CMU Showcase 2014

On March 21, 2014, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is one of the nation’s finest dramatic schools. You can’t watch an evening of network TV without seeing CMU alumni. The CMU School of Drama is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

My friend and CMU Drama professor, Don Wadsworth asked if I would volunteer to film their Showcase 2014 video. Each year, the school creates a music driven video to introduce the graduating seniors to America’s top producers, directors and casting agents. CMU then flies these seniors to L.A. and NYC to personally meet and perform for entertainment industry leaders.

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Working with CMU professor & director, Randy Kovitz, John Przyborski and I filmed the video on the day students returned from Christmas break. As a two camera shoot, it was my first opportunity to film a project with my son. I’m proud to say that half the scenes in the video were shot by him.

Bob Chamberlain, Chad Calcagno, Tom Gregg, and Ben Perkins all volunteered their Sunday to crew the shoot. Pittsburgh’s LightSpeed generously supplied the crab dolly, lighting and grip equipment .

Check out CMU’s “Showcase 2014″ and remember the names and faces. The next time you see them, they might be in a movie, TV series, or Broadway play!

WVUH “Patient Voices” Campaign

On December 3, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


West Virginia University Healthcare is the largest hospital complex in the State of West Virginia. The facility treats many of the region’s most complicated medical cases.

Heidi Specht, WVUH’s Director of Marketing, wanted a series of TV commercials whereby former patients would share their experiences directly with the home viewer. The commercials were to be completely unscripted, allowing patients to tell their stories in their own words.

This concept sounds deceptively easy, but it’s far from it. “Real people” who have never been on TV, can’t comfortably look into a cold, black camera lens and “pretend” they’re talking to a friend.

We decided to use a technique that I pioneered back in ’87. It uses a thru-the-lens teleprompter on the camera. However, instead of seeing the words of a script, the talent sees live video of an interviewer’s face. The on-camera talent talks directly with the interviewer, creating almost perfect eye contact with the home viewer. (In ’87, I first used this production technique to help small children talk on camera. We then used it on a major promotion for Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV. Today network news interviews are often conducted this way.)

The 5 spot commercial campaign airs in HD throughout West Virginia.

Paul Hartwick 1946 – 2013

On September 24, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

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My former business partner and TV commercial director, Paul Hartwick passed away at UPMC Hospital Sunday afternoon 9-22-13.

Paul and I met while working at Television Production Center (TPC) in Pittsburgh. He had previously worked as an ad agency producer at Ketchum and W.B. Doner which gave him the ability to relate to art directors and writers. In 1975, Hartwick convinced me that we could make a living by starting a commercial production company.

We founded Hartwick/Przyborski Productions in 1975 and operated the company through 1987. During that period “H/P” produced literally hundreds of broadcast advertising commercials for clients and ad agencies across the U.S. We worked separately on most projects and as a team on major productions, especially those from our New York office. Many Pittsburgh crew people got their first film production experience with Hartwick/Przyborski and/or TPC.

Back in the mid-70′s most film projects were actually edited on film. Then a print from the lab was transferred to videotape for TV station distribution. Kodak credited Paul and me as pioneers for shooting 35mm film specifically for editorial on videotape.

Paul Hartwick was an instrument rated, multi-engine pilot and an avid outdoorsman. He loved the woods, hunting, guns, and civil war re-enactments. Years ago, he dropped out of the commercial production business and moved to the Allegheny Forrest near Bradford, PA. Unfortunately, My last contact with Paul was over 10 years ago.

Paul Hartwick is survived by His wife, Mary and daughters, Jennifer & Justi.

Bald Eagles in Pittsburgh

On June 3, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Here’s a look at a nesting pair of American Bald Eagles that have built a 6′ wide nest, a little over 1000ft from the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, a few miles south of Pittsburgh, PA USA. The male and female have one rather large “eaglet” in their nest. He looks almost ready to fly.

As a commercial director/cinematographer, this was my first experience with nature photography. I’m used to planned projects and production schedules. I now have complete respect for the men and women who shoot nature photos and videos.

Every scene in this video was shot from about a quarter mile from the birds and their nest. At this distance, the birds aren’t really noticeable to the naked eye.

It’s great that the American Bald Eagle has made a complete comeback from near extinction. They are now in every US state except Hawaii. We have 3 nesting pairs in the Pittsburgh area. They hunt in a radius of several miles from their nest and can easily lift small animals weighing up to 4 pounds.

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Salute to the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins

On May 30, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

1991 Pittsburgh Penguins Back in 1991, working with KDKA’s Drew Moniot, my assignment was to capture the look, feel, and excitement of what happens inside the Pittsburgh Penguins’ locker room between periods of play. The cast was a very young Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh team… but only 2 players could be “on set” at a time. Also, team members were promised that filming wouldn’t tie them up for more than 45 minutes. The footage was used as “bumper” background video that various sponsor logos and other graphics would be “supered” over during the Penguins telecasts. We shot in the visitor’s locker room inside Mellon Arena. Extras, and some of our crew dressed as hockey players, filled-in the background. I shot everything in 35mm with my Arri 35BL4. During film-to-tape transfer, we stripped the natural color and added a blue, gritty, grainy look. Hockey players are very superstitious. I tried to capture the unique idiosyncrasies each player does to psych himself up before hitting the ice. After winning the ’91 Stanley Cup, head coach, “Badger” Bob Johnson died of brain cancer in November, 1991. This video is a tribute to him.

