At this time of the year here at Old Hat, we have to go on a lot of road trips to see clients for photo and video shoots, and once I finish my first blog at OH, I will be leaving on my first road trip and photo shoot in Lubbock, Texas.  Seeing we are having to drive through the scenic West Texas area, I figured the best thing to do is to to compile a list of road trip music.  No matter how far the road trip is, its always good to set the tone of the trip off on a good note (see what I did there?).  My personal opinion is that you have to have a good mix of music for the trip, much like your favorite high school mix tape you made for that crush back in the day.  

So what is the perfect list of songs to use for a trip? Well let me help out with easing the stress of a road trip playlist while your packing up to hit the road.  I feel you have a few catagories you need to hit on your playlist, especially when you are traveling with someone.  First you need to pick out some classic songs, then fan favorite songs everyone knows, and if you are like me the lesser known songs/bands to introduce your travel partner(s) too.  Now that we have the basic guidline for my road trip playlist, let me get to the top 25 songs that I would use in a playlist in no particular order:

25. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town by Pearl Jam

24. Any Way You Want It by Journey

23.  I Want You Back by The Jackson 5

22.  Mind Your Manners by Chiddy Bang

21. Jessie's Girl By Rick Springfield (great sing-a-long song)

20.  Baba O'riley by The Who (no it's not called Teenage Wasteland, big pet peeve!)

19. Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen

18. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

17. Tumbling Dice by The Rolling Stones

16. The Lemon Song by Led Zepplin  (that was to get on Zac's good side)

15. Fancy by Iggy Azalea 

14. Train in Vain by The Clash

13. Hard Knock Life by Jay Z

12. Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show

11. Lasso by Phoenix

10. Skinny Love by Bon Iver

9. Oh No by Girl Talk (I love this DJ, check him out)

8. California Waiting by Kings of Leon

7. When I Open My Eyes by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

6. Alive by Pearl Jam

5. Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

4. Anywhere But Here by Cross Canadian Ragweed

3.  I Left My Wallet in El Segundo by A Tribe Called Quest

2. Broken Open by Cold War Kids

1. Rearviewmirror By Pearl Jam

 Well, there is my list, and yes you will find out that Pearl Jam is the center of my musical universe, and if you wanted I could easily give you a road trip list of Pearl Jam songs.  Well it looks like it's time to end this blog and hit the road to Lubbock with Dustin.  

-Huff

 

 

Old Hat Capture is having a busy summer as usual. Shoots come and go and I rarely get a chance to recap everything that went on, nor do I remember all the details all the time. It's a whirlwind. 

One of the things we've been working on here at Old Hat World HQ is reorganizing our website to give clients a better idea of what Old Hat Capture can do. This means providing examples of past shoots that fit under certain categories. What kinds of photo shoots does Old Hat Capture do and what are the differences? What kinds of video shoots can we do and what differentiates those? 

Knowing the answers to these kinds of questions can help you make a decision on what kind of videos or photos you want produced for your marketing materials. There's a bunch of different ways we use footage and stills to create a video. But there's a few basic ways we capture it. Today we're going to talk about Practical Video Shoots.

PRACTICAL VIDEO SHOOT

A practical video shoot is one in which we shoot the student-athletes doing something in a normal setting. This could be during a practice, in the weight room, in the locker room, on the court or playing field or anywhere else they "normally" do stuff. We may setup additional lighting to add to the drama or we might be going for a more natural look. You can see some behind the scenes photos and finished videos of some practical video shoots below. 

Duke Men's Basketball

For this shoot we captured student athletes on the court doing what they do. Playing defense, dribbling, shooting, etc. Then we added effects in post-production over the live video.

 

Murray State Men's Basketball

This shoot involved players in a practical setting, i.e., on the basketball court, but there was no action involved. Their participation was limited to reading lines and the court was merely used as a backdrop. 

 

Utah Men's Basketball

For this shoot we captured players in a variety of settings. In the weight room, on the practice court, in the tunnel at the arena, etc.

A shoot that covers several different locations can add visual interest to your video, but also requires more time to change locations, setup and breakdown equipment and generally move everyone from place to place. Make sure you have sufficient time for a shoot like this.

 

 

That's it for today. Next time we'll go over another type of video shoot. The Greenscreen Video Shoot.

If you follow Old Hat on social media, you probably already know that Dustin and I had the opportunity to visit the University of Central Arkansas last week.  If you don’t follow along, Dustin and I visited Central Arkansas last week.

We were super excited because this was the first time either of us had been there.  We do our fair share of traveling, but it is always neat to see new campuses.  Plus, they have a PURPLE and GRAY football field!!!!  I know this is not how most would describe a football field, but it is sooooo pretty!

