Time Capsule: GNC TV Spots ’92-’95

On March 17, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


Here’s a 4 minute “mini time capsule” of GNC’s early TV advertising. General Nutrition Centers had an amazing period of growth and profitability in the early 90’s. During this time, TV Advertising helped GNC realize it’s first quarterly profit as it went public for the second time.

From ’92 through ’95, Przyborski Productions produced most of GNC’s network TV spots. We introduced their “Gold Card” and many product lines that are still in stores today.

All the commercials were filmed in 35mm, then transferred and edited on 1″ videotape. By the end of 1993, we were editing on D2 composite digital. (In the 90’s, everything was standard definition.)

Compared to what we produce today, most of these old commercials are dated and a little “corny.” Saturday Night Live even did a comedic parody on GNC’s “Colon Cleanser”, titled, “Colon Blow.” Eighteen years ago, sophisticated computer graphics were in their infancy. The stock music GNC used also dates the ads. The 8 commercials in this video were selected from several GNC campaigns.

Scenes from an AirShow

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


Each year, the 911th Air Wing of the Air National Guard sponsors “Wings Over Pittsburgh” an air show that features military and civilian aviation acts from all over the country.

Even if you’re not an aviation buff like me, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy the sunshine. The second day day of this year’s event took place on Sunday, September 11th, the 10th anniversary of the infamous attack on America. (I’ll never forget 9/11/01. We were shooting a commercial in Jay Verno’s studio the day the Towers fell. We didn’t know if we should continue shooting or just go home…)

The sky was threatening all afternoon and everyone expected weather delays. As it turned out, the only delay was caused by the President and Air Force One as he departed from giving a tribute at the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I thought the most interesting aerial visual was a modern F-16 jet fighter flying in tight formation with a classic, World War II vintage, P-51 Mustang.

This video is a short collection of scenes from this year’s event.

Arena Football Home Opener!

On March 15, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Judy Gurchak, Dave and Julie Didiano, Jocelyn Wrzosek

The home opener for the Pittsburgh Power, was fun and at times, very exciting! It was an all-Pennsylvania battle with the Philadelphia Soul winning in overtime. After every touchdown, the full-house crowd at the Consol Energy Center went crazy! The event was broadcast nationally on NFL Networks.

Arena Football is a new entertainment concept in Pittsburgh, but considering the possibility of the NFL player lockout… it just might catch on.

Corbett Approves Film Tax Credit

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

Glenn Przyborski, John Brabender & Governor Tom Corbett

This week, Governor Tom Corbett approved Pennsylvania’s film tax credit. To a collective sigh of relief from hundreds of our state’s film workers (and our Pittsburgh based crew people) Corbett agreed that the incentive brings hundreds of millions of dollars into Pennsylvania. It helps many businesses and individuals who are not “filmmakers.” Companies like caterers, restaurants, hotels, transportation suppliers, location owners and many, many more.

There are several major films, including the latest Batman feature, who want to shoot in Western PA, but have been waiting for the Governor’s decision. In today’s complicated world of film finance, states bid against each other to see which can provide the biggest incentives to producers. Now the proposed budget has to be rammed through our state’s legislature.

Ray Tragesser & UpperCut

On March 6, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

Ray Tragesser & Dax Parise have teamed up to form UpperCut, a brand new post-production facility in downtown Pittsburgh. The facility is located on the 10th floor of #4 Smithfield Street. Ray has an amazing view of downtown and the Mon River from his edit suite.

Ray Tragesser was a Slippery Rock University intern working with Glenn Przyborski back in the late 80’s. Glenn could see that Ray liked working in production, but he loved post-production. Przyborski convinced Ray that he should follow a career path in broadcast editing.

Today, Ray Tragesser is one of the region’s most creative and most sought after commercial editors. All of us at Przyborski Productions wish Dax & Ray the best of luck with UpperCut!

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Eat ‘n Park’s TV Campaign

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

With over 75 restaurants throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, Eat ‘n Park called on Przyborski Productions to shoot their ongoing testimonial campaign. VP of Creative Services, Cliff Miller and Senior VP of Marketing, Kevin O’Connell worked with director/cinematographer Glenn Przyborski to establish a fun, free-spirited look and feel for the very successful marking campaign.

