After Red Bull’s “Batting Practice in the Streets” promotion on the Chicago River ended last week, Bridges Media executive producer Cannon Kinnard was only about halfway through with his part of the job.
“‘Batting Practice’ ended probably about one o’clock,” he says. “We sent the final, 90-second video to Red Bull around 10 p.m.”
For the better part of the lunch hour on April 11, as thousands of fans watched Cubs star Kris Bryant smack baseballs into the fork of the river near the Lake St. bridge, Kinnard and a live production crew filmed as much of the action as possible.
“Bridges provided the mini-doc crews to gather content from the place, River Point, where the batting practice actually happened,” says Kinnard. “We were out all day capturing those stories.”
Managing “three camera operators, two audio guys, a 360 camera and runners running cards and batteries back and forth between the office,” Kinnard and the team added Bridges’ footage to everything that Red Bull had shot along the way, including lots of stuff from spectators with Go-Pros.
The final video was edited by creative lead Dave Mehrman from Bridges’ sister company, 11 Dollar Bill. It is a chronological montage over a foot-stomping soundtrack.
Scenes of Downtown Chicago cut into footage of Bryant riding up an escalator with a Red Bull and a baseball bat in hand. A series of crews preparing, crowds cheering, hitters swinging, pitchers pitching and kayaks retrieving balls from the stretch of the river between the Loop and River North ensues.
To date, it has scored nearly 600,000 views on Bryant’s Facebook page.
Batting Practice in the Streets was managed by Levinson Locations, a Chicago-based production services company that had partnered with Bridges on a number of previous Red Bull projects. Scout manager and director of business development Annie Clark was the point person for the job. Her responsibilities began weeks before the first pitch was thrown.
“Red Bull has their own vibe and a lot of ideas,” she says. “This one sounded like it would be cool.”
She worked with a formidable litany of governmental departments to make it come to life.
After sorting through the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Office of Special Events, the Harbor Safety Committee, the Chicago Fire Department, the Chicago Police Department and the Coast Guard, she successfully arranged for the river to be shut down for half an hour.
The agreement included pausing the action twice during the promotion to allow boats to pass by, but from what Clark remembers, the people on them “appeared to be having a blast.”
“One of the larger tour boats actually had a full crowd on the deck so they got to see a good view of it,” she remembers. “They were cheering and Kris Bryant went over and waved to them.”
BATTING PRACTICE IN THE STREETS
Camera Operator: Darryl Miller
Camera Operator: Chris Rejano
Camera Operator: Sebastian Audinelle
Sound Mixer: Lorian Toth
Sound Mixer: Dan Machut
Field Producer: Tanna Solberg
Field Producer: Kevin Schroeder
Runner: Jason Pauli
Runner: Ivan Cespedes
EP: Cannon Kinnard
11 Dollar Bill :
Creative Lead/Editorial: Dave Mehrman
Editor: Jeff Cooney
Post Production Supervisor: Clark Jackson
EP: Del Feltz
Annie Clark- Produced event, Location Manager
Andrew Kusznir- assistant Location Manager
Lydia Tanev- assistant Location Manager