Monthly Archives: September 2012

Russell Wilson – Go Forth

Here is how you make a great commercial:

The commercial works on so many levels. First, Levi did a great job of latching on to a talented, young, well-spoken ambassador for the Seattle community: Russell Wilson. Wilson’s involvement in the community is on display in the commercial, so it’s also a nice plug for the young quarterback.

Second, the commercial shows off various districts of the Emerald City in a flattering manner. As Wilson drives through town, we see that the city is a diverse place filled with interesting people.

Third, the voice-over done by Wilson is clear and thought-provoking. It reminds us why there are still some professional athletes out there that are capable of leading a meaningful life off the field as well as on it.


Steve Sabol (1942 – 2012)

The NFL lost a great man today with the passing of Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films. Along with his father Ed, he revolutionized how the game was packaged and presented to us. From humble beginnings, NFL Films grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise that produces highlight films each year for every team, Super Bowl highlights, and countless other incredible works.

Now for my own off-the-cuff response to Steve’s death. NFL Films was an immense part of my childhood. I was raised a diehard Green Bay Packer fan, and the 1996 VHS highlight film of the Super Bowl champion team from that year remains stowed away safely somewhere in my home. I also own several other NFL Films works, including the 2010 Packer highlight film . The musical pieces that accompany nearly all NFL Films productions serve as the soundtrack to some of my fondest memories; I’ve reached the point where I can recall the scene of the highlight film when I hear a Sam Spence arrangement. Several years ago I purchased the entire NFL Films soundtrack, so I could, in part, relive these moments whenever I wanted. Even if you’ve never watched an NFL game in your life, you’ve likely taken in some piece of Steve’s legacy. The images are indelible as well. We are all familiar with them by now: the spiraling football leaving a quarterback’s hand as it arcs toward its target, the duels played out in the cold November mud, the iconic coaches stalking the sidelines. Trying to describe an NFL Films work in words fall desperately short. So I leave you with what has become my favorite NFL Films vignette. It is seminal and haunting. The NFL will miss you greatly Steve. Take it easy up there. We’ll keep on watching down here.

Police use Twitter to inform students on bar and house party raids

The Madison Police Department has recently opened a Twitter account to notify students of raids that will be conducted in advance on house parties and bars. It’s a very interesting initiative, and I’ll be anxious to see whether or not this cuts down on the number of arrests amongst students.

Link to article – Daily Cardinal

Aliabad Ambush Reax

An Ambush and a Comrade Lost

The slideshow done by the New York Times is a more personal story than might otherwise be able to be told with video. This is achieved through a combination of techniques. First, the pictures taken by a Times photographer embedded with the unit are not all crystal-clear – some are blurry or out of focus. This gives the effect that the images we are looking at reflect what a real soldier might see and feel; war is not always as clean as civilians back home might think. The soldiers’ voice overs combined with the natural background sound immerse the viewer in the environment. Finally, the jarring sound of the gunfire and ensuing battle really make the viewer feel as if the battle is happening right in front of them.

This slideshow is a compact example of how to deliver an audio-visual experience that engages a viewer. It is often difficult to relate a story about war to an audience an ocean away, but this piece comes very close to accomplishing that. I feel this slideshow even possibly does a better job of portraying a battle scene than video might; because we are not constantly focusing on movement and motion, we pay more attention to the still images and, more importantly, the sounds of the ambush and the soldiers’ voices.

The slideshow also packs an emotional punch, and this is not limited to those who have either experienced war and know somebody that has served and/or is currently serving in the military. It is chock-full of human emotions that transcend time or space: camaraderie and the loss of someone close to you. This story could just as easily have been about a soldier’s death in World War II, or even the loss of a good friend in a car accident. Irreversible loss is the message of the slideshow, and it’s delivered in an indelible way.