We were on campus to capture some footage for this year’s football intro video.  We captured some campus b-roll, practice, and footage of some of the players.  

This was no typical video shoot.  On this day, August 14, Dustin took a ride on a teeny tiny airplane to capture some aerial footage of the beautiful Estes Stadium and field.  Luckily, there wasn’t any room for me because I was more than fine hanging out in the airport while Dustin and the pilot flew in circles a few times.

Here are some photos and videos from our shoot!  Be sure to check Facebook for the rest!


Here's Dustin warming up for his plane ride...just kidding...he is actually getting a cool shot of the yard lines. 


While we were on the field, I had to add to my collection of #HandstandsWithHannah photos.  I am competing with Zac for a world record as well.  He is currently winning 18-5.


Dustin getting ready for the plane!  He even wore his Aviators...how convenient.

 

There they go!

 

Thank you Ryan, Josh, Kai, and staff for showing us around and organizing everything to make this happen!  


Good Monday morning folks! Man, is that not a SWEET title graphic?

Okay, so it's somewhat obvious that I'm NOT a graphic designer. BUT, I do work with a few of them here at the Hat, and I gotta tell ya, they've been bustin' it out this summer.

In my last blog I talked about the amount of work we've done over just the last year, and went on about how we're the experts in our field. Rest assured, none of that has changed, but it's been on my mind for a while to figure out what it is that makes some of our work better than other work. Oh sure, we can't always do the very absolute best project ever created in the history of mankind, but that's at least what we're shooting for. So why isn't everything the best?

Over my 8+ years of working at Old Hat, there have been a couple times that a client has mentioned they didn't feel they were getting the same level of design as other clients; that perhaps, because a client is a big-time university, they might be getting our best possible work while others are getting the run-of-the-mill stuff. Now I know design is very subjective, and unless you have The Design Spectrometer 400TL, it's really hard to gauge the level of design you're getting from a designer. That's why we always scan and document the results for each design using the DS400. By doing so, we can ensure that each poster gets equal amounts of athletic aptitude, branding recallability, design and structural interface integrity, and love. Yeah, you know what, I made that part up about the DS400. I thought we had started doing that but apparently not.

Okay, so seriously... why is it that some work is better? I've gotta say, I think these two graphs tell the story. Before you get upset and send me hate emails, know that I realize clients don't actually perceive things the way that I have them in the first graph. This is a dramatization intended to make a point. Or maybe some clients and others not familiar with the creative process actually DO think this is the best method. In that case, I would ask that you study the second graph.

Here's a quick breakdown of the graph below:

- The level of quality goes from low to high as the client provides input. Simple graph: more input equals better quality, regardless of how much or what type of input a client gives (content or design related). This is what I would call the "perceived" best design practice. And just to be absolutely clear, this is wrong.

 

The graph below is what I'm calling the actual best design practice. And here's a brief explanation:

- Quality goes up as input is received, similar to the first graph, up to a certain point. The point at which the quality starts to take a downturn is generally when clients move across that imaginary border I'd call the design line. In this graph, that's represented by the Ideal Input line. Providing all the pieces to the puzzle is great, but as the experts, we then have to take those pieces and put it together in a way that screams AWESOME!!

- The Quality level is represented by the upside-down U (downward parabola for you math folks), because having little or no info is probably not going to lead to a great result. In the same way, having too much information or design direction (after you get past that design line) is not going to lead to a great result either.

So what's the ideal amount of input? Honestly, it will probably vary from project to project and client to client. As a general rule, when we have as much content and direction necessary to effectively communicate your message, combined with the freedom to creatively enhance that message. That, my friend, is the ideal amount of input.

 

 

It's that time of the year again. Zac and I headed up to Denver to shoot a PSA for the Western Athletic Conference during their WAC SAAC meetings. I love this shoot because the WAC is awesome, Amanda is awesome, the student athletes are awesome and Denver is pretty awesome too. This year was a little different than previous years as we normally just shoot some green screen with the student athletes in the hotel. But since the WAC is launching a new digital network, we got some other footage for them to use there. 

Friday, we headed down to the Boys & Girls Club to get some footage of the student athletes hanging out and playing with the kiddos. At first I was really nervous about bring fancy camera equipment around a bunch of children, but those kids loved hanging out with the student athletes so much that hardly any of them even noticed the camera. We also got a few interviews with the student athletes about how much giving back to the community is important to them and I was super impressed with all of their efforts through the WAC and their own universities. (Sidenote: We also went out to dinner that night and got those amazing pretzel sticks I blogged about last year. I think they somehow got even better over the passing year, so shout out to Amanda for ordering them and sharing with everyone!)

