Rebellion 2012

On January 22, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Usually, I’m shooting nice things… like attractive people eating food while smiling. This project was completely different.

John Brabender (BrabenderCox) is one of the country’s top political media consultants. For over 10 years, he and I have worked together on many successful TV campaigns. John rarely thinks anywhere near the box, much less inside it.

John gave us less than a week to put together this project. Fortunately, I remembered scouting an old abandoned manufacturing building in Pittsburgh for a previous TV campaign. My producer and production coordinator, Judy Gurchak and I re-scouted the location and it was still available.

I set up most of the shots to take advantage of a wall of windows that lined the North side of the building. This became my primary light source, supplemented with 1200 and 2500 watt HMI’s. We used smoke machines to add atmosphere and distance to the scenes.

Growing up in Florida, I hate shooting in freezing cold weather. For the entire shoot day, our set temperature was less than 50ºF. We couldn’t use heaters because they quickly dissipated the smoke. Our shoot day was overcast and snowy, so we knew we would loose useable window light by 4:30PM.

I used a motorized, 7′ slider for the marching feet scenes and all ground level camera angles. This slider can smoothly move 25 pounds of camera.

I photographed everything with a RED Epic M using the standard set of RED primes including the 300mm telephoto. Every scene (except the fall) was shot at 30fps for playback at 23.98.

Thad Christian at Pittsburgh’s Phenomenom Post did an amazing job editing and grading the 90 second spot in less than 2 days including numerous effect shots. Michael Goodis handled original sound design. Steve Parys worked his butt off as my assistant director. Without the talents of gaffer, Ted Wiegand and scenic designer, Rich Schutte none of this would have been possible in such a short amount of time.

PLEASE: No political comments… I’ve uploaded this commercial to show an interesting assignment and production treatment… it’s not intended to be a political statement.

Przyborski Wins Platinum at MarCom

On November 26, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


All of us at Przyborski Productions were happy to learn that our commercials for Boca Raton Regional Hospital won a “Platinum” award for broadcast media in the 2011 MarCom Awards. This is the third year that Boca Raton’s marketing team, headed by Tom Chakurda, has called on Przyborski Productions for the medical center’s on-air TV marketing.

MarCom is sponsored by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The mission of the MarCom Awards is to honor excellence and recognize the creativity of marketing and communication professionals. The MarCom Awards is a creative competition for corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies and industry freelancers. The MarCom competition has grown to the largest of its kind in the world with about 5,000 entries per year. A look at the winners shows a range in size from individuals to media conglomerates and Fortune 50 companies.

CLICK HERE to screen several recent Boca Raton Regional Hospital spots, including the latest MarCom Platinum winner.

an early snowfall…

On November 7, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I live a few miles north of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In our region, it’s extremely rare to have a mid-October snowfall. I woke on Saturday morning to unexpected, falling snow that was over an inch across. It was so beautiful that I grabbed one of our high-def cameras and shot a few scenes around my home.

In Pittsburgh, we were lucky. Our snow melted and was gone by early afternoon. The entire Northeast U.S. didn’t fare as well with a massive 6 to 12 inch snow storm.

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More Eat ‘n Park TV Fun

On October 10, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


For the latest series of Eat ‘n Park TV spots, Sarah Marince asks employees what they love about Eat ‘n Park (besides their paycheck.) In my favorite spot of the new “Team” series, Sarah gets to put the icing on EnP’s iconic Smiley Face Cookie.

I currently shoot these spots on 2 HDTV digital cameras. All the sync sound sequences are shot on a Panasonic AF-100 equipped with Canon and Olympus lenses. I use the very heavy 14mm – 35mm F2 zoom for most wide angle scenes. Either a 50mm F1.4 or a 85mm F1.2 lens handles talent close-ups.

My second camera for quick, hand-held cutaways is either a Panasonic GH2 or a Canon 5D mk2. All the cutaways in this spot were shot on a GH2 equipped with a 20mm F1.7 lens.

Over the years, I’ve found that the only way to direct and shoot this “scripted spontaneity” is to think of each sequence as a very short play.

While gaffer, Ted Wiegand is setting lights with the crew, I’ll have the talent first perform the scene or sequence without any direction. Invariably, people will naturally stay too far apart for TV. After a couple run throughs, I’ll get the desired distance between the actors. Then I’ll determine the best wide shot or master shot angle to cover the action. The close-up, return shots between actors happen naturally based on the master shot.

Although I often use a Fisher 10 crab dolly, for this spot I shot all the test kitchen dialogue with my camera mounted on a monopod. It gives the scenes spontaneity and just enough movement as if the action was natural and unrehearsed.

When you’re working in tight quarters, such as Eat ‘n Park’s test kitchen, the choices of camera angles and camera positions are limited, so you make the most of the best overall background for your master shot. The backgrounds for close-ups will be out-of-focus, so you can add, subtract or cheat certain scene elements.

One last bit of advice, when working with “real people” as opposed to actors, let them play themselves. As long as the role they’re playing is within their normal “world” you can usually get a pretty credible performance. I’ve found that non-professionals do their best on the second or third take. After that it’s a crap shoot.

BTW, that’s actually Sarah perfectly icing the cookie in the close-up!

