Recycling TV Spots… Old becomes New

On March 16, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


AutoZone (via their ad agency, Doner Inc./Detroit) wanted to re-broadcast a successful commercial that I directed and photographed in 2003. Back then, TV spots were produced in standard definition as most networks and cable systems weren’t accepting HD commercials.

I shot the original Duralast battery commercial in 4:3 ratio, standard definition at 23.98 frames per second. Fortunately, we recorded the original video, non-compressed on a video file server.

I went back to the 16 original scenes and removed the 3-2 pulldown which yielded progressive scan video at 23.98 frames-per-second. My son, John Przyborski, who created the visual effects for the spot, had saved progressive scan versions of each scene that included mattes or re-touch effects.

The next step was to use the program, “Shake” to expand each scene so the progressive scan video became 1080 pixels high. Finally, on a 1080P timeline, I literally re-edited the entire spot, frame-by-frame. All title graphics, such as the Coast-to-Coast Warranty, Proven Tough, and AutoZone logos were re-inserted at full HD resolution. Doner’s art department created the shaded Duralast logo to pillar-box the left and right of the screen. The original audio mix from 2003 was re-used.

You may ask, “Why the pillar-box format? Why not expand the original scenes to fill the entire HD frame?” The original scenes were framed for the standard 4:3 ratio TV format. To fill the top to bottom of the 1080HD image required a 224% expansion. To fill the entire HD screen (while maintaining correct image proportion) would require a 306% expansion. Also, by filling the left-to-right, the top and bottom would be chopped off. The “pillar-box” technique that we chose, yields an acceptably sharp HD image that’s also compatible with center-cut, standard definition TV.

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