Steven J. Levy

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.

Movie Night For The Kids

Mitchell Elementary School, located in Tampa, Florida just celebrated their centennial anniversary. Since Steven's kids attend this school, this was a big deal for he and his wife who serves on the PTA while they are both active parents with the school.

In celebration of their 100 years as an established learning facility, the school hosted a movie night on the outdoor lawn airing Disney’s “The Parent Trap II”. What’s interesting about the movie is that much of it was filmed right here in Tampa – including both the interior and exterior of Mitchell Elementary School. Footage of Tampa International Airport and The Press Box can also be seen in the film.

Speakers, screens and projectors were required for the event, in which both HABANA and Molecular Media were more than happy to provide event coordination and setup. We were able to donate all of the audio and visual expertise for this special event with the kids.

If you need help your with your live event or corporate meeting get in touch to see how we can help you with your next project.

A Reel Honor

President and Founder Steven J. Levy was recently contacted by WireDrive, a content management and reel distribution software company. Any one that has worked with Habana over the last few years will know how heavily we rely on this product. From reviewing footage to sending reels to potential clients, WireDrive has been an invaluable tool for the entire Habana team.

That’s why we were thrilled when the WireDrive Team asked if they could feature a Habana reel on their new Customer Showcase.

Sharing the page with so many talented and vetted production companies was quite an honor. We would like to thank the WireDrive team for thinking of us and for producing such a wonderful product. We look forward to many more years working with each other.

Chronicling filmmakers as the ultimate creators

Filmmakers, by the millions, are some of the most creative people in the entertainment business. Steven J. Levy, Habana President and Founder, explained how creativity and storytelling are pivotal components in this industry – and what keeps the filmmakers hooked.

There’s an insatiable desire to tell a story.

Each client has their own story to tell. There’s opportunity on a daily basis to help clients share their life while engaging viewers through film and imagery. No two projects will be the same – and that’s the thrill of it.

As creators in the film industry, Habana is here to help. Film and photography are the only tools we have to preserve memories, and it’s a filmmakers’ job to make sure those memories are remembered and portrayed in the best way possible.

I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied. Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive.
— Martin Scorsese

The challenge, the risk, and the thrill of discovery.

Each project is different and takes an ample amount of time to craft a plan that works best for each one. “People like the diversity of our capabilities and what we’ve done. They like the fact that we have a real understanding of marketing, music, promotional work, commercials and features,” said Steven.

"We’re the guys people can come to because we’re flexible enough to work with many different types of content and brands. The great thing about being a creative agency and working with clients is the constant overflow of great ideas all coming together. There’s a great deal of satisfaction upon project completion and knowing we’ve created something magical."

Of course, details and logistics are always subject to change and it keeps us on our toes. No one can expect everything to work out perfectly every time, but at Habana, we’re confident in our knowledge and staff to be able to handle any minor setback with precision and ease.

Small team collaborations get the conversation started.

In our offices, there are teams of people working hard around the clock to ensure proper planning and execution of all endeavors. From engaging first-time clients with kickoff meetings to the final wrap, the wheels are always turning. Brainstorming and thinking aloud are such essential parts of this profession and there’s a lot of passion that forms a constant flow of ideas that eventually turn into projects.

James Cameron couldn’t have said it any better: “When a small group of people form a tightly-knit team…in that bond, you realize that the most important thing is the respect…that you’ve done a task that you can’t explain to someone else. Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own. Imagination is a force that can actually manifest a reality.”

The belief in creating a visual soundtrack to peoples’ lives.

Many people don’t consider the effect that music has on film. For those who are able to hear music, these sound waves can make a huge difference when watching a film. When you pick a song to go along with a scene, credit roll or special moment – you’re adding so much more meaning to that experience.

When mobile music finally came out, there was a soundtrack to your life. Whatever was in your ears – that’s what empowered you. We are very fortunate to be in a position to create the content and soundtrack to peoples’ lives. “I really love the music aspect of filming,” said Steven. “There’s something really special about it.”

There’s time for work … and time for play.

There’s an advantage to working on a variety of different projects. Filmmakers get to meet lots of new people on a regular basis doing what they love. At Habana, our directors have been able to experience some really incredible things in this business and sometimes forget that we’re actually working. We’ve had the pleasure of working with celebrities and it’s easy to get lost in the moment.

When it’s time to buckle down and get to work, it’s not hard for us – we love it! There’s a thrill in finding the perfect location, assembling all necessary parts and executing the project.

The ability to share work on an infinite number of devices.

The good thing about all the technology releases and devices means there’s no limit how we can share our work. Of course, films are best viewed on larger screens, but then again – we’d rather a person see our work on a mobile device than not at all. Whether you’re viewing our films on a large desktop screen or small iPhone on a plane, we’re all grateful for the opportunity that grants anyone access to our work at any given moment.

The use of social media has grown exponentially in the past decade, allowing people to research, discover and share their finds instantaneously with friends. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to find time to sit down with friends and family anymore – so we’re thankful that technology gives people the chance to watch most things on-demand.

There are many jobs to be fulfilled.

At times, this can be overwhelming. Filmmakers tasked with creating, writing, filming – and all the logistics in between. We’re agents for our next project. We’re directors, cinematographers, photographers … the list goes on. Each project is a chance to learn something new and we never stop learning.

We’re very fortunate to work with a talented team of individuals who all bring something new and fresh to the table (and the set!).

The world is a stage.

We can work anywhere. Well, almost – permits and no-fly-zones aside, our office is wherever we need it to be. It gets challenging having projects all over the U.S. but that’s what makes it fun. With offices in California, New York and Florida – we are extremely flexible and love traveling.

Let’s start telling your story.


NFL Films "Setting Up Shop"

Nobody will be thrown off any island and, presumably, no roses will be given out, but Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio is preparing to open his own version of reality TV Friday.

NFL Films brought a production company on wheels to town last week and parked it outside the team’s practice field. They’ll spend this week running cable and tucking camera into corners of Alltel Stadium. The cameras will be rolling by the time players report for training camp on Friday. The 40-person crew will follow the team through Del Rio’s second training camp until the Sept. 2 final preseason game.

The resulting documentary will air weekly from Aug. 11 through Sept. 8 on the NFL Network. Local broadcast times haven’t been announced.

How the documentary will play out depends on how the coaches and players perform. Steven J. Levy said the Jaguars looked to be taking a more serious approach to camp than the previous stops: Baltimore three years ago followed by Dallas.

NFL Films expected the Jaguars to perform well. Director Phil Tuckett said the team had the early look of one of the turnaround teams that have become the trend in the NFL. After filming more than 120 training camps, Tuckett said he’s become adept at spotting the teams teetering on the tipping point from failure to success. Last season, he wanted to follow Marvin Lewis’ first camp as head coach of the perennial losers Cincinnati Bengals. Those plans were scuttled when HBO didn’t pick up the series, but Tuckett’s eye for the underdog story proved accurate.

“We thought it would be interesting to see how the worst team gets ready for a season,” said Tuckett. “They almost ended up in the playoffs and Marvin Lewis ended up as Coach of the Year.”

The year, the NFL Network revived the series, and Tuckett thinks the Jaguars, after four consecutive losing seasons, are poised to recapture their early success.

“It’s a fascinating story, them coming back from a horrible first half, a young quarterback and head coach,” said Tuckett. “It would make a great story if we’re back here in February and the Jaguars are playing at home for the Super Bowl. We’d look prescient.”

It wasn’t just a good story that brought NFL Films to Jacksonville. Tuckett said Del Rio is one of the few coaches who would provide the necessary access to film a compelling story. Del Rio worked with the crew three years ago when he coached in Baltimore. He said he learned from Baltimore coach Brian Billick how the cameras can prepare a team to play on a national stage.

“Billick always said the cameras keep the players on their toes,” said Tuckett.

The NFL also saw a chance to drum up publicity for a Super Bowl venue that lacks a national image.

“I think there was an understanding that Jacksonville needed a boost in terms of nationwide exposure,” he said. “It’s probably one of the least publicized Super Bowl cities, it’s sort of drifted to the backwater of the public’s attention.”

Del Rio is one of the few coaches who recognize the value of the publicity, said Tuckett. Still he knows his crew won’t be welcome long if they become a distraction. In small doses, the cameras can help break up a camp’s monotony, giving players an outlet to have some fun or blow off steam. But Tuckett said coaches won’t tolerate too much competition for the player’s attention.

The trick is to be everywhere without seeming to be anywhere. It’s a technique NFL Films has mastered after 30 years of roaming sidelines.

“The only way any of this is allowed is because we’re NFL Films,” said Levy. "The players are comfortable with us. We have an agreement with them that, if they put up their hand, we walk away. We’re not the paparazzi; we don’t chase people through the doors and windows”

The team screens all episodes and has final say over what airs. Levy said Billick let the series run mostly undisturbed. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was a little faster with the edit button.

Plenty of footage ends up on the cutting room floor. Levy said a team of 12 editors sift through as much as 250 hours every week. The crew has to pare more than a week’s worth of action into weekly one-hour episodes.

The crew plans several story lines in advance and then lets them develop. Decisions are made on the fly as to which stories get the most air time. The early story lines, scribbled onto a production schedule in on of the crew’s trailers, include “Del Rio and the linebackers,” and the “the veterans.” If either of those pan out, viewers should watch for “Leftwich and the Samoans.”

Daily Record – Bradely Parsons Staff Writer