On the Road Again by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

Traveling on road trips-- and surviving them-- are key components in any professional sport. Acclimating to a new time zone, learning the nuances of the opposing playing turf and adjusting to the local way of life all play a part in trying to knock an athlete off-balance and give the home team the coveted edge. 
To combat this, you hear athletes talk about routine, especially on the road.  This strategy extends to the non-roster crew. (see: Banner Collective, whose presence is meant to capture and produce content for the teams) We follow the athletes and their rituals and in turn, need to develop systematic processes of our own to generate the best video assets. 
Mornings are times for practices and off-ice/off-field business. Afternoons are editing sessions and prepping gear for the game. (Insert a couple of private moments to relax or explore, too) Then, like the athletes we document, it’s showtime, and we’re in the groove until the final minute or out.
For the teams we follow, the return home hopefully includes a winning record.  For Banner, it’s delivering “Sights & Sounds” videos, pre- and post-game analyses, client promotion fulfillments, and general video archives. Then it’s a quick breath and time to start the homestead routine.

Statement Video by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

 

A statement video is a video that makes, well, a statement. It’s an engaging, interesting, visual description of a brand’s image and message. It showcases an organization’s culture and gives the viewer a glimpse of the company’s inner workings.

The nature of the company naturally dictates the direction of a statement video. The video is there to answer the question, “Who is Brand XYZ?”   The tone and look should align with how someone answers that question verbally.

The essential elements include sound bites to tell the story, b-roll to add life to the story, and graphics to give the video a nice polished finish. How those elements all come together depends on the organization, its assets, and of course, budget.

The creative freedom this kind of project affords takes away the need for a ‘standard blueprint.'  We produce statement videos in the manner that best reflects the particular organization. Authenticity is inherent for a project of this sort.

Why make a statement video?  Yes, to make a statement - but it’s more.  To communicate to the fullest the brand’s image and message, make it short and clear, and produce an original statement of endless possibilities.        

Play it for prospective clients before a sales pitch or while sending blind emails. House it on the company website to generate interest in applying for a job. Use as a rallying cry to the current staff or when introducing a new company culture or brand initiative.  It’s a versatile tool for numerous business functions.

A portion of statement videos we've produced can be found in our portfolio, linked below.

58th Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

The 2016 regional Emmy's were held on December 3rd at the Marriott Magnificent Mile in Downtown Chicago and Banner Collective was fortunate enough to take home the award in two categories! We are so proud of our staff for these achievements and congratulate our fellow colleagues on their awards this year as well!

Banner Collective Emmy Awards:                                                                                             

Outstanding Achievement for Sports Programs- One Time Special: HAT TRICK            

Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off-Air- Graphic Arts/Animation/Art Direction/Set Design- CHICAGO CUBS VIDEO BOARD

Google and the City: The Sequel by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

First there was VOXEL.  Now, ETHOS.  

It was a 2-project promise when we signed on to work with Google West Loop and their Main Lobby digital art installation initiative. While VOXEL relied solely on animation and graphic design work, ETHOS was a complete Banner team effort.  The end result is a new take on timelapse photography prevalent in today’s industry.

Google Chicago Skyline

 By definition, Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” and used to describe ideals that characterize a community. For our purposes, it refers to the spirit of a city (Chicago).  We found creative inspiration showing this spirit in a more real, less tourism brochure way. It was a chance to get more intimate with a town that we interact with on a daily basis. Once we decided that Ethos was the way to go, it was a matter of executing the project in a way that aligned with Google’s cutting-edge culture.

The final product is displayed on a massive multi-foot wall comprised of millions of pixels.  Any footage we used stood the risk of losing a lot of resolution to cover that entire space (layman’s terms: it was going to be a blurry mess).  The creative minds of our graphics department determined that timelapses would solve this problem and the concept grew from there.  The footage would be edited in an abstract way and visual design would really enhance the look and feel.

Google Chicago Coffee Shop

Roughly 25 timelapses were filmed over the course of a calendar year and separated into two chapters:  Winter and Summer. Locations were determined by detailed research of “parts unknown” and personal recommendations from locals.  There are still some very iconic spots in our Ethos pieces, but they are shown in less recognizable conditions (Millennium Park Bean topped with snow during a winter storm).  Every decision on the imagery that made the final cut was done with the mindset that we were showing Chicago in an atypical fashion.

Google Chicago Botanical Gardens
Google Millennium Park The Bean
Google Midway Plaissance

To wrap it all up in a hip Google bow, our Motion Graphics department took all of the footage and worked their visual design magic. It was important to approach the editing process by addressing individual shots with a big picture mindset. “Important Aspect Number Two” was the presence of the Google brand, which the audience will recognize in the geometric and color details. 

 Putting this type of project together was a creatively enriching and new experience for the Banner staff that we thoroughly enjoyed. The architecture and special elements of each timelapse drove the animation and presented a unique challenge each time. Reflective elements allowed the designers to composite shapes into them so they looked like they were actually part of the real environment. The ultimate beauty of this concept is the intricacy of the details that allows someone to discover something new every time he watches the video. 

Google Chicago Landscape

#FlyTheW by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

2016 was quite the baseball season for Chicago (to put it extremely mildly). The opportunities we were given covering the sights and sounds of the entire experience with the Chicago Cubs - the first pitch of spring training to the last out of the World Series- was nothing short of amazing.  

From going behind-the-scenes at some of the most pivotal moments, witnessing the passion and dedication while filming in bars around Chicagoland, traveling to and documenting road games, all culminating with the revelry outside the streets in Wrigleyville; our goal was to focus our lens on capturing the broad spectrum of angles and capture as much as we possibly could.   

Amazingly, the momentous occasion of achieving such a milestone didn't climax at Game 7 as we stood atop the roofs of Wrigley Field during Game 7 watching crowds stare, wait, anticipate for the “World Series Champions” text to appear on the marquee.  It was when we hopped on the buses and joined in attendance as the parade of millions made its way through the city to Grant Park. 

We will forever cherish being a part of an experience that gave us a front-row seat to witness history in the making. We had the privilege of interacting with the lifelong fans, the fans who work at Wrigley Field each day, and the youngest generations of fans who for years watch their parents (and grandparents and so on) ride out the historic drought and joined in the hope just the same.  

The Cubs flew the ultimate "W" flag and to have been given the chance to take part in just a sliver of the experience is an incredible honor for Banner Collective.

 

Chicago Cubs World Series Champions Parade by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

The Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions.  It goes without saying that Banner is extremely grateful and amazed at the opportunity we had to cover the team throughout this historic season, all of which culminated at the Championship Parade & Rally on November 4th.  Below are just a few snap shots of our staff filming the team, crowd and general revelry!

Hudson Shuffle by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

The project with Hudson Shuffleboard is one that exhibits two kinds of artistry coming together.  The profound craftsmanship Hudson produces - paired with our medium of video - defines the term of “creative collaboration.”

As a company built on the foundation of creativity, we strive to keep our workplace as one that balances work-life and play.  The custom shuffleboard provided by Hudson is a large part of this type of atmosphere.  Since it arrived in our office, the shuffleboard has contributed to our vision of an environment of flexibility, productivity, and growth - with only minimal trash-talking and competitiveness.

To learn more about Hudson Shuffleboard and it’s unique story, check out the video we produced below!

MLB All-Star Game by Morgan Sharar-Stoppel

The ‘Sights and Sounds’ productions are meant to capture the heart of an event.  We took the 2016 All-Star Game as an opportunity to bring the audience off the field and into the atmosphere as a whole.  The intimate access is a unique part of this type of storytelling.  As more than a game recap, the videos focus on details of all proportions.   

Our goal was to shed light on the side of baseball, the side of the people, which is most times left in the shadows.  The Cubs have such great personalities, are tight-knit, and genuinely like each other.  A group like this, one with both talent and connection that reach beyond the field, is camera gold.

There is a lot that goes into filming these types of videos. For our cameramen who worked on the San Diego festivities, Justin Zipser and Will Armistead, challenges were tackled through adaptation.  To acquire as much footage as possible, they had to be extra nimble and alert.  Because of the fast-paced nature of sports, these guys had to shoot all day, edit that night, and post the next morning.  If Dave Knickerbocker and Patrick Dahl hadn’t reminded them to eat and sleep, Will and Justin might have, like Energizer Bunnies, kept going and going (and not stopped)!  

These videos break the confines of the field and give fans the rare opportunity to feel like they are right there, with the team, experiencing the festivities beside them.  We love immersing ourselves in these events and producing videos that, we hope, translate the lasting impressions we’ve had onto the screen.