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.

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. 

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.

NFL Network Owners Meeting

HABANA Avenue supports NFL Films for Newest Campaign heightening the Connection between Coaches and Fans

What makes the coaches of the NFL tick? Bi-coastal HABANA Avenue and its President and Foundert Steven J. Levy got inside the minds of the National Football League coaches when they supported NFL Films in crafting promos, spots, bumpers and tags for the NFL Network. The highly-stylized new campaign heightens the intimacy between fans and coaches as it explores what makes the coaches’ jobs meaningful, why they do what they do, and what responsibility they feel to their fans.

“The coaches were pleasantly surprised to be asked heartfelt questions about their passion for the game rather than about specific plays or game decisions,” notes Levy. “They all talked about the importance of consistency and how small the margins are between winning and losing when you operate at such a high level. That was really amazing and inspirational for me.”

Levy was partnered by NFL Films & The NFL Network with Oishii Creative, director Mark Pellington and DP Tom Krueger on the project, which was shot with two 35mm cameras, one sync sound and one MOS for high-speed photography. They had access to the coaches during an annual meeting of NFL team owners, coaches and PR executives at the five-star Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida. A series of 15-minute interviews with the coaches was scheduled over a three-day period.

“Getting everything we needed in this ‘carwash-style’ of one interview after another was very challenging,” Levy recalls. “When one coach had to reschedule his slot we had to react quickly and think on our feet. We needed a really perfect crew to handle this kind of manic production which was incredibly intense and high speed at some times then suddenly dropped off to nothing.”

Each coach segment began with an 8×8-foot photographic blow up of the coach as the dialogue commenced. The coaches were framed head and shoulders against an intense gray background with one big, bright light and a 90-degree shutter angle to heighten the connection to the individual. No jump cuts, no cutaways to still images and no moving footage were used.

Some high-speed shooting was done against greenscreen so that slow-motion sequences could be composited with other still backgrounds in post-production. Although Pellington shot 35mm color, most of the color was removed in post so just hints of the coach’s team colors remained. Postproduction was performed at Icon (LA).

“One coach was 32 years old and the oldest was in his sixties. They were from all over the country and from all walks of life. Yet, somehow they all had a similar recipe for success,” Levy reports. “I think fans will be fascinated by this campaign and ultimately feel a deeper connection to the coaches and their teams.”

The promos will air throughout the year on NFL Network and will serve as full-up commercials for the network on other broadcast and cable outlets.

About HABANA Avenue
HABANA Avenue is a full-service TV, film, live event and concert-experience production company and an original content creator. The company has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami’s South Beach and Tampa. It maintains a boutique postproduction facility in Tampa and has postproduction partnerships with the full-service Mad Toy Box Post in Charlotte, North Carolina and Vidiots in New York City. For more information visit 

David Steinberg – Millimeter Digital Content Producer The Briefing Room

ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown

HABANA Avenue Kicks-Off Countdown For SuperBowl XLII

There’s no denying that Super Bowl XLII generated plenty of excitement this year, but earlier in the day ESPN’s “NFL Sunday Countdown” show uber-scored with both football enthusiasts and fans of the sizzling-hot guitar duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela, who performed in a series of custom bumpers thanks to production support from HABANA Avenue.

Bi-coastal HABANA Avenue and President and Founder Steven J. Levy supported the one-day shoot by ESPN director Chris Mantzaris at GMT Stages in Santa Monica. HABANA Avenue, with its broad, national reach, is no stranger to high-profile football gigs whether in LA, Las Vegas or points east. The company supported Mantzaris on the new Hank Williams, Jr. open for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecast, created athlete-based commercials for NFL Films for the League’s web site, and produced the international open for Super Bowl XLI.

For the “NFL Sunday Countdown” bumpers, Rodrigo y Gabriela recorded 10 new tracks, which ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut headquarters cut into 17 bumpers. The pre-game exposure capped a week of ESPN programming featuring music by the acoustic heavy metal duo, now a sports- programming-mega-household-name, who hail from Mexico via Dublin. Lending the perfect touch of excitement, flavor and flair to action-packed sports settings, tracks from their eponymous debut album were heard on the ESPN shows “Sports Center” and “Mike & Mike,” and they performed live on “First Take.” Rodrigo y Gabriela, who brand their unique style of music “fusion,” kicked off a US headlining tour February 7.

Director Mantzaris and DP Michael Pescasio shot the pair at 720p with Panasonic’s VariCam HD camera using a small Techno crane to capture their playing dynamic. The stage was layered with a translight backdrop of an Arizona desert at sunset, a rolling dirt floor with cactus, an array of acoustic guitars of different shapes and sizes on stands, and the artists downstage on chairs.

“It was a very intimate performance, very precise. It was all about capturing their fine art — the speed at which they play, their fingering — in these short moments for the bumpers,” says Levy. “Chris came out of the translight full frame and pulled back to reveal the layer of guitars and the performers in pools of golden light surrounded by a palette of rich, burnt tones. It was really beautiful.”

Bryan Venegas served as art director for the project which was line produced by Eric Senis. Jeff Smith was the artist liaison for Haskell.

About HABANA Avenue
HABANA Avenue is a full-service TV, Film, Live event and Concert-experience production company and an Original Content creator. The company has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami’s South Beach and Tampa. It maintains a boutique postproduction facility in Tampa and has postproduction partnerships with the full-service Vidiots in New York City and Mad Toy Box Post in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information visit

David Steinberg – Millimeter Digital Content Producer The Briefing Room