Saturday was pretty chill. We got some footage of their meetings during the day and a little bit of them cutting loose during bowling that night. Then Sunday was the green screen shoot for the PSA with the student athletes reading from a teleprompter. I'm usually a little nervous about using a teleprompter because A.) it's hard and B.) it's not easy. Ok, I know those are the same thing but seriously, talking into a camera with all those bright lights pointing at you is intimidating enough and then you gotta read some scrolling text?! Forget about it. But actually don't, because these guys NAILED it. No wonder they were sent to represent their universities.

I'm really excited about everything we shot, so be on the lookout for an awesome WAC PSA in the coming weeks!

Old Hat Capture has been on the road again the last couple of weeks with trips to Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Tulsa. Here's some quick links to get you up to speed on all the stuff we've been paying attention to lately. 

• Blackmagic Design is offering their pocket cinema camera for $500 until late August. Amazing deal for a cool camera, even with all of its shortcomings. 

 

• We just returned from a recent Capture shoot at Southern Methodist University. Check out the video below!

(Video courtesy of Old Hat Intern Josie Logsdon)

• I always want to improve the commercials and intro videos we shoot so I watch a lot of movie behind the scenes features, read a lot of industry publications and am constantly examining the masters of cinema at work. This guy does an AMAZING job of breaking that kind of stuff down and I really dig his new YouTube examination of Michael Bay. Check it out. 

 

That's it for today folks. Come back next time for more cool stuff!

I'm so thankful to be working in the sports industry. It's fun. It's fast-paced. It's entertaining. It's something different every day. And it's a challenge. Chances are if you're reading this, you're working in the sports industry yourself, and you share these sentiments.

From time to time, I forget what makes us a great company, what it is that sets us apart from other creative agencies and freelancers. I forget how good our people are at what they do. I forget how difficult it must be to produce new materials each and every day, yet give each project its own unique identity. But it's the experience of creating new projects each day that makes us the experts at what we do. If you look at popular theory (Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and others), expertise comes through repetition. Basically, by the time you put in 10,000 hours doing any one thing, you've become an expert in that field. That equates to roughly five years of doing 40-hour work weeks to become an expert.

Old Hat has experts on staff. We've got print designers, developers, animators and (don't forget) client service reps with that kind of experience. It goes beyond that though. Our designers, developers and animators aren't just simply putting in hours to gain expertise. It starts with talented people that push themselves, which in turn causes those around them to work harder (iron sharpens iron). That's a benefit we have that you won't get from freelancers and in-house designers. That's not to say they can't create great work and aren't experts themselves, but I'd put our team of experts against an individual any day.

If you look at the sheer volume of work Old Hat produced in 2013, you might realize what I've realized: 1) how difficult it must be to constantly push ourselves to greatness and 2) how our experience continues to keep us the best at what we do.

So what is that volume of work? Let's see what we did in 2013, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the common projects we work on daily.

PRINT

Posters - 353

Schedule cards - 146

Ads- 63

Tickets - 49

Billboards - 25

Magnets - 34

 

LOGOS: 71

WEB projects (some full sites, some updates to existing sites): 64

VIDEO

Intro Videos - 73

Commercials - 54

Animations - 63

 

Photo/Video Shoots: 19 full day shoots, 7 half days

 

I think the evidence speaks for itself. So if you ever wonder if we're truly equipped to handle your next project, just trust us, we know what we're doing.

 

 

I've spent all summer traveling to shoot jobs for clients. It's a whirlwind of packing equipment, unpacking equipment, setting up, tearing down, and capturing photos and motion along the way. 

The benefit of all that work is that we come back to the office with some amazing content to put out for clients. The disadvantage is that I get way behind on showing that work off on this blog. 

Recently we attended NACMA and had a new portfolio put together to show clients there. Here's a digital version for all of you who didn't get the chance to attend. Hit us up here at Old Hat Headquarters to see what we can do for you.

 

Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.  What a load of crap.  Sure, if you're running a race and you quit in the middle of it, you're not going to win.  But some people subscribe to the notion that quitting is a bad thing, in all situations.  "You can't just jump ship when things get tough or don't go the way you want."  Of course you can.  And thankfully, studies are now showing that you SHOULD.

"Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting.  Because you can't solve tomorrow's problem if you're not willing to abandon today's dud." - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in Think Like a Freak

Now I'm not advocating that anyone quit on something at the first sign of dissatisfaction.  That would be counterproductive.  But I do believe (and the people at Freakonomics agree) that we should all be more willing to pull the metaphorical plug a little earlier on things when we know we're unhappy.  There's this notion of "sunk cost" that keeps us fighting losing battles which ultimately end up causing even greater dissatisfaction and 6 months down the road, you wish you had just quit 6 months ago.  When we have sunk time, energy, money, etc. into something, we hold onto it hoping things will turn around.  And we SHOULD... to an extent.  But there's a point at which we know that we need to just call it quits but we continue with it because we've already invested so much time in it.