I edited the transferred footage on D2 digital videotape. (using old school machine-to-machine editing)

New Healthcare Awards

On May 17, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

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A Przyborski Productions’ TV campaign, produced for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, has won Gold in the 2012 Cancer Awareness Advertising Awards.  This prestigious advertising competition included thousands of entries from hospitals and healthcare facilities located throughout the United States and Canada. Here’s a link to the winning multi-spot campaign:
http://www.przyborski.com/award_videos/Award-Boca-960×540.mov

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Our Children’s Hospital spot for West Virginia University Healthcare is an award winner in the 2012 Healthcare Marketing Report’s national contest. There were over 4,000 entries in the 2012 competition. Here’s a link to the winning spot that features “Aaron’s story”: http://www.przyborski.com/award_videos/Award-WVUH-960×540.mov

2013 Commercial Demo Reel

On January 15, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


It’s a new year and that means ad agencies and clients from across the country are working on new creative ideas for TV campaigns…

We had a great 2012 and the opportunity to work with some new folks and lots of old friends. We’re optimistically hoping 2013 will be even better.

Not to be “crass commercialists”… but, we’d like you to take 5 minutes to screen our updated reel which includes some recent projects. The spots span the gambit from high-energy, effect-driven commercials, to sincere, one-on-one communications aimed directly at the home viewer.

It’s also our first reel where every spot was shot digitally… Sorry Kodak, it appears our $.65/foot, 25 year relationship is over…

YES Concert Playback Video

On March 25, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Every once in a while, a project comes along that’s completely different and fun to shoot. John Brabender (Brabender-Cox) asked Przyborski to direct and photograph a couple live-action concert playback videos for YES’ 2013 concert tour.  With hits like “Roundabout”, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, “Long Distance Runaround” and many more, YES, a major group from the 70′s & 80′s, is currently touring the country. They have a huge, cult-like, devoted following that sells out every performance.

“8 Track” is one of the nostalgic videos that were created for playback at the start of the concert and at the end of intermission. The house lights dim and the band begins as the video finishes. Thad Christian, senior editor and graphics artist at Phenomenon Post, edited and color graded the 90 second videos. Michael Goodis created the original sound design.

Przyborski photographed this digital project with a RED Epic at Pittsburgh’s 31st Studios. All footage was shot in an ultra-widescreen, 2.66:1 ratio. This unusual format was requested to allow the video to fill the on-stage, HD projection systems.

1995 TV Spot featuring Cardinal Donald Wuerl

On March 25, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Giant Eagle is one of the largest supermarket chains in the country. Between 1994 – 2000, Przyborski Productions produced literally all of Giant Eagle’s TV advertising.  These were years of tremendous growth for the multi-state company. During that time period, Giant Eagle’s advertising was fun, different, interesting and entertaining.

In 1995, Bishop Wuerl (now Cardinal Wuerl) was featured in a 35mm TV commercial, endorsing Giant Eagle’s “Apples for Students” program.  With the inauguration of Pope Francis, Cardinal Wuerl has been all over the news. Some say he was under consideration to be the next Pope.

Click the image above to replay this unique TV spot from 18 years ago…

Przyborski Shoots Gateway Health Plan’s TV Spots

On December 11, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Gateway Health Plan “No One Asks & Can’t Stop Me” :30 TV spots from Glenn Przyborski on Vimeo.

Gateway Health Plan offers “Medicare Assured” coverage to qualified residents of Pennsylvania. The multi-spot campaign featured people who have overcome their health problems and disabilities.

I’m confident in sharing that extensive pre-production is the primary difference between a successful project and hours of overtime and uncontrolled expenses. I elected to photograph the commercials with a Canon 5Dmk3. This camera’s 36mm x 24mm imager yields very shallow depth-of-field images. This keeps visual separation between the on-camera talent and the background. The 5Dmk3 also has great looking color, especially with flesh tones.
For the location spot, generator powered, HMI lighting supplemented natural daylight for the outdoor footage. For the garage scenes, the primary light source was a 1200 watt HMI through a 3′ x 3′ Chimara diffuser. Talent back-lights were LED lighting panels.

The white limbo studio spot was shot using incandescent lighting. 1K & 2K Arri fixtures were used combined with 3×3 & 3×4 Chimera soft diffusers. The BG white limbo rear wall was lit with 5K Arri fresnels. It’s very important when you shoot this type of commercial that the color balance of the light fixtures that illuminate your BG be exactly the same. Otherwise you’ll end up with a color shift from left-to-right or top-to-bottom.

The campaign currently airs in high-definition throughout the State of Pennsylvania USA.

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