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.


Background Info: Don Nehlen is a former head coach of the West Virginia University “Mountaineers” football team. For 20 years, he lead the team to winning seasons and bowl games. Nehlen retired from his successful coaching career in 2000. You know you’re appreciated when the road to Mountaineer Stadium is named Don Nehlen Drive.

A few years ago, West Virginia University Healthcare performed triple-bypass heart surgery, which saved his life. Coach Nehlen agreed to be featured in a TV commercial for the WVUH Heart Institute.

This commercial is an example of combining the best image quality attributes of 2 completely different 1080P HDTV cameras. I shot all of Coach Nehlen’s on-camera interview scenes with my Sony F900R. All the cutaways or “B-Roll” scenes were shot with my Panasonic AF100.

Personally, I’m sick of seeing “interview” spots where the subject is looking and talking off-camera to some nondescript, unidentified person. I wanted Coach Nehlen to tell his story, first person, directly to the home viewer. I resurrected an idea and technology that I first pioneered in the mid-eighties. We hooked 2 cameras and teleprompters together so the coach could talk directly to a virtual image of the interviewer’s face which appeared to “float” in front of the camera’s lens. The technique worked very well and added to the believability and sincerity of the Coach’s on-camera delivery. Thanks to Gary, Jay, Heidi and Mary of WVUH’s marketing team for putting up with my crazy production techniques…

The HDTV commercial is scheduled to begin airing in August throughout West Virginia.

Scenes from a County Fair

On September 22, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I live in the City of Pittsburgh. Our company is in the city. Most of our clients and ad agencies are located in cities across the state. It’s easy to forget that Pennsylvania is mostly rural farm country.

Once a year, my wife Carol and I travel an hour and a half north of Pittsburgh to Meadville, Pennsylvania. It’s the annual site of the Crawford County Fair, the largest agricultural and livestock exhibition in the state. For an entire week, kids and adults from all over Northwest Pennsylvania show off the best looking animals they’ve raised. 4H members and others take pride in their sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, goats, ducks and chicken. Every exhibitor hopes to win a prize and the bragging rights to having raised a “best of show” animal at the Crawford County Fair.

I call this video “Scenes from a Pennsylvania County Fair” because every week in the summer, scenes like these repeat themselves in rural towns across the state and throughout the country. It’s was a hot, sticky 92 degrees at the fair but everybody enjoyed walking the fairgrounds, eating junk food and catching up with their old friends.

This video is a compilation of 1080P footage I shot in 2008 and 2011. It’s a salute to the hard working people we sometimes take for granted…

Zacuto Inc. /Chicago

On September 18, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Zacuto is one of the world’s leading suppliers of innovative camera equipment and technologies. The company’s high-tech accessories for DSLR cameras are used throughout the world. If you shoot commercial video with Canon cameras, there’s a good chance you own Zacuto accessories.

Based in Chicago, Zacuto has a world-wide distribution network of dealers in Germany, France, Sweden, Tokyo and Singapore.

In addition to my “day job” directing and photographing TV commercials for clients and ad agencies across the US, I’ve been designing several new camera accessories for Panasonic’s GH1/GH2 series of cameras. These upcoming products will enhance the functionality and usability of these popular cameras.

Everyone who knows me is aware that I can’t buy or use a piece of equipment without taking it apart and modifying it. I’m guilty of never being happy with the status quo. I always think something can be better.

Check out Zacuto’s website: http://www.zacuto.com My short bio is part of the “Zacuto Product Designers” section: http://www.zacuto.com/zacuto-product-designers

Kent State Football Honors Jim DeVincentis

Kent State’s football “team room” was recently named in honor of Jim DeVincentis, a 1984 inductee into the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame. The newly-renovated space includes extensive wall graphics, an enhanced video system and ample seating for the entire team.

DeVincentis was a four-time NCAA qualifier and was twice voted captain of Kent State’s swimming team. Named the Mid-American Conference’s Most Outstanding Swimmer in 1975, the McKeesport, Pa., native won 13 MAC Championships (6 individual, 7 relay) and set three school and seven conference records.
 
“I’ve grown to know Jimmy D as a man who has tremendous passion for his alma mater and the welfare of our students,” says Kent State Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen. “We’re fortunate to have him as part of the Kent State family.”
 
DeVincentis graduated from Kent State in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications & business and currently serves as member of the National Athletic Development Council.

Executive producer, Jim DeVincentis & Coach Don Nehlen

For 20 years, retired WVU Football Coach Don Nehlen brought the WVU Mountaineers from obscurity to a powerhouse in the Big East Conference. Thanks to Nehlen, WVU has one of the best college football stadiums and training facilities in the country. His athletic leadership abilities have been missed in Morgantown since his retirement. You know you’re appreciated when the road to Mountaineer Stadium is named Don Nehlen Drive.

Several years ago, Nehlen’s life was saved by triple-bypass heart surgery at West Virginia University Hospitals. We had the pleasure of filming Don as he told his story for an upcoming WVUH Heart Institute commercial. It’s always fun working with the marketing team at WVUH and agency, Fahlgren Advertising. Stay tuned… I’ll post the commercial as soon as it’s finished.

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