Great Balls of Video

Alicia Keys’ annual Black Ball, a mega-celebrity, glitzed-out annual fundraiser, raises money for her Keep a Child Alive HIV/AIDS philanthropy and celebrates the work of key humanitarians (for 2009, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and Youssou N’dour) for their help in the fight against the pandemic. The event was on October 15, and it’s just been announced that they raised $2.4 million that night.

This year, the producers came to Chermayeff & Geismar to create a motion graphics film to play in the background during the centerpiece performance by Keys and N’dour (who is Africa’s most famous entertainer). Instead of the a simple video backdrop partner Sagi Haviv created a great ball of video fire.

“When I suggested that instead of animating quotes from famous spiritual leaders (which would be very expected), we animate the names of the famous contributors in the room, KCA’s art director Earle Sebastian got up from his chair and laid down on the floor in our conference room,” says Haviv. “That’s when I knew I was on to something. It’s true that inspirational quotes can help open up hearts and pocketbooks, which is why it’s done so much. But the fact is that people get a rush when they see their own name, especially on a 40-by-30-foot screen. And nothing inspires generosity like a personal touch. Stroking the ego doesn’t hurt, either.”



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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.