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

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.

Behind the Scenes with Maroon 5: Filming the Saturday Night Football Opening

HABANA recently had the opportunity to film the new ABC Saturday Night Football opening featuring a mid-tempo 80’s-esque electro love song from Maroon 5’s hit new album ‘V titled “It Was Always You.” Like many jobs we work on, it was a tight production schedule – but we nailed it with just a month to prepare and only a few hours to shoot.

Unlike the College GameDay opening with Big & Rich, this project had a little bit more glitz and glam.  It was shot under the lights and has that primetime energy. Everyone is watching the game regardless of who you’re rooting for because it’s the biggest game of the weekend.

The Marriage of Music and Sports

This was a unique opportunity to work with artists that are really at their peak – and this was going to be the worldwide release of this new hit track. Helping them execute this while staying on-brand during the release of their album was truly a welcome challenge.

The marriage of music and sports is perfect. The artist gets an incredible amount of exposure for their new material and the network is uniquely positioned to be able to take advantage of the music the artist adds to the show, said President and Founder HABANA Avenue Steven J. Levy.

We really can’t think of a better way to get viewers to pay attention than to use a hit artist with a new song, releasing it for the first time. Millions and millions of eyes and ears are on the new song for the entire football season – it’s a hit for both the sport and the artist.

There was total and complete engagement with the artists, managers, ABC and our group – which is vital to be able to come up with a concept and execute it in a short amount of time. It came together perfectly and the outcome;

Lights, Camera, Action

“It was an incredible experience on this set,” said Levy. “We were excited about moving our shoot through with precision because we knew we had a limited amount of time.”

Luckily, the management team, record label, artists and of course, our production teams worked together flawlessly.  Finding a great team doesn’t always happen so easily – especially with big groups and big events. They made it possible for us to shoot and create a beautiful piece.

Maroon 5 Comes to ESPN Saturday Night College Football

Football season has returned – and we’ve got a big day of sports openers tomorrow! First, watch the spots we shot with Big & Rich on ESPN College GameDay from 9 A.M. - Noon, and later in the evening – an exclusive Maroon 5 video we shot for ESPN will air for ABC Saturday Night Football.

This year, ESPN’s college football game telecasts will showcase the music of Maroon 5, Florida Georgia Line and 17 established and acclaimed breakthrough acts from Columbia Records – including Pharrell Williams, Iggy Azalea, T.I., Rita Ora, Jack White and more.

Maroon 5’s “It Was Always You” will be the feature song for every Saturday Night Football Presented by Wells Fargo telecast this season. It’ll also used throughout the coverage, including highlight packages, and coming in from, and out of, commercial breaks.

Maroon 5 and ESPN will also collaborate on a video of the song for exclusive use on Saturday Night Football. The video will be a montage of the band performing the song with relevant college football highlights pertaining to each week’s matchup.

Saturday Night Football will kickoff tomorrow at 8 p.m. with defending national champion No. 1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State in the Cowboys Classic from Arlington, Texas.

HABANA Avenue Goes Berzerk

HABANA was stoked to have once again produced the most watched college-level football series on television, Saturday Night Football on ABC.  This time HABANA’s own Director of Photography Mark Eberle was behind the camera.

Detroit MC Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, was the featured artist for the famed college football broadcast.  With the his new single “Berzerk” serving as the soundtrack, ABC designed the entire broadcast around Detroit’s hottest lyricist. HABANA Avenue was proud to feature the cinematic eye of DP Mark Eberle.  Eberle was able to create a look that was both a throw-back to the early days of rap videos and fresh enough for today’s modern audiences.  Even President and Founder Steven J. Levy got the opportunity to contribute by creating a high-concept boom box that was fabricated out of intelligent lighting and modified concert rigging.

Through relationships with engineering gurus FreeFly systems, HABANA Avenue was able to introduce and offer ABC the MOVIm10 camera platform before it launched on the open market.  Utilizing the new stabilization system and the expertise of FreeFly Systems’s operators it became possible to design one of a kind images that were unique to this project.  Employing state-of-the-art technology to capture never before seen shots is the fuel that fires HABANA Avenue’s passion for visual storytelling.

The open will air before each Saturday broadcast this year on ABC.  HABANA Avenue was honored to support ABC’s creative vision for the incredibly popular sports broadcast, and looks forward to innovating for their future projects.

HABANA Refreshes the NBA Finals on ABC with its original Video Mapping Concepts

First in the Game!

HABANA is proud to have executed a production for a television experience never before achieved in broadcast opener history.

“We merged the technologies of traditional digital motion picture photography with practical sets and actors,” saidHABANA President and FounderSteven J. Levy, “and engulfed all of it in a Video Mapped environment.

