Filming in 2018 brought us to seven countries and eighteen states on behalf of universities, non-profits, startups, Fortune 500 companies, and professional tennis tournaments.
Super Blue Blood Moon
On February 1, 2018 a blue supermoon and a blood moon occurred in tandem. We positioned ourselves using a moonrise iPhone app to capture the lunar path passing behind the Bank of America Corporate Center in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Using a 400mm lens and shooting in 4k ultra high definition, we put the clip on Instagram. Overnight we were contacted by ABC News, CNN.com, The Washington Post, HLN, Reuters and other smaller outlets for publication. Combined, the clip reached millions of people resulting in a lot of earned media exposure for T&T through television, news websites YouTube embeds, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Sometimes we get the opportunity to work locally in the Carolinas. We completed a seven ad CVB series of short web videos that promote South Carolina coastal community tourism. Shrimp, fishing, egrets, gators, kayaking, Spanish moss, golf, old plantation homes. It was a great project to be tasked with.
Return to China
Coming back to Sias International University was unexpected impossible to turn down. Sias is where we first started dabbling in video production. One of our earliest uploads to YouTube was a minor viral hit in 2008. It was exciting to be flown back to Zhengzhou, China to film a piece promoting the 20th anniversary celebration of the university. It was a whirlwind two weeks. But the freedom to fly our Inspire2 above the unique architecture of the “East meets West” campus and thousands of marching students is a memory we will not soon forget.
Our involvement with Greystone dates back to 2014 when we filmed our first high-energy summer camp video. Since that year, other elite summer camps have continued to be part of our June-August workload. In 2018 however, we were tasked with creating a Greystone mini-doc in preparation for their centennial year. It’s an absolutely amazing camp. Excellent staff, facilities, programs and location. Interviewing campers, their moms and grandmothers throughout the summer was a pleasure. It’s not often we are provided the opportunity to film eight+ hours of interviews and really take the time to craft a narrative. The archival 8mm clips and photos worked well when match-cut against the 2018 camp activity footage. This piece took the most time to film and edit of any of our work over the past year, and we hope it shows. In addition to this 5min video, we completed another highlight and a piece on camp being a safe place for teens to detox from phones and social media.
The Institute for Speech and Debate
The nation’s best speech and debate summer camp program needed a 30sec commercial and two new social media videos promoting their offerings. The pieces were filmed at UNC Chapel Hill entirely in 4k using a Canon C200 and 1Dxii. The interviews are probably our favorite from 2018 because of our lighting choices pairing window light with an Arri Skypanel S30c and large softbox. The videos were successful and we returned to the ISD camps later in the summer of 2018 to capture broll and more interviews for 2019 ads.
Each year at Yale for The Connecticut Open we try to outdo our previous all-access attempts at a funny viral video. This is a tennis tournament that provides a great deal of freedom with regard to what we are able to do with the players. This piece is a significant win because we again wrote a script, filmed and edited a piece that was not only popular with players and tennis journalists but became the most-viewed video ever released by the tournament. It helped to double the number of Facebook followers and did even better numbers on Twitter. Alongside PR guru, Katie Spellman, we executed what could safely be called the most successful tennis all-access video from any smaller tournament (WTA or ATP) in 2018.
Despite working sixteen hour days in the California desert, The BNP Paribas Open somehow always feels like the best of vacations. I guess that’s why it’s called “tennis paradise.” We increased our presence this year adding the ever intrepid Ian Davidson to our ranks. This enabled us to double our video output to 26 videos in 13 days. Additional work was created to be viewed on video boards throughout the site. The below three-minute piece hopefully ended up being one of the most valuable videos we completed for Indian Wells. (Footage from T&T, ATP Media, 312Media with production assistance from HolderMedia Inc.) The video is now used as a tool by the IWTG to help land potential new sponsors for 2019 and beyond.
MSD’s Better Together convention took place at the storied Miami Fountainebleau luxury hotel. We were invited to film for 309 Productions, another multimedia production company, from Boston, MA. Editing on the below piece was completed by T&T friend and owner of 309, Lauren Foley.
The TEAMS Conference and Expo is an annual four-day convention for the sports event industry. We have now served this event five times. 2018 showcased Louisville, Kentucky as the host city. It is an exciting day to go from a green screen shoot to filming racehorses at Churchill Downs to filming world-class BMX cyclists, to Olympian Shawn White and then a bourbon distillery. TEAMS really packs in the activity in addition to educational sessions and networking. This video was filmed by Drew Carlisle and edited by Javier Mosquera.
Tootsie’s Fashion Show
The River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas hosted a “Spring Is Served” themed fashion show this past April. Everything about this piece ended up going well. Note our use of real prisms waved in front of the camera lenses to refract light and create transition points for the edited footage.
We often work for and collaborate with advertising agencies to provide video production capabilities. Little Red Bird out of Charlotte, NC has been tapping us for projects since 2013. This was a particularly complex one to tackle. We had actors read University of North Carolina at Charlotte degree requirements from a teleprompter against a white seamless backdrop at that UNCC campus. That coupled with some drone footage and stock broll of campus then turned into an exercise in motion graphics to best present the information. Kudos to Tim Paulson of LRB for his vision and our own Ian Davidson for the motion graphics execution. This series ended up producing 12 unique program videos for UNCC.
