Fall Out Boy

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

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.

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 DRIVES IT HOME

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.

MUSIC AND SPORTS ARE ALIVE AND WELL

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

RECORD-BREAKING… TWICE

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.

Filming with Fall Out Boy: ESPN College Playoff

We just got back from Los Angeles after a thrilling shoot for ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoffs & Championship. We had the killer opportunity to film with the band Fall Out Boy, a critically acclaimed band that has been around for years and still sells multi-platinum records. From the minute we touched-down in LA and started building the set until we flattened tires on the way to LAX – the action was ferocious.

After their return from hiatus in 2013, the band is back and hotter than ever. Fall Out Boy just released their new album Centuries – and the song, which is the title track from the band’s forthcoming album, will be featured during playoff games and studio telecasts and during on-air promotions throughout the season.

You’ll also hear the song during highlight packages and in & out of commercial breaks during the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day bowl game triple-headers. The “New Year’s Six” will showcase the playoff semifinals, four additional premier top-level bowls and the first-ever College Football National Championship on January 12.

The song will also be a central part of the regular-season marketing efforts to promote the top college football match-ups across ESPN’s network each week. ESPN began using an instrumental version of “Centuries” on August 25 in advance of the opening weekend.

While a preview of the video was released last weekend on ESPN, the full version won’t air until December and won’t play during actual games until January.