish and the post production work went on for about four weeks.

By the way – did anyone catch Lolo Pritchard’s powerfully raw cover of Suzanne Vega’s hook from the 1987 hit from “Tom’s Diner”?

A special thanks to all of our friends at ESPN in Building 13.