I've always subscribed to the philosophy that when faced with a decision, you should do what you'll regret the least... not necessarily what you want the most.  So before you go off and quit something, the first thing you wanna do is make sure you're not going to regret it later. So I'm definitely not advocating quitting something without giving it a LOT of thought and consideration.  But once you've figured out in your head that your future is not in that job, relationship, situation, etc., end it immediately.  You'll be glad you did.

Disagree?

When was the last time you quit something that didn't end up being a good decision?  If it's happened a lot, then maybe you're one of those people that makes decisions like this without giving it enough thought.  For me, I can't think of a single time that I quit anything where I regretted it for a single second.  Are there things I miss?  Sure.  Would I have loved to stay in that situation if it had been salvageable?  You bet your hiney.

When I was in eighth grade, I hated school.  Absolutely despised it.  And a lot of it had to do with the school I was in.  That school was fine for some people but for me, it was pure hell.  So I quit going there.  I transferred to a different school where I had a great experience, met lifelong friends and met the eventual mother of my children.

When I worked for the OU Athletics Department, I eventually got to the point where I knew I had reached my potential there.  I was not happy.  People told me I was absolutely NUTS for wanting to quit.  I had a good, reliable job working for a university, doing what I loved and getting to go on free Bowl trips every year.  But I quit.  And it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I now own the nation's premiere sports creative agency and am infinitely more satisfied with my career.  And when the time comes when I'm not, I'll probably quit this too.

I've quit other things, too.  Personal relationships... Professional relationships... I quit holding on to the idea that I can grow a nice head of hair and just decided to buzz it all off.  Point is, not only do I not regret anything I've ever quit, I'm much happier because of those things.

Think Like A Freak

Still don't believe me?  That's okay.  But you should read the latest book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubnar, Think Like a Freak.  They spend an entire chapter on this and do it way more justice than I have.  The point they make (and the one I'm trying to make), is that quitting is okay.  And for the most part, it leads to greater satisfaction in life. 

Dear Old Hat Staff: Please don't quit.

I sincerely hope that this blog hasn't inspired anyone on my staff to quit.  That would suck.  But only because my assumption is that if I've inspired them to quit, they have to have been unhappy here for some time.  And THAT is what would bother me.  All I want for any of my staff is that they are as happy as they can possibly be.  And if quitting their job would lead to greater happiness, I would encourage them to rip the band-aid off and move on to the next phase of their lives.  

Sincerely,

Zac

P.S. But seriously, Old Hatters... don't quit your jobs.  This philosophy applies to everyone but you. 

 

It's my final day in the office before we depart (Sunday) for Orlando for what will be our 10th NACMA.  The photo above is from our first ever NACMA when I was the only employee at Old Hat and we only had about 4 clients.  I always get nostalgiac around NACMA time because I think back to where we started and how far we've come.  That first booth was a pop-up that took about 10 minutes to assemble.  It was made of carpet and I velcroed just about every decent project I had ever designed to it. I had to ask a friend of mine to come with me to Orlando to help out as I had no employees.  I didn't even pay him, I don't think.  Just offered him a free trip to Orlando.  Thanks Cory!  Now, we more than 25 employees and every year I have to decide who gets to/has to go.

That first booth and all our materials fit into two plastic cases on rollers.  Cory and I checked them on our flight and rolled them through the airports, onto the car rental shuttle and into the exhibit hall to set them up.  The booth space was 10' by 10' which was more than enough room to showcase our company.  Today, our booth is 20' by 20' and it takes a U-Haul to get it there.  It will take us a few hours to assemble it all and we spent months in preparation for it.

In year one, Old Hat Design Company was a print design shop.  We did posters, brochures, schedule cards... And I designed ever single thing we produced.  Today we have six divisions that will be marketed at NACMA.  Print Design, Interactive, Productions, Consulting, Branding and Capture.  And I don't design anything that any of those divisions produce.

NACMA is always a reminder of what we have accomplished in the past ten years and it's quite humbling to think about.  To say that I couldn't have done it alone is the understatement of the century.  The people, both internally and externally, that got us to where we are are too numerous to count.  But they know who they are and I offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you.  

Please stop by and say hello at the booth next week.  And take a mental picture of what it looks like.  If we do as well the next 10 years as we did in the first 10, we might be occupying the entire exhibit hall.

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