Joel Edwards of Evolve Media talks about their award winning ESPN sports docs – shot on Phantom, Sony F3 and 5D

Interview by features editor Mat Gallagher:

Monika Korra – Breaking The Silence from Evolve Digital Cinema | IMG on Vimeo.

Last month, Chicago-based Evolve media won two sports Emmy Awards for Breaking the Silence (outstanding cinematography) and Beitar Jerusalem (outstanding journalism), both produced for ESPN. I asked Evolve’s Joel Edwards about the two projects and what makes their work stand out.

Tell me a little about Evolve media…
Evolve is formally turning five years old this year, but I kinda think that the idea and values behind the company have been around for a bit longer. We’ve had or been a part of a few other companies before and have moulded Evolve from those experiences. My brother Jesse and I started the company, along with help and support from my friend Bill [Roach]. We’ve worked in many different arenas and industries – corporate, live sports, television – and then five years ago we started doing a lot more network TV work.

Your styling is pretty unique, what is it influenced by?
I don’t think we have specific inspirations. We’re not big fans of particular directors, genres or styles, I think we’re inspired by everything; little things and big things. We do love music and cinematic approaches. We also really love to lean on concept-based approaches when possible. Anytime you can use a visual device that’s creative and somewhat separate of your subject(s), as long as you can make the connection, well, we think it really helps tell the story in an artist way.

Left to right: Bill Roach, Producer Kory Kozak, Jesse Edwards, Joel Edwards

It’s nice to see a sports channel hosting such creative filmmaking. Has it taken longer for sports channels to see the benefit?
Perhaps. But ESPN has always been very open-minded to ideas and new approaches. I think that TV networks are pretty smart across the board. As the standards in storytelling, imaging and production quality change, as long as they’re changing with it, all of the networks will see the benefits.

Joel Edwards prepping the camera for the studio scenes

Where did the ideas come from and how long did they take to shoot?
Both were commissioned by ESPN. The network has several different storytelling and documentary platforms, and great groups of management and staff that we’ve had the pleasure to create content with.
Breaking the Silence was shot over quite some time, three to four months sporadically. We did it in several different segments: Norway, Dallas and a Chicago-based studio shoot. For Beitar, we had one trip for ten days to shoot it all.

No Rest – Wicked Tuna Season 2 :30 Spot from Evolve Digital Cinema | IMG on Vimeo.

What cameras did you shoot on?
Breaking the Silence was shot on the Phantom v65 along with Sony F3 and Canon EOS 5D mkIII. Beitar was shot mostly on the Canon 5D MkIII and some Sony F3.

ESPN: Jamarcus Russell – Waking Up [TRAILER] from Evolve Digital Cinema | IMG on Vimeo.

What have you got coming up next?
We’re going to be releasing some new spots in a 30sec campaign for Samsung and National Geographic Channel. We’ll post them on our Vimeo page shortly!

Innovative Exploration: Clean Water [:30] from Evolve Digital Cinema | IMG on Vimeo.

See more from Evolve media at www.evolveimg.com

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