WPAHS Regional Hospitals

On August 2, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Forbes Regional & Allegheny Valley Hospitals from Glenn Przyborski on Vimeo.

Over the years, I’ve directed and photographed literally hundreds of TV spots for medical centers across the country. This multi-hospital campaign featured similar commercials for Forbes Regional, Allegheny Valley & Canonsburg General Hospital.

Rather than using professional actors and voice-over talent, the campaign’s concept required a real doctor at each facility to talk one-on-one about the services his hospital offers to the community it serves.

Our challenge was a very tight, one day production schedule at each hospital with a limited time to shoot the on-camera doctors. Fortunately, I’ve had years of experience shooting, directing and working with non-professional on-camera talent.

We broke the scripts down to minimize each doctor’s on-camera segments. You can overwhelm “talent” if you ask them to memorize a long, complicated script. The doctors were told that they never had to deliver more than 2 on-camera sentences in each sequence. We didn’t waste time shooting copy that was intended to be covered with “B-Roll”.

Most of each production day was spent shooting the necessary, non-sync footage in and around the hospitals. Everything from intense operating rooms to patient-staff interactions were shot with a combination of HD digital cameras, including the Panasonic AF-100, GH2 and the tiny GoPro Hero2. To achieve an extremely shallow depth-of-field, the on-camera sync scenes were filmed with Canon’s new 5D Mk3. (A few of the cutaways were footage that I had photographed from previous campaigns.)

Letters from Patients

On October 13, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


For the past several years, I’ve directed and photographed the HDTV commercials for Boca Raton Regional Hospital. BRRH is one of Florida’s finest hospitals. They’re ranked #1 in Florida for overall cardiac services and stroke treatment. They also have one of Florida’s largest cancer programs.

This video was an opportunity to salute one of Boca Raton’s most important assets: its nurses.

I photographed these candid scenes using Panasonic GH1 & GH2 cameras. These small DSLR’s were equipped with Olympus 14-35mm F2 zooms and Canon FD series 50mm F1.4 & 85mm F1.2 lenses. For several days, we maintained a very low profile working in and around active operating rooms and patient areas. Small, 12″ x 12″ LED plexiglas panels were used as fill light on certain scenes.

Cancer Survivors

On March 12, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


The concept sounds deceptively simple… real cancer survivors sharing their stories with the home viewer. We all agreed that the TV campaign would be most effective if these non-actors could talk one-on-one, directly to camera.

At Florida’s Lynn Cancer Institute, I mounted a through-the-lens teleprompter system in front of a Sony HDTV digital camera. The prompter’s monitor was fed by a video camera focused on an off-camera interviewer. Suddenly, our cancer survivors were talking and relating to a live human face, instead of a cold glass lens.

Producer/production coordinator, Judy Gurchak deliberately kept crew size to the bare minimum so the on-camera people wouldn’t be intimidated. Black flags and “floppies” were used to block the talent’s view of equipment and off-camera people.

During post-production, I decided to cut the best thoughts together and not worry about jump cuts. We made no attempt to hide the fact that the material had been edited. I felt that once the home viewer feels engaged with the talent and their story, why introduce random side cutaways, shots of hands or other distractions.

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!

American “Pop” Artist, Burton Morris

On May 3, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Director, Glenn Przyborski and artist, Burton Morris

Just finished shooting an internet video project with Burton Morris, one of the country’s hottest artists. I love his energetic, vivid, fun style of unique “Pop” art, which is a tribute to artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Although Burton now resides in L.A., he has family and professional ties to his home town of Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Burton started his career as an art director at several major Pittsburgh ad agencies.

Burton Morris has created major works for CocaCola, The Academy Awards, Heinz, the Olympics, Absolut Vodka and hundreds of other corporations. Although he’s an internationally famous artist, Burton Morris’ is also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

He just completed a fun project for Eat ‘n Park Restaurants. Burton created his own original art to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Smiley,” Eat ‘n Park’s corporate cookie icon. This summer, Burton Morris’ original artwork will adorn t-shirts, coffee mugs and other items that are sold in Eat ‘n Park’s chain of over 80 restaurants.

Sorry, I can’t reveal Burton’s original “Smiley” artwork, ’till it’s unveiled in June!… stay tuned!

Eat ‘n Park’s Strawberry Pie TV

On April 28, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


I used Panasonic’s new AF100 to shoot the latest HDTV campaign for Eat ‘n Park, a Pittsburgh based chain of restaurants. In one 10 hour shoot day, we had to set, light and stage a sequence inside the company’s test kitchen. This included several tasty food shots of strawberry pies. The second half of the day was used to film “customer testimonials” and customer interaction with country singer and company spokesperson, Sarah Marince. (Sarah just celebrated her 21st birthday!)

The shots inside Eat ‘n Park’s test kitchen were lit with 3, 1200 watt Arri HMI’s located outside the kitchen’s windows. To create a warm feel of early morning sunlight, we put CTO gel on the HMI’s. The interior fill light was from 12″ x 12″ daylight balanced LED panels. I manually set the AF100’s color balance to 4700K to keep the warm feel without going too yellow or orange. Most of the kitchen scenes were shot from a Fisher 10 crab dolly. For the pie cutaways, I mounted my AF100 on a small, homemade tabletop dolly with skate wheels. I used my Olympus 14-35mm F2 lens for the wide and medium wide shots and an older Canon 85mm F1.2 FD lens for close-ups.

A few of the in-restaurant scenes were filmed from the Fisher crab, but for most I used a Manfrotto mono-pod. This created a more spontaneous and unpredictable feel to the back and forth dialogue. Most of these scenes were shot with a EF series, Canon 24-70 F2.8L lens, wide open at F2.8. All the in-restaurant footage was lit with HMI’s outside the restaurant and LED panels and white bounce cards inside. We exchanged all the warm-white CFL bulbs for 5000K lamps.

The second portion of the video is a movie theater ad that plays between shows in hundreds of theaters in Western Pennsylvania. I shot this simple on-camera delivery spot at the end of our shoot day.

New Technology HDTV Cameras

On April 12, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Przyborski shoots with Panasonic's new AF100 HDTV camera

The biggest trend in commercial production is to create images with very shallow, film-like depth-of-field. This “look” was easy with 35mm movie film. As a general rule, the larger the film frame or imaging device, the “tighter” the depth-of-field and more selective the focus. This contrasts with previous HDTV digital cameras that achieved sharp focus throughout the entire frame.

 

Although I love film and have shot over 2,000,000 feet of it… today’s budget for a typical spot doesn’t have the luxury of $10K to $20K for 35mm film stock, processing, HDTV transferring and sync-ups.

Using “film-like” shallow depth-of-field to separate actors or products from a scene’s background can now be achieved with new, cost-effective cameras from Sony and Panasonic. They use large scale digital imagers that approximate the size of 35mm film negative. Since these cameras record to solid state memory, there’s no added size, weight or expense related a tape mechanism.

I recently shot a series of commercials with Panasonic’s new AF100. I love the fact that all my Canon and Nikon 35mm lenses work perfectly with this camera. Plus, it will shoot 1080P, true slow-motion at 60 frames-per-second. I don’t have a lot in common with James Cameron, but we both agree that professional cameras need to be smaller and lighter.  Technology marches on…

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