Glenn shoots the on-going, HDTV campaign using a specially modified Canon 5D digital camera. The camera’s extremely shallow depth of field yields an intimate portrait of Sarah and featured customers, while blurring background action.

Eat ‘n Park spots are always shot in busy restaurants, so it’s important that guests are not disrupted. Before dawn, dozens of ceiling lights are exchanged with special daylight bulbs. Powerful HMI’s are used outside to stream “daylight” into the restaurant. Przyborski also uses low power LED panels as fill light on featured customers.

Moving Numbers, Episode 8

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


Last year, Glenn Przyborski directed and photographed a multi-part web series titled, “Moving Numbers.” The show is a humorous look behind-the-scenes of a political campaign. “MN” has the look and feel of spontaneous reality, yet every line is scripted. The cast is from LA, NYC and Pittsburgh.

John Brabender (of BrabenderCox) created and wrote the series based on events and characters that he’s observed (and worked for) in dozens of real political campaigns.

Post-production is handled by Thad Christian and his talented staff at Pittsburgh’s Phenomenon Post. Episode 8 has recently been uploaded and is ready to screen. Before you watch #8, screen Moving Numbers episodes 1 through 7 to meet the disfunctional characters of the “Sanders for Senate” campaign. Click for series website.

Special Effects for Arena Football

On January 14, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski


This BrabenderCox, Arena Football ad began airing right before Christmas. Since then we’ve had several emails and phone conversations asking how it was done. The interesting thing is that many of the scenes aren’t either video or film… they’re a series of still photographs, blended together to form a moving sequence.

At night, Pittsburgh is not a very bright city. To create the super luminescent “glow” of the city at night. Glenn Przyborski shot many of the scenes as 1/2 to 1 second time exposures. Using an intervalometer attached to a modified Panasonic GH1 camera, Glenn shot approx 300 digital exposures per scene. Using After Effects, these sequences of digital still images were frame blended, re-sized, then converted into 1080P high-definition video.

Phenomenon Post, visual effects supervisor, Thad Christen and digital graphic artist, Danny Johnson painstakingly rotoscoped the various buildings and objects to create multiple traveling masks. These masks allow the lightning and storm footage to replace the sky and create the illusion of various lights being turned off. The moving blur of the running football player was an actor filmed in slow motion on green screen using a RED One camera at WQED’s studio.

An effect driven spot is greatly enhanced by sound effects. Michael Goodis created original sound design and other audio effects that help “sell” the visuals.

WVU Healthcare

On January 4, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Glenn Przyborski

WVU Healthcare is the largest hospital system in West Virginia. Fahlgren Advertising of Columbus, Ohio created the marketing concept and Glenn Przyborski directed and photographed their latest broadcast ad campaign.

Przyborski’s projects are often loaded with high-energy effects, but the new WVUH campaign is a throw back to simpler times. The Fahlgren concept called for 9 key hospital doctors, nurses and administrators to do a couple honest, sincere lines of on-camera copy.

Sometimes the simplest concepts are logistically the most complicated. Doctors can only commit to short, specific time windows. Busy hospital locations are only available at certain times. Judy Gurchak and WVUH producer, Lori Savitch created a doable production schedule for the 2 day shoot. Working with Jay Coughlin and Heidi Specht, Przyborski shot “B-Roll” footage whenever there was a break in sync-sound filming.

Sync sound scenes were shot on a RED One camera and prime lenses. Most “B-Roll” cutaways were shot on a Sony F900R with Canon lenses and a modified Panasonic GH1 camera with Canon FD lenses. Our Pittsburgh based crew made extensive use of LED lighting fixtures to minimize power requirements in the busy hospital complex. Glenn edited the 60 second spot in 1080P at Przyborski Productions. Allen DiCenzo of Circa Music in Dublin created the original music track based on the Aaron Copland composition, “Simple Gifts”.

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