Creative partners Steven J. Levy and Rob Salo were sure to thank Klip Collective and Big Smack for their vision and boundless contributions.

NBA FINALS: ABC Pulls Out All the Stops for Broadcast, Including Shots of OKC from the Air

A New Perspective

As long as there are no thunderstorms to ground the blimp, NBA Finals viewers will get to see plenty of aerial shots of Oklahoma City. The network will also have an innovative opening segment and six slow-mo cameras to round off the production shoot.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce officials need to be hoping the only thunderstorms during the NBA Finals will be inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to maximize the opportunity for promoting the city nationally and internationally.

Those dramatic aerial shots of downtown will be available only if there’s calm weather, as the blimp won’t fly during storms. “We’re good as long as we don’t have any thunderstorms,” said Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer.

ABC, which partners with ESPN on sports coverage, will be pulling out all stops in capturing the 2012 NBA Finals, from an innovative opening segment, to six slow-mo cameras, to bringing its studio crew on site and even using a former referee to provide commentary .

The network’s finals planning began when the season tipped off in late December.

“It’s a real big show for us,” Gross said. “Not only on the TV side, but making sure we’re in lock step with the league on issues such as timing for the starting lineups.”

New Tech

The unique two-minute opening segment, which will be used on all of the Finals games, uses Video Mapping technology.

“It really transforms a bunch of different fans into seats, and the next thing they know they are court-side at an NBA Finals game. Then the next thing you know they are transformed into different eras,” Gross said.

Gross said all the great NBA champions will be featured, including the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers.

The six slow-mo cameras, of the 32 video sources in use, will provide some of the most eye-opening shots. They also will be used by the referees on video reviews.

“Those are really the shots we use on the controversial plays or whether it’s how high LeBron [James] or [Kevin] Durant get above the rim for a dunk,” Gross said.

“ESPN Axis” will create virtual replays, with video from live action processed via computers to create virtual freeze frames from several angles. SkyCam also will provide aerial views of the action.

However, 3-D telecasts won’t be available for this year’s finals. “We’re concentrating on our HD coverage,” Gross said.

The “NBA Countdown” studio crew of former Lakers great Magic Johnson, former NBA star Jon Barry, and journalists Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard will be on site in Oklahoma City and Miami. The crew also will call on retired referee Steve Javie for his commentary, particularly on controversial plays. Javie, who retired before the start of this season because of an arthritic right knee after 25 years in the league, was among the most respected refs in the game.

“We really think he can help people understand the game from a ref’s standpoint,” Gross said.

If necessary, the game telecast crew of play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy and the production truck also can talk with Javie during the game.

National coverage also will available on ESPN Radio will the three-man booth of Jim Durham and analysts Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay and Hubie Brown. Online coverage of the games also will be available on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Although Oklahoma City is one of the smallest markets ever to host the NBA Finals, Gross is hoping for good ratings as fans tune in to see two of the league’s top players in James and Durant.

“It doesn’t matter what size of market it is or where it’s located or what time zone it’s in,” Gross said. “Let’s just get the two best teams into the finals and have some fun with it.”


50 Cent, Perry Farrell + Kelly Rowland kick off the ABC Pontiac Garage Saturday Night Football opener

Together Once Again!

It‘s time to “Celebrate” the start of a new college football season, and New York City-based Vidiots and Tampa‘s HABANA Avenue are back, collaborating once again on the high-impact, music-driven primetime opener for ABC/ESPN College Football.

Shot in HD on the Pontiac Garage Stage high above Times Square, the dynamic opening features 50 Cent, Perry Farrell‘s Satellite Party, and Kelly Rowland covering Rare Earth‘s “Celebrate” rewritten with custom lyrics. Vidiots and HABANA Avenue created last year‘s pair of musical opens for ABC/ESPN College Football which showcased the indie-rock outfit Ok Go and Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and were commissioned again to put on an amazing opener to this year's College Football season.

Michael Amoia, cofounder of Vidiots, reprised his role as director and editor of “Celebrate” with HABANA's President and Founder Steven Levy acting as executive producer of HABANA Avenue, and Val Fischler again serving as supervising producer for ABC/ESPN Sports. They met the challenge of shooting at the Pontiac Garage Stage last year so Amoia and Levy were well prepared for the logistic and technical complexities of a four-camera HD shoot, at night, and on the world‘s most exciting and iconic stage in arguably the city‘s busiest location.

One Step Further Than Last Time!

“Thanks to the response to last year‘s program opener ABC/ESPN Sports was able to land this year‘s big talent,” said Levy. David Saltz, executive producer for musical entertainment at ABC and band liaison, lined up 50 Cent and Farrell with help from Chris Hornberger, advertising manager for the Pontiac-GMC division. When Bob Toms, executive producer for ABC/ESPN Sports, and Val Fischler were looking for a female singer to round out the trio, Saltz learned — via Beyonce‘s father, Matthew Knowles — that Rowland was eager to participate. With the powerhouse trio formed, Amoia and Levy had to deal with the issue of New York City being "concerned about the attention we would naturally attract working with 50 Cent, Perry and Kelly,” said Levy.

Left to Right:  Perry Farrell, Kelly Rowland, 50 Cent

Left to Right: Perry Farrell, Kelly Rowland, 50 Cent

Despite The Limitations We Still Put On A Great Show

Since the last shoot the city had also instituted new restrictions on pyro for non-New Year‘s Eve events in Times Square. “No confetti cannons were allowed and pyro had to be really scaled down,” Levy reported. “Fortunately, Phil Grucci, of the famed Grucci fireworks family, was able to package all the pyro effects without any of the concussions so we were able to work through the night without disturbing hotel guests. But we still attracted quite a crowd!”

Amoia envisioned a set for the opener featuring an LED wall behind the band which displayed different color patterns reinforcing the theme of an “energy collaboration” among the performers. Amoia and DP Marc Bloomgarden deployed four Panasonic VariCam HD cameras for the shoot: Two were handheld, one was on a 15-foot Techno Crane and one — with an 86:1 lens — was located across Times Square.

The opening begins with a wide shot of the Pontiac Garage Stage then zooms in on Perry Farrell who is suddenly suffused with a CG blast of red energy emanating from the night sky. As he sings, transparent red ribbons of energy swirling around his head and chest are inter-cut with shots of a football poised for the kick off, helmets, marching bands and mascots. Then Kelly Rowland appears to take up the tune, and Farrell passes along the energy to her. Rowland‘s high heels glow with yellow energy which rises and forms a Figure 8 around her, encircling her as she twirls to the music. More football footage, including shots of action on the field, is intercut with her performance.

Grand Entrance

Finally, 50 Cent makes a dramatic entrance through a pyro rain curtain. Rowland passes waves of blue energy to him. They follows his hand gestures as more football images are interwoven with his rap. Suddenly, 50 Cent is sitting atop a giant LED screen, legs dangling. Then he‘s glimpsed standing on another LED screen, dwarfed by the huge displays above and below him. More pyro explodes from the corners of the stage and across the stage. The opener ends with all three artists celebrating together, each encircled by a colored ribbon of energy.

“We had only one night to shoot the artists performing separately then all together,” said Amoia. “We had to schedule and time our shoots with them; we couldn‘t have everyone on stage for the whole night to get all the coverage we needed. We scrambled to make sure we got the shots we needed and to make sure everyone was moving and alive.”

Levy poined out that “we originally planned a 12-second pyro curtain followed by smoke with 50 Cent walking through the smoke. But he told us he had walked through pyro a lot, and he felt it would look cooler if he appeared through the fire. So he did, and it looked absolutely amazing.”

Left to Right:  Michael Amoia, 50 Cent, Steven J. Levy

Left to Right: Michael Amoia, 50 Cent, Steven J. Levy

The next day Amoia regrouped with 50 Cent at Silvercup East where he shot the rapper against greenscreen to simulate his precarious perch on the giant screens above the Pontiac Garage Stage. “The greenscreen shoot went very quickly,” Levy recalled. “That speaks to Mike‘s and Marc‘s preparation. They were ready to roll when 50 Cent came in, and he nailed it in a matter of a few hours.”

Before the shoot, Amoia and Levy had an opportunity to be part of the track recording session with 50 Cent and Perry Farrell; Rowland performed from Houston over ISDN lines. “It was an incredible experience to be in session with people of that stature, collaborating with them to create a special song,” said Levy.

Amoia did the opener‘s creative cut on Avid Adrenaline and prepped the CG compositing which was performed through Vidiots; the CG energy collaboration was Amoia‘s own concept. He also finished the opener on Adrenaline.

Lynn Elliott and Jackie Kim at Jack Morton Worldwide handled the staging for the shoot; Jeffrey Strauss and Monica Moore at Times Square Entertainment facilitated permitting and introduced Amoia and Levy to Grucci; and Charlie Prideaux smoothed the way with the NYPD. “Without all of them, the shoot wouldn‘t have happened,” Levy declared.

About Vidiots

Vidiots, Inc. combines full-service post-production for film and TV with a boutique environment, is equipped to handle projects large and small from promos to episodic television programming to feature films. For more information visit

Perry Farrell on the set of  ABC Pontiac Garage Saturday Night Football

Perry Farrell on the set of ABC Pontiac Garage Saturday Night Football

50 Cent recording "Celebrate"

50 Cent recording "Celebrate"

David Steinberg – Millimeter Digital Content Producer The Briefing Room