Another example of a local commercial is this 30sec ad that ran in the Columbia, SC television market. On behalf of Sting Creative we produced a next-day-edit piece for The Nest, a plumbing fixture and electrical appliance showroom for Cregger Company.
Here’s a startup in the pet industry with door guards and tape in their product lineup. We were taking product photography in a dark fulfillment center warehouse and on the fly decided to shoot an explainer video with the CEO introducing their new furniture shields. It turned out okay for being a one-take/no planning piece.
One of the great thrills of 2018 was our involvement with The Laver Cup and the strong support staff at Tennis Australia. The Team Europe versus Team World event was an incredible competition held at the United Center in Chicago this past September. But first, in March, we filmed a promo video of epic proportions. It was logistically challenging with players arriving on separate planes, separate cars, celebrity guests, amazing Windy City locations all filmed in five hours with all editing completed two days later. Thanks to everyone from MVTPR, and TA for helping make this video possible.
JP Morgan hosted another Midtown Manhattan promo in August, the week prior to the US Open. Here’s our 2018 promo featuring Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe and Rod Laver.
As one would expect, the Navy Pier gala the week of the event was very classy. This piece involved four cameras, interviews, a stage presentation and had completion deadline of that next morning. I share this one because we wrapped and then stayed up all night cutting the footage.
Cliffs of Moher
This place often tops many lists of the most beautiful places in the world. We were not sure how DJI’s little Mavic Air would fair against the North Atlantic winds. It acquitted itself nicely and captured many views unseen by the 1.5 million annual visitors.
Here’s a preview of some of our French Open work. For the second year we returned to Paris in the spring. Unlike at Indian Wells or Wimbledon, we are not part of the same-day-edit social/digital team. Instead we are hired, alongside two other contracted production companies, to provide carefully crafted tennis match action videos. This time we were assigned to cover the younger up-and-coming next-gen players. After culling through the sixteen hours of footage, ten 30-60second videos were completed in November of 2018. They will be released and used by the FFT later in 2019 to excite fans prior to and during the clay court season.
The Championships is the highest profile video job we are tasked with annually. We are honored and thankful for the opportunity to continue serving the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This year we began creating mini-docs (scripted by the brilliant Leigh Walsh) using archival footage. Between April and the end of the tournament in July, we shot and edited over 40 videos for The Championships.
Part of the joy of working Wimbledon is that we are asked to do a little of everything. Each day is different. From filming the 2018 jewelry collection, to a proper British afternoon tea, to celebrity tours and of course match action on Centre Court. It’s the best tennis venue, the cleanest visuals, and a fantastic place to work. The Wimbledon Social/Digital team and IBM expertly and consistently stay on top of trends providing fans with the best experience possible.
Many of our videos achieved 1 to 5 million views on different platforms. The below piece is a themed video we have repeated annually since 2015. “Finishing Touches” is always completed right when tennis fans start to turn their attention to Wimbledon, but there are not yet matches on television. That, plus shares from ESPN, the BBC etc probably helped bump the numbers up on social.
This year we experimented with longer form cinematic storytelling on IGTV featuring the best match action paired with press conference post-match soundbites. Timing-wise it worked out well that we were able to cover the Nadal/Delpo match because with many dramatic dives by both players, it was one of the most exciting matches in 2018. The Women’s Final was a rematch of 2016 and was also a treat to film. Both of the below pieces filled a programming hole that fans seem to appreciate and is not otherwise provided by commentary and live coverage.
For this one note Gwri Pennar’s very-helpful overhead shots from the Centre Court crow’s nest.
Jodi Benson (The Voice of Ariel, The Little Mermaid)
Let us end this post with our most successful video ever. We also own and operate a wedding cinematography business filming 30-40 events annually. Seldom does the wedding work end up on Tried & True, but this piece was special. The video below is now our most-viewed content ever with 17+ million views and counting. We were filming a Jersey Shore wedding reception and the father-of-the-bride surprised his daughter with The REAL Little Mermaid. She sang “Part of Your World” in addition to other Disney standards. It was Jodi Benson’s first time singing at the wedding of someone who was not in her family. The fact that it was a surprise, that the bride’s reaction was perfect, that Jodi Benson performed flawlessly and that the recording was solid made us suspect that the piece had some potential to go viral. Never did we imagine 17 million views though! It ended up snowballing through Facebook and later aired on a number of TV news shows, was embedded with articles throughout the web and so on. It was a great privilege to be there in that moment to film something that Disney fans all over the world have now seen.
Additional work was completed in 2018 for Thornwell Home for Children, Monarch Medical Technologies, Pierce’s Project, PlaySight Technologies, The Western and Southern Open, US Men’s Clay Court Championship, The International Tennis Hall of Fame, Häagen-Dazs, The NFL, Porsche and Fila Sportswear. Thank you very much to our all of our clients, collaborators, contractors and connections in the creative and corporate worlds for making last year our best year ever.
Here